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James Gandolfini (1961)

James R. Gandolfini

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  Summary  

James J. Gandolfini, Jr. is an Italian American actor. He is best known for his role as Tony Soprano in the HBO TV series The Sopranos, about a troubled crime boss struggling to balance his family life and career in the Mafia. For this role, Gandolfini garnered enormous praise, winning both the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series and Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series three times. Gandolfini's other roles include the woman-beating mob henchman Virgil in True Romance, enforcer/stuntman Bear in Get Shorty, Lt. General Miller in In the Loop, and the impulsive Wild Thing Carol in Where the Wild Things Are. In 2007, Gandolfini produced the HBO documentary "Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq" in which he interviewed 10 injured veterans from the Iraq War. In 2010, Gandolfini produced another HBO documentary "Wartorn: 1861-2010" in which Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and its impact on soldiers and families is analyzed throughout several wars in American history from 1861 to 2010.

  Biography  

 early life
Gandolfini was born in Westwood, New Jersey. His mother, Santa, a high school lunch lady, was born in the U.S. and raised in Naples, Italy. His father, James Gandolfini, Sr., a native of Borgotaro, Italy, was a bricklayer, cement mason, and later the head custodian at Paramus Catholic High School, New Jersey; he also earned a Purple Heart in World War II. His parents were devout Roman Catholics and spoke Italian at home. Due to such influence, Gandolfini has a strong sense of being Italian, and regularly visits Italy.

Gandolfini grew up in Park Ridge, New Jersey, and graduated from Park Ridge High School in 1979, where he played basketball and acted in school plays. He was awarded the title "Class Flirt" in his senior yearbook. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication from Rutgers University, where he worked as a bouncer at an on-campus pub. Gandolfini also worked as a bartender and club manager before embarking on an acting career. Gandolfini was introduced to acting as a young man living in New York City, when he accompanied a friend, actor Roger Bart, to a Meisner technique acting class. In 2003, Gandolfini appeared in a series of television commercials with Greg Schiano promoting Rutgers football.

 career
  The Sopranos

Gandolfini's most acclaimed role to date is that of Tony Soprano, a New Jersey Mafia boss and family man who is the lead character in the multi-award-winning HBO series, The Sopranos, which debuted in 1999. He won three Emmys for "Best Actor in a Drama" for his depiction of Tony Soprano, who constantly questions his own identity and purpose. Gandolfini eventually earned $1,000,000 per episode in the series. Entertainment Weekly recently listed him as the 42nd Greatest TV Icon of All Time for playing Tony Soprano.

 Film and stage work
Gandolfini performed in a 1992 Broadway production of On the Waterfront for six months. One of his better known film roles was that of Virgil, a brutal woman-beating mob enforcer, in the 1993 romantic thriller True Romance. Gandolfini has said that one of his major inspirations for the role of Virgil, in True Romance, was an old friend of his, who was a hitman.

In 1994 film Terminal Velocity, Gandolfini played Ben Pinkwater, a seemingly mild-mannered insurance man who turns out to be a violent Russian mobster. In Get Shorty , he appeared as a bearded ex-stuntman with a Southern accent, and in The Juror he played a mob enforcer with a conscience. He played the mayor of New York in the 2009 remake of The Taking of Pelham 123.

Gandolfini returned to HBO in 2007 as the executive producer of the Emmy-nominated documentary special, Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq, his first project after The Sopranos, and the first production for his company Attaboy Films, which was opened in 2006 with producing partner Alexandra Ryan.

He returned to the stage in 2009, appearing in Broadway's God of Carnage with Marcia Gay Harden, Hope Davis and Jeff Daniels.

In June 2010, it was announced that Gandolfini would be executive producing an HBO film about Ernest Hemingway and his relationship with Martha Gellhorn titled Hemingway & Gellhorn and starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman. Philip Kaufman will direct the film, which was written by Barbara Turner and Jerry Stahl, and will reportedly begin shooting in 2011.

Variety reported on January 24, 2011 that Gandolfini will reunite with Sopranos' creator David Chase for Twylight Zones , a music-driven production set in 1960s New Jersey. Gandolfini will co-star in Chase's feature film debut, playing the father of a teenage rock 'n' roll band lead singer .

  Alive Day: Home from Iraq
In 2007, Gandolfini produced a documentary with HBO focused on injured Iraq veterans and their devotion to America, while surveying the physical and emotional costs of war. Ten surviving soldiers were interviewed by Gandolfini, who revealed their thoughts on the challenges which they face integrating back into society and family life. They also reflected on the memories of the day when they narrowly escaped death, and what life may have been like in other circumstances.

  Wartorn: 1861–2010
In 2010, Gandolfini produced another documentary with HBO, which analyzed the effects of PTSD throughout American history from 1861 to 2010. It featured interviews with American Military Officials on their views of PTSD and how they are trying to help soldiers affected by it. Letters from soldiers of the American Civil War and World War I who were affected by PTSD are examined along with interviews with soldiers affected by PTSD and their families.

 personal life
Gandolfini has maintained ties with his hometown of Park Ridge by supporting The Octoberwoman Foundation for Breast Cancer Research. He appears at their annual October banquet and often brings other Sopranos cast members to help Octoberwoman draw large crowds. He currently resides in New York City, and owns a lot on the Lake Manitoba Narrows.

On August 30, 2008, Gandolfini married his girlfriend, former model Deborah Lin, in her hometown of Honolulu, Hawaii, after dating her for two years. Gandolfini has one child with his ex-wife, Marcy Wudarski, from whom he was divorced in December 2002.

His sister, Johanna Antonacci, is the manager of the Family Division of the New Jersey Superior Court in Hackensack, New Jersey. Gandolfini is a fan of motorcycles and owns a Harley Davidson and a Vespa scooter. On May 4, 2006, Gandolfini was riding his Vespa in New York City, when it was hit by a taxi in traffic. He was forced to undergo knee surgery after the accident, postponing the filming of the final Sopranos episodes by three months.

Gandolfini purchased a home in the hills of Tewksbury Township, New Jersey in 2009.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "James Gandolfini", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.