Sopranos Star James Gandolfini Dies at 51

The Emmy-award winning actor died after suffering a heart attack in Rome

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James Gandolfini, star of the hit HBO series The Sopranos, has died at age 51. The actor suffered a heart attack in Rome, Italy, according to TMZ.

Gandolfini, born in Westwood, New Jersey, earned a degree in communications from Rutgers in 1983, turning to acting after brief stints as a bouncer, bartender, and club manager.  He took classes at the famed Actors Studio and earned roles in school productions. Gandolfini made his Broadway debut in 1992, performing opposite Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin in A Streetcar Named Desire.

He had made a few minor appearances in films, and it was after his memorable role in 1993’s True Romance that he found steady work in Hollywood, appearing in such 1990s films as Get Shorty, Crimson Tide, and A Civil Action. More recent projects included roles in The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and Zero Dark Thirty (in which he played CIA director Leon Panetta).

But it was a small-screen role — that of troubled crime family boss Tony Soprano — that catapulted Gandolfini to stardom and earned him every imaginable accolade. His work on The Sopranos, which ran from 1999 to 2007 and is widely regarded as one of the greatest television shows, won him three Emmys for “Best Actor in a Drama” and landed him a hefty salary that eventually paid him close to $1 million per episode.

He is survived by his wife Deborah Lin, whom he married in 2008, their infant daughter Liliana Ruth, and a son from a previous marriage.

5 comments
chokingkojak
chokingkojak

Was at a SAG Awards Screening of  -Not Fade Away- about 8 months ago and James Gandolfini was there answering questions at the Q&A, after.   Thought he'd be doing TV/Film roles for the next 10-20-30+ years.  Totally shocked -- still remember a couple of things he said at the Q&A that made an impression.  Makes me sad.  May he rest in peace.

HypatiaLeigh1
HypatiaLeigh1

He died in Sicily - Taormino Film Festival.   Odd the Sopranos star dies in a city where mafia have such strong presence.

Impossible to die just from a stroke.  Is possible it was stroke and MI ('heart attack').  Acute stroke can disturb central autonomic control, resulting in myocardial injury, electrocardiographic abnormalities, cardiac arrhythmias, and ultimately sudden death.      Death from stroke only occurs if the brains "heart nerves" are involved.

FrancisMulhare
FrancisMulhare

In 2008 I was having a 50th bday dinner  @ Mcormick & Schmicks in Beverly Hills. Some folks at a nearby table were getting a little loud and out of control. Eventually they dissipated and there were only a few remaining.One of them finally came over to our table and apologized for creating a disturbance. It was James Gandolfini. The true test of character is what you do when no else is looking and it does not really matter.

guest12
guest12

RIP Jim. What a big loss.