Edith Falco, called Edie, was born on July 5, 1963, grew up on Long Island and attended SUNY Purchase, where she was trained in acting at the prestigious Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film. She moved to Manhattan after graduation, auditioning for roles and supporting herself as best she could; for example, working parties for an entertainment company where she would wear a Cookie Monster costume and urge people to get on the dance floor. Falco began getting film roles, mostly smaller supporting parts, starting in the late 1980s. Her first notable role was a supporting part in Bullets Over Broadway (1994).
Ironically, it was in television where the conservatory-trained Falco's career first flowered. She obtained her first recurring roles in 1993, on the acclaimed police dramas "Homicide: Life on the Street" (1993), as the wife of a blinded police officer, and "Law & Order" (1990) as a Legal Aid attorney. Next came a recurring role on the prison drama "Oz" (1997), as a sympathetic corrections officer. All the while she continued to work in film, still in small supporting roles.
Supporting herself in acting continued to be a challenge until at last Falco found success in 1999, when she was cast in the HBO series "The Sopranos" (1999), as Carmela, the wife of New Jersey Mafia street boss Tony Soprano. "The Sopranos" gained her a great deal of visibility and praise for her exceptionally strong dramatic skills. In 2000 Falco became one of the few actresses in history to sweep all of the major television awards (the Emmy, the Golden Globe and the SAG Award) in one year for a dramatic role. She is also the first female actor ever to receive the Television Critics Association Award for Individual Achievement in Drama.
Interestingly, her roles have frequently put her on one side of the law or the other--a defense attorney, a corrections officer, a cop's wife, a mobster's wife, a police officer (in a pilot for a television adaptation of the movie Fargo (1996)). She has also worked frequently on the stage, such as her award-winning work in the play "Sideman," in "The Vagina Monologues," and in revivals of "Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune" (which was hugely successful) and "'night Mother."
Unlike her brashly assertive alter-ego Carmela Soprano, Falco is self-described as shy, but is clearly a witty and down-to-earth person. She sometimes travels with her beloved dog Marley, driving so that the dog does not have to travel in the baggage compartment. At one point Falco had a relationship with her "Frankie and Johnny" co-star Stanley Tucci. She was treated for breast cancer in 2004 and her prognosis is very good. In December 2004, Falco adopted a baby boy, whom she named Anderson, after her mother's surname.
Tough, materialistic women
Graduated from SUNY Purchase whose alumni are known collectively as "The Purchase Mafia".
Is the daughter of art director Frank Falco and actress Judith M. Anderson.
Edie graduated from the acting program at the State University of New York at Purchase. After graduation, she worked as a clown and other similar roles at weddings and birthday parties.
Is of Swedish and Italian heritage.
She is one of the few actresses to ever sweep the top three television awards. In 2000, she received the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, The Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama Series, and the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series, all in the same year for her performance as "Carmela Soprano" in the hit HBO series "The Sopranos" (1999).
Her uncle is renowned fiction writer Ed Falco, who teaches at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Has a dog named Marley.
Was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2004. She recovered the same year.
Has been sober for thirteen years.
One of her earlier roles was in "The King's Creampuffs" at aged 6.
Adopted a baby boy, and named him Anderson after her mother. It is her mother's maiden name. [December 2004]
Adopted a baby girl from Florida and named her Macy (February 2008).
Was in a relationship with Stanley Tucci from April 2003 until March 2004. They met while working together on "Frankie And Johnny In The Claire De Lune" on Broadway.
Won $250,000 for Project ALS on a 2001 celebrity episode of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire".
Nominated for a 2011 Tony Award as Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play for "The House of Blue Leaves".
"I actually washed my window once, and it fell through-it was being held together by the dirt." - describing a dilapidated apartment where she once lived as a struggling actress in New York City.
The high-grossing films are not all that interesting to me, I have to say. It's not stuff I would want to be in. Yes, you would want the big paycheck, but that's never really been my concern.
[on 'The Sopranos' creator David Chase] I don't exactly have a first impression of David, just that he reminded me of my dad, and so immediately I had a comfort level with him that remained throughout all our years of working together. Whatever other people may have thought - he's quiet, he's intense, he's slow to warm, or whatever - it's my dad. I never felt, like a lot of people, 'I really wanted to please David'.
There was a period of mutiny within the cast members [of 'The Sopranos'] who thought we should be getting more money, and this was a very complicated issue because I know HBO was making a lot. The actors were like, 'Yeah, we need to renegotiate our contracts. We're not getting enough.' There was like a sit-in, the shutdown of the set. It was like 'Occupy Vesuvio'. And I thought, Are you fucking kidding me? I worked at restaurants for twenty years, and this thing comes along and I'm going to complain about not getting enough money?
[on James Gandolfini] You know, Jim's a complicated guy. He never knew how good he was. He was always second-guessing, caring about the ways things came across. I knew almost nothing about his personal life, and he didn't know anything about me either. He was just Tony - fully inhabiting the part of this man I was married to. And it was thrilling. Usually, if you look deep enough when you're doing a scene with somebody, you can see the actor, and I never saw anybody but Tony. Never.
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