- Marvelous Mrs. Maisel -Who Was Brian Tarantina? 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Pays Tribute To The Character Actor
Gaslight emcee Jackie gets the sendoff he deserves in the third episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 4, "Everything is Bellmore." Sadly, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel actor Brian Tarantina died in November 2019 at the age of 60 from accidental "acute intoxication," per CNN. Due to the ongoing pandemic, there was a long delay in between Seasons 3 and 4 of the Emmy-winning Amazon Prime Video series, but series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino still took time to pay tribute to her late friend and co-worker.
For Sherman-Palladino and her husband/frequent collaborator Daniel Palladino, Tarantina was one of their go-to actors. In addition to playing the sardonic Jackie, the character actor also appeared on Gilmore Girls as the eccentric newsstand owner Bootsy. Tarantina even returned for the show's Netflix revival back in 2016.
Shortly after the actor's death, the Palladinos issued a statement honoring Tarantina's life. "For over twenty five years, Brian Tarantina has been in our lives. He was in Amy's first pilot. And he's been in every significant thing we’ve done since," the statement said, as reported by Deadline. "He came in with that voice and that timing and he made every scene better. And weirder. Every moment was completely unique. You can't describe a guy like Brian, you just had to be there. And lucky for us, we were. We love him and will forever miss him."
Over the years, Tarantina appeared in a number of projects outside of the Sherman-Palladino-verse, including films like Uncle Buck and The Kitchen. He was also a frequent character actor in television series like The Sopranos, Oz, NYPD Blue, and even One Life to Live. Still, for fans of Gilmore Girls and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, he'll likely always be best remembered as his two wonderfully oddball characters, Bootsy and Jackie.
In "Everything Is Bellmore," Alex Borstein's Susie does the honors of eulogizing Jackie in a wrenching scene that seems to be as much about Tarantina's life as it is about the Gaslight fixture. Just as Tarantina died alone in his apartment, Jackie is found dead in the apartment he shared with Susie. His death sends the usually unshakable manager into a downward spiral. But when she gets up to eulogize him to a nearly empty room, she snaps and heads to the funeral next-door to tell the world about her friend.
Ultimately, Jackie's death acts as an impetus for Susie to dedicate her life to not letting the Jackies of the world fall through the cracks. In practice, that means swooping in and pulling her new magician friend out of the bar where he spends his days drinking and getting beaten up, and not turning Sophie Lennon away when she's at her lowest. It's clear, Susie's impassioned promise to honor her friend's memory is going to be a driving force behind the choices she makes in Season 4.
Likewise, Tarantina's life will continue to inspire the Palladinos and his Marvelous Mrs. Maisel family. As Tony Shalhoub said when he won his 2020 SAG award, "I will dedicate this to one of our family, who we lost this year and who we miss terribly, the most marvelous Brian Tarantina. Our brother, here's to you."
Even though he's no longer with them, there's no doubt Tarantina's memory will live on through the impact he had on the lives of his friends and co-workers.
Image: Amazon Prime Video