James Gandolfini Jr. (born 18.9.1961)
James Gandolfini is an American actor, best known for his role as the Mafia boss Tony Soprano in the hit TV series The Sopranos.
James Gandolfini: Childhood
James Gandolfini was born in Westwood, New Jersey, to Joan Gandolfini and James Gandolfini Sr. His mother was a school nutritionist and his father was a building maintenance officer at a high school.
Gandolfini's parents were Italian and devoutly Catholic. James spent part of his childhood in Italy and the family often conversed in Italian.
James Gandolfini attended Park Ridge High School in New Jersey. He often played basketball as well as acting in school plays and earned himself the title of 'Class Flirt'. When he graduated from high school, he studied for a BA in Communications at Rutgers University.
Before pursuing a career in acting, Gandolfini worked as a bartender as well as a nightclub manager. Whilst living in New York City, he went with a friend to acting classes and he landed a job promoting Rutgers football in a TV commercial with Greg Schiano.
James Gandolfini: Acting Career
One of James Gandolfini's earliest acting roles was in a 1992 production of On The Waterfront on Broadway. He acted in the play for six months and the following year, landed a role in the cult classic, True Romance, starring Christian Slater Patricia Arquette and Dennis Hopper.
In 1994, Gandolfini played Ben Pinkwater in Terminal Velocity, opposite Charlie Sheen and Nastassja Kinski. This was followed by a role as a conscientious mob enforcer in The Juror.
James Gandolfini then appeared as an ex-stuntman from the South, in Get Shorty, the film adaptation that starred Gene Hackman, John Travolta, Danny DeVito and Rene Russo.
The Sopranos debuted on HBO in 1999. In the mafia-based drama, James Gandolfini played the role of mafia boss Tony Soprano. Gandolfini has won three Emmy awards for his performance in the show and it has been reported that his salary eventually rose to around $1 million per episode. Other actors in the series include Lorraine Braco, Edie Falco and Michael Imperioli.
James Gandolfini again worked with HBO in 2007 when he co-produced a documentary entitled Alive Day: Home From Iraq, focusing on US veterans of the Iraq war. He interviewed 10 former soldiers about issues such as their re-integration into society.
In the 2009 remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, James Gandolfini played the mayor of New York. Later that year, Gandolfini returned to stage work, appearing in God of Carnage on Broadway with Hope Davis, Jeff Daniels and Marcia Gay Harden.
James Gandolfini has also had roles in a number of other significant movies, such as 8MM with Nicolas Cage, Crimson Tide with Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman and All The King's Men, with Sean Penn, Jude Law, Kate Winslet and Anthony Hopkins.
James Gandolfini: Private Life
Gandolfini is a fan of motorbikes and owns a Harley Davidson bike, as well as a Vespa scooter. In 2006, whilst on his scooter, he was hit by a taxi cab and forced to undergo surgery on his knee. The incident caused the crew of The Sopranos to postpone the filming of the last few episodes.
James Gandolfini was previously married to Marcy Wudarski, with whom he has one child. They divorced in 2002 and Gandolfini subsequently married Deborah Lin in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2008.