TODAY | June 20, 2013
>>> welcome to "today" on this tuesday morning, june 20th . that is a swimming pool in downtown manhattan on the plaza. one of these two people will be on the show later today on the show.
>> take wild guess . really wild.
>> have to wait and see.
>> just putting it out there somebody said, no, i'm not getting in the pool.
>> i can't believe you said that, natalie . that was so unprofessional of you. show you a little bit later on. inside studio 1a i'm willie geist along with natalie . al is down at universal orlando this morning checking out the big new transformers ride.
>> check in with him with just a moment. but first, james gandolfini .
>> tragic news today.
>> yeah. you know, james gandolfini died while on vacation in rome yesterday. only 51 years old.
>> so hard to imagine.
>> of course, best known as tony soprano . the show that came about in 1999 .
>> really, we were talking this morning about it we had james lipton in an interview and he said this man, james gandolfini , will go down in the pantheon of de niro , pacino, duval, of the great dramatic actors of this or any other jen racial and it's really true.
>> right and you talk about how this show, "the sopranos" really changed the landscape for cable television because it really pushed the envelope. this is the first time you really saw a lot of what we now see on cable, tv dramas , it really defined what that drama could become and his character was so complex. sort of, you know, the shakespearean character, so flawed but you loved him because he was so endearing at the same time.
>> you make a really important point. for young people who don't remember television before 1999 , which is when "the sopranos" came on, it was totally different doesn't have the cinematic quality television on premium cable . now we have "homeland," "dexter," "game of thrones."
>> now it goes beyond.
>> let's go back and take a look at the first episode.
>> let me tell you something, nowadays, every be a he is got to go to shrinks i and counselors around go on sally jessy raphael and talk about their problems. whatever happened to gary cooper ? the strong, silent type? that was an american. he wasn't in touch with his feelings, he just did what he had to do. see, what they didn't know is once they got gary cooper in touch with his feelings that they wouldn't be able to shut him up.
>> you have strong feelings about this.
>> let me tell you something, i have a semester and a half of college so i understand freud. i understand therapy as a concept. but in my world, it does not go down.
>> and we just got a statement from edie falco who, of course, played his wife on the show. she said "my heart goes doubt his family as those of us in his pretend one hold on to the memories of our intense and beautiful time together. the love between tony and carmel la was one of the greatest i've ever known." that from edie falco .
>> so many others on the show as well. steve share rip parks played bobby bacala wrote a statement saying "jimmy was a dear friend, a brother to me. he was a great actor, a great father. i will miss him terribly. i'm very, very sad."
>> how about the governor who have new jersey, chris christie . james gandolfini 's passing was a an awful shock, a fine actor, a rutgers' alum and a true jersey guy.
>> he said, of course, they plan to do a lot to honor his memory as well, the state of new jersey . being a jersey girl , just the opening scene, how he is driving down the turnpike and you know, you see all of the exits, i mean, it's just -- it was so classic you really put new new jersey on the map. some say a stereotype with the mobsters. i thank you lot of us embraced the show and embraced the great quiet of what it represented.
>> not just the character but gandolfini was a jersey story. he grew up in park ridge , new jersey, northern new jersey .
>> his motherer was a lunch lady , his father, the head custodian at paramus catholic high school , a few miles from where i grew up. a great american story. hits father was an immigrant to this country. they strapped and they clawed and raised addison who went on to become one of the great actors of his generation.
>> he didn't become an actor until he was 25 years old, when he really discovered his love of acting. before that you know, he was working bars and being a -- i guess a guard, you know, security guard , all those kinds of jobs. really rose to that occasion when he finally had this breakout roam of tony soprano , but played many other character roles as well.
>> a great stage actor as well. we are all mourning his death and i think stunned by it, only 51 years old.
>> hard to imagine. has a 1-year-old daughter. just recently remarried, second wife. so our thoughts are certainly with his family as well.
>> one of the great ones.
>> very sad.
>>> as we move on here to some other business, there's a new survey out we want to tell you about, if you're a parent, this might sound familiar. one in three parents --
>> i hope that doesn't sound familiar. that is kind of shocking.
>> one in three is incredibly low. children are more likely to spend time with tv or video games than books according to the macy's and reading is fundamental research poll that came out.
>> you treed your kid?
>> every night.
>> my oldest son reads a lot by himself because he can, but he still likes to have us read to him on occasion. the little one, i think, it is just something you make an effort to do it. even if they ask you over and over and over again to keep reading the same book over and over and over again.
>> here is the question. do you skip pages when you've read the same book every night?
>> i edit the words a lot.
>> here is the problem, they know the book so well.
>> "the little engine that could" goes on and on and on. i got to the point i have got it edited down perfectly?
>> do you really? see my 3-year-old --
>> this one said no, this one said no. come on, i will take you.
>> do you do the thing i do where you pinch, like, three pages together and then you turn.
>> oh, my -- luke, he will be like, mom, you skipped a few pages. he has caught me on it. he has caught me red-handed. my favorite book, pull it over here to read to my kids, i have shared this before when jenna bush hager was having her baby, i gave her the "good night, moon" book. i have read this one so many times, gone through five or six different copies, paper, soft back version that i actually a song i createded to it. i think i sang t
>> she is volunteering to sing.
>> no. in the great green river there's a telephone and the red balloon and the picture of the cow jumping over the moon it can go on.
>> tell me yours.
>> natalie morales , ladies and gentlemen . speaking of singing --
>> like "the wild things are."
>> we lead a lot of transformers books.
>> that's really scary.
>> 4-year-old to see "man of steel." get off your high horse, natalie .
>> speaking of songs.