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James Gandolfini Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (44) | Personal Quotes (21) | Salary (2)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 18 September 1961Westwood, New Jersey, USA
Date of Death 19 June 2013Rome, Lazio, Italy  (heart attack)
Birth NameJames Joseph Gandolfini Jr.
Nicknames Jim
Jimmy
Height 6' 0½" (1.84 m)

Mini Bio (1)

New Jersey-born James Gandolfini began acting in the New York theater. His Broadway debut was in the 1992 revival of "A Streetcar Named Desire" with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin. James' breakthrough role was his portrayal of Virgil the hitman in Tony Scott's True Romance (1993), but the role that brought him worldwide fame and accolades was as complex Mafia boss Tony Soprano in HBO's smash hit series The Sopranos (1999). He died unexpectedly of a heart attack while vacationing in Italy.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: A. Nonymous

Spouse (2)

Deborah Lin (30 August 2008 - 19 June 2013) (his death) (1 child)
Marcy Gandolfini (March 1999 - 18 December 2002) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (4)

Best remembered as mob boss Tony from The Sopranos (1999)
Plays characters who are brutish yet charming
Discreet smile
Large, chunky bear-like frame

Trivia (44)

His sister Johanna is a prominent official with the New Jersey Family Court system.
Graduated from Park Ridge High School, Park Ridge, New Jersey (1979).
Attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
He played the trumpet and saxophone.
Although he often played thuggish or brute characters, he was actually somewhat of a pacifist off-stage; he had reservations about continuing his production contract as Tony in The Sopranos (1999) due to the show's violent content and stereotype of Italian-Americans.
TV mobster Gandolfini turned to the right side of the law when he saw a woman being mugged in New York recently. Passers-by were shocked to see the tough guy step in and rescue a woman when she was knocked down and had her bag snatched whilst walking down a dimly lit street. [November 2001]
Named one of E!'s "top 20 entertainers of 2001."
Originally cast in the "Carl Hanratty" role in Catch Me If You Can (2002) but had to drop out due to The Sopranos (1999).
Financed the construction of a restaurant called Vines in Oneonta, New York for his childhood pal Clive Griffiths, who needed the money to launch it. Griffiths has since paid him back, and then some.
Used to bartend in Manhattan during years as struggling actor.
Lost more than 40 pounds for his role in The Mexican (2001), but had to gain it all back before shooting for the HBO series The Sopranos (1999) because executives didn't believe the audience would like a "skinny" Tony.
Well trained in Krav Maga, (an Israeli style of Martial Arts) which he practiced for 2 1/2 years.
In Crimson Tide (1995), James refers to Robert Mitchum and Cary Grant, two actors he also references in The Sopranos (1999).
Became engaged to Lora Somoza. [January 2004]
Said he was nothing like "Tony Soprano" in real life, describing his own personality as being more like a "260-pound Woody Allen".
Has co-starred with John Travolta in five movies: Get Shorty (1995), She's So Lovely (1997), A Civil Action (1998), Lonely Hearts (2006), The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009).
Was voted "best-looking" in high school
Was friends with former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani.
Once worked as a bouncer.
For his role as Eddie Poole in 8MM (1999), Gandolfini met a variety of real porn directors and producers to get a feel for their line of work and to get a taste of their personalities, and is said to have loosely based his character on several of them.
In Crimson Tide (1995) he played an officer on the U.S.S. Alabama. In True Romance (1993), he beats up a woman named Alabama, played by Patricia Arquette. Both films were directed by Tony Scott.
Italian-American
Became engaged to Lora Somoza in January 2004. Broke up, amicably, in February 2005.
Had often said Robert De Niro played a considerable role in his decision to become an actor, since Gandolfini had grown up watching Mean Streets (1973) over and over again. Fittingly, in et. 2013, HBO announced that De Niro had been chosen to replace Gandolfini in the TV lawyer's role he had signed to play--the lead of the drama mini-series "Criminal Justice." It's slated for production in time to premiere in summer 2014.
Was in attendance at Chris Penn's funeral
Was considered for the role of Ben Grimm/The Thing in Fantastic Four (2005).
Played Aida Turturro's father in Romance & Cigarettes (2005) and her brother in The Sopranos (1999).
Became close friends with his The Sopranos (1999) co-star, Lorraine Bracco, during the filming of the HBO series. During her close ups, during their scenes, he would "moon" her to try and put her off. This was confirmed during James' interview on Inside the Actors Studio (1994).
Nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance for a Leading Actor in a Play for "God of Carnage".
Known to be a shy man, uncomfortable being a celebrity.
Was considered for the role of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction (1994).
He suffered a fatal attack in his ancestral nation of Italy. He was 51 years old at the time of his heart attack.
Has co-starred with Denzel Washington in three movies: Crimson Tide (1995), Fallen (1998) and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009).
Appears in four films directed by Tony Scott: Crimson Tide (1995), The Last Boy Scout (1991), True Romance (1993) and The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 (2009).
He has two children: a son named Michael (b. 2000) with his first wife, Marcy Gandolfini (nee Wudarski), and a daughter named Liliana (b. October 2012) with his second wife, Deborah Lin.
Was close friends with Karen Duffy since childhood.
Often worked with Tony Scott.
Was good friends with John Travolta. John's father sold tires to his father.
He first became interested in acting after attending an acting class with a friend, and subsequently studied the Meisner technique under Kathryn Gately for two years.
On an episode of Inside the Actors Studio, he mentioned banging his head against a wall, getting very little sleep, and putting a pointy rock in his shoe as techniques to get really angry while shooting The Sopranos (1999).
Was on vacation with his son at the time of his passing. He and his son were celebrating his sons graduation from Jr High School.
Had an estate worth $70 million at the time of his death.
Did not start acting until he was in his mid 20s.
Was very uncomfortable performing violent scenes on The Sopranos (1999) and would sometimes stop during the middle of shooting a scene when he was unable to continue.

Personal Quotes (21)

"I'm a neurotic mess. I'm really basically just like a 260-pound Woody Allen".
I'm an actor... I do a job and I go home. Why are you interested in me? You don't ask a truck driver about his job.
I was voted best-looking kid in high school but, as you can see, things changed. I used to say I was a 260-pound Woody Allen. You can make that 295-pound now.
I just don't think I'm that interesting. I don't think what I have to say is that interesting. To hear me go, 'Blah, blah, blah, blah'. - on why he rarely does interviews
I thought, I've never been the lead before. They're gonna hire somebody else. But I knew I could do it. I have small amounts of "Mr. Soprano" in me. I was 35, a lunatic, a madman. - on his reaction to The Sopranos (1999) pilot script.
It's been a great opportunity, but I don't have much trepidation about it ending. I think it's more than time. Part of the fun of acting is the research, finding out about other people. As much as I've explored this guy, I don't know what else to really do with him. I've been in one place for 10 years. That's enough. It's time for me to do other things. - about ending The Sopranos (1999).
Alan Alda was with M*A*S*H (1972) so long, and now you see him, that's not there that much anymore. In my mind, you work hard, you'll be fine. Everybody's got their baggage.
Like I always say, I'm standing on my parents' shoulders; they allowed me to do this silly job.
I love hearing people laugh. Especially in New York, and especially now. To hear somebody out there just belly-laughing.
[About Tony Sporano, his character on The Sopranos (1999)]: I never think about him, ever.
I watch stupid comedies. Role Models (2008). I love them. The Rocker (2008). I love that. I like idiotic comedies.
[on the final episode of The Sopranos (1999)] When I first saw the ending, I said, "What the fuck?" I mean, after all I went through, all this death, and then it's over like that? But after I had a day to sleep, I just sat there and said, "That's perfect."
[on his The Sopranos (1999) co-star, Edie Falco] I'm still in love with Edie. And, of course, I love my wife, but I'm in love with Edie. I don't know if I'm in love with Carmela or Edie or both. I'm in love with her.
I'm much more comfortable doing smaller things. I like them. I like the way they're shot; they're shot quickly.
[on acting] It is an odd way to make a living. Putting someone else's pants on and pretending to be someone else is occasionally, as you grow older, horrifying.
I dabbled a little bit in acting in high school and then I forgot about it completely. And then at about twenty-five I went to a class. I don't think anybody in my family thought it was an intelligent choice. I don't think anybody thought I'd succeed, which is understandable. I think they were just happy that I was doing something.
[on The Sopranos (1999) project] I read it. I liked it. I thought it was good. But I thought they would have to hire some good-looking guy, not George Clooney but some Italian George Clooney, and that would be that. But they called me and they said can I meet David Chase for breakfast at nine a.m. At the time, I was younger and I stayed out late a lot, and I was like, "Oh, for fuck's sake. This guy wants to eat breakfast? This guy's going to be a pain in the ass".
I think you cared about Tony because David was smart enough to write the Greek chorus through Dr. Melfi. So you sat there and you got to see his motives, what he was thinking, what he was trying to do, what he was trying to fix, what he was trying to become. And then you saw it didn't really work out the way he wanted it to. If you took the Melfi scenes away, you wouldn't care about this man as much, or care about anything that was happening to him.
We'd get accused, back then, of glamorizing mobsters, but we were all half miserable you know. I don't think the violence looks appealing at all. Everybody paid for it in a lot of ways. I heard sometimes that we were making cute, cuddly mobsters, but i know for a fact that David wrote an incredibly violent episode - the one where there's a stripper that Ralph Cifaretto beats to death - and I think that was written as a reaction to that. It's a very violent world and, you know, there's consequences. I think we showed it, and I think we showed the toll it takes on people.
[on David Chase and the challenges of The Sopranos (1999)] By the end, I had a lot of anger over things and I think it was just from being tired, and what in God's name would I have to be angry about? The man gave me such a gift in terms of life experience, in terms of acting experience, in terms of money, too. At the beginning, David came to the set a lot, but once it got bigger and it became this thing, you know, he was a little more standoffish. He was harder to talk to. I understand that. The pressure that he had to continue to create, to continue to do great work, was hard. Everybody starts to want something, everybody starts to call, and this one needs this, and can we talk about that? And then there's money, and so you have to pull back and try to protect yourself in a way. I had to learn it and I wasn't very good at it. But then it starts to take its toll. The first couple of years, it was easier. It wasn't such a huge deal. I've said this to him, but maybe not so clearly. I got it. He had to be a little bit of the "Great and Powerful Oz". There was no choice.
[Discussing his acting teacher] I destroyed the place you know, just all that crap they have on stage...and at the end of it...she goes "See, everybody's fine. Nobody's hurt. This is what you have to do. This is what people pay for. If you don't want to do it, get off."

Salary (2)

The Sopranos (1999) $13,000,000 (Season 5)
The Last Castle (2001) $5,000,000

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