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David Chase Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (6) | Personal Quotes (13) | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 22 August 1945Mount Vernon, New York, USA
Birth NameDavid Henry DeCesare
Nickname Master Cylinder

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Mt. Vernon, New York, and raised in New Jersey, David Chase (born David DeCesare) dreamed of being a star--a star drummer in a rock band! He spent many years playing drums and bass trying to be part of a successful rock band in the 1960s East Coast music scene. He also loved movies, such as The Public Enemy (1931) with James Cagney and TV shows like The Untouchables (1959) with Robert Stack. When not making music, he watched 1960s' Hollywood and foreign films avidly. After his music career ended, he got the inspiration to buy a movie camera and make his own movies. He studied at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and later the graduate film program at Stanford University. He began writing for network TV drama programs in the early 1970s. He eventually became a writer and producer on the classic NBC detective show The Rockford Files (1974) with James Garner. While on "Rockford", he penned many memorable episodes and pieces of dialog. He won his first Emmy in 1978, the year "Rockford" won the award for Best Dramatic Series. Many biographies incorrectly state that Chase won his first Emmy for writing the acclaimed TV movie, Off the Minnesota Strip (1980). Although it is a sensitive and well observed story about a young runaway trying to make sense of her life after being returned to her Midwestern family from a life of prostitution in New York City, Chase actually won his second Emmy (and a Writer's Guild Award) for that project. He then spent the 1980s and early 1990s getting paid for writing various TV scripts while writing feature film projects that never got produced. He also began directing his TV scripts whenever possible. He often told people stories about the troubled relationship he shared back in New Jersey with his mother. Encouraged to write about it, he found a way to combine a story about his mother with a mob story and a story about psychotherapy, which Chase had also began during this time. This intersection of ideas and themes led Chase to write the landmark pilot script to a show that the Fox network developed, then passed on shooting. HBO then decided to roll the dice with Chase on this odd mixture of mother/son conflict, mobster danger and insecurities about psychological therapy. The result: The Sopranos (1999). Everybody connected with the project thought they would film a pilot episode, it would not go to series and that would be that. It has since gone on to become one of the most successful shows to ever come out of a cable network. Chase and his crew have collected Emmy, Golden Globe, Writer's Guild and Director's Guild Awards for the show. In terms of impact and subject matter, it has been compared to The Godfather (1972). Chase vows to get his feature film projects off the ground, as soon as "The Sopranos" ends its run.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: subcity

Spouse (1)

Denise Kelly (? - present) (1 child)

Trivia (6)

Father of Michele DeCesare.
Attended Wake Forest University in mid-1960s. A few of The Sopranos (1999) episodes included references to both Wake Forest's basketball team as well as its location, Winston-Salem, N.C.
The character of Livia Soprano is based on his own mother, Norma.
He originally wanted to be a professional musician.
Has suffered from severe depression and panic attacks since his teens. His depression was so severe in his first year of college that he often slept for 18 hours a day.
Chase named the 'College" episode of _ "The Sopranos (1999)_ as his favorite because of its 'self-contained nature'. Co-stars James Gandolfini and Jamie-Lynn Sigler agreed it was perhaps their favorite episode as well.

Personal Quotes (13)

Network television is all talk. I think there should be visuals on a show, some sense of mystery to it, connections that don't add up. I think there should be dreams and music and dead air and stuff that goes nowhere. There should be, God forgive me, a little bit of poetry.
I felt I was out of step with everything. I remember seeing Pretty Woman (1990) on an airplane. Everybody was laughing their heads off. 'Ho-ho-ho!' It wasn't funny to me, it wasn't dramatic - it wasn't anything. I thought, Why don't I just open the door and jump out?
It wasn't something I was really dying to hear, because my response in my head was: I don't give a fuck - I hate television. But I wasn't used to being talked to that way. - on his reaction to Brad Grey's desire to sign him to a television deal.
Network dramas have not been personal. I don't know very many writers who have been cops, doctors, judges, presidents, or any of that - and, yet, that's what everybody writes about: institutions. The courthouse, the schoolhouse, the precinct house, the White House. Even though it's a Mob show, The Sopranos (1999) is based on members of my family. It's about as personal as you can get.
[on a perceived change in the traditional view of men as heroes] There are people that will tell you the white American male is clinging to, and nostalgic for, his place at the top of the food chain. Maybe it isn't true anymore and that's what we're seeing.
I guess Tony Soprano has his roots in film noir, but the American gangster picture goes back a lot further than that. But in those films there was a moral accounting. In The Sopranos (1999) there is not. I guess what's essential about it is you are still portraying a hero. In American film, the hero is always the smartest guy in the room, he's always got the answer or the plan. We don't make movies about stumble-bums and slackers or lost souls.
I wrote many, many, many a script and they never got made. I could not get arrested, as they say. Nothing started to click movie-wise for me. All the scripts were either too dark or too this or that. Their appetite for me didn't get whetted until 'The Sopranos', and once they see you are someone who can make a billion dollars, they let you do anything. That's all it comes down to.
It's a cold universe, and I don't mean that metaphorically. If you go out into space, it's cold. It's really cold and we don't know what's up there. We happen to be in this little pocket where there's a sun. What have we got except love and each other to guard against all that isolation and loneliness?
[on the conception of 'The Sopranos' project] When I got over there, they asked, 'Would you be interested in doing 'The Godfather' for TV?' I said, 'No, it's already been done'. But then I started thinking about this idea that I'd had for a feature film, about a mobster in therapy. I told them about it, they sparked to it, and Fox bought it. When I wrote the pilot script for Fox, I had a feeling that this whole thing wasn't going to happen. I knew what network television is like, and this didn't have that feeling. Sure enough, they passed.
I was picturing Anne Bancroft as Livia, Tony's mother. We must have read 200 women or more. Then somebody suggested Nancy Marchand. She came up the stairs; she was very out of breath. She sat down and did it, and she was channeling - that character is based on my mother, her mannerisms - she was channeling it. She just got it. The other people were playing this Italian mama who was crazy. She was playing some person who's only hearing what's going on in her head - that was the key.
[on having to eliminate certain characters during The Sopranos (1999) run] I'd call them into my office and tell them how grateful I was for all the work they'd done, and that this was very painful for the show but that the story had to be served. and this is where the story has taken us - rightly or wrongly - for myself and the other writers. And that the writers had thought about it a lot. We didn't do this easily or cheaply. We never fired anyone for dereliction of duty or for being difficult. It was a hard thing to do, but at the same time, I thought to myself, Well, I'm writing about a guy who's the boss of a Mafia family, and he has to do these things too.
[on James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano] His eyes are very expressive. There's something about him that's very caring, which you see in him no matter what he's doing. There's a sadness there. As cynical, bullying, vulgar and overbearing as he could be, there's still a little boy in there. He did a lot of mean things, and he enjoyed vengeance, but he didn't seem mean. Somewhere he believed that people are good. There were some roads he was not going to go down, because there was no coming back.
Network television at that time was nothing but a world of certainties.' The Sopranos (1999) was ambiguous to the point where, to this day, I'm not really sure whether it was a drama or a comedy. It can be both, but people like to reduce it to one or the other. I know there are the two masks, Comedy and Drama, hanging together, but that's not the way American audiences seem to break things down.

Salary (1)

The Sopranos (1999) $15,000,000 (Season 5)

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