The creator of The Sopranos said the late James Gandolfini once told him, "You know what I want to be? A man. That's all. I want to be a man."
Speaking at the 51-year-old actor's funeral yesterday, David Chase said he marvelled upon hearing that, since Gandolfini represented a man that so many others wanted to be.
Chase was one of four speakers at the ceremony at New York's Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.
The actor's widow, Deborah Lin Gandolfini, and two family friends were also speakers.
Gandolfini, best known for his role as mob boss Tony Soprano in the HBO series, died of a heart attack last week while holidaying with his son in Italy.
Celebrities and fellow actors were in the audience, with members of the public who wanted to salute Gandolfini's work.
From The Sopranos was Edie Falco, Joe Pantoliano, Dominic Chianese, Steve Schirripa, Aida Turturro, Vincent Curatola and Michael Imperioli.
Dick Cavett chatted with actor Steve Buscemi near the front of the church before the ceremony started.