James Gandolfini became famous for his role as Tony Soprano, an Italian-American crime Lord in HBO’s television series, “The Sopranos”. The role earned him three Emmy awards, three Screen Actors Guild awards, and a Golden Globe award. Other roles that distinguished him include his role as a mob henchman named Virgil in “True Romance” (1993), Lt. Bobby Dougherty in “Crimson Tide” (1995), and Mayor of New York in “The Taking of Pelham 123” (2009).
He also portrayed Albert in “Said Enough” (2013). It was an outstanding performance that earned him much critical praise and several nods including a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Interestingly, James produced a documentary titled, “Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq” wherein he interviewed injured Iraq War veterans. He also participated actively in the production of another documentary titled “Wartorn: 1861-2010”.
Age, Early Life, and Background Details
James was born as James Joseph Gandolfini in Westwood, New Jersey, on the 18th of September 1961. His mother’s name was Santa Gandolfini, an Italian who was born in the United States and brought up in Naples. His Italian-born father was James Joseph Gandolfini Sr., a native of Borgo Val di Taro who worked as a bricklayer/cement mason and later became the head janitor in a high school.
James was raised a devout Roman Catholic and spoke Italian at home. Because of the influence of his parents, he cultivated a very strong sense of Italian-American identity. It is said that his parents took him and his two sisters to visit Italy often.
In terms of his education, James graduated from Park Ridge High School, New Jersey in 1979. There, he played basketball and also acted in plays. He was given the title “Class Flirt” in his senior yearbook. For his university education, he merited a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Rutgers University in 1982. During his time in school, he worked as a bouncer at an on-campus pub. After graduation, James worked as a bartender and club manager in Manhattan. Subsequently, he studied acting under Kathryn Gately at The Gately Poole Conservatory for a period of two years.
James Gandolfini displayed an excellent performance in a 1992 Broadway production titled “Waterfront”. This opened a lot of doors for him into the acting world as he soon began getting roles which included being a brutal mob enforcer in the 1993 romantic thriller, “Virgil”. In 1994, he played the role of Ben Pink in the action film, “Terminal Velocity”.
The following year, he showed up in the blockbuster “Crimson Tide” and later took on the role of a bearded ex-stuntman with a southern accent in “Get Shorty”. James Gandolfini starred alongside Demi Moore and Alec Baldwin in the thriller crime drama, “The Juror”. His last two films were “Enough Said”, a rom-com where he starred alongside Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the crime movie, “The Drop”. James was set to star in the miniseries, “The Night Of” but he died before filming began.
James Gandolfini’s Wife, Son, and Daughter
James Gandolfini got married to his first wife, Marcy Wudarski in 1999. Together, they welcomed an adorable son named Micheal in the year 2000. Unfortunately, the pair filed for a divorce. The divorce was finalized in December 2002.
After his separation from his first wife Marcy, James began dating former model and actress, Deborah Lin. As a couple, they walked down the aisle in August 2008. Deborah later gave birth to their daughter, Liliana Ruth Gandolfini in October 2012.
Height and Weight
James weighed 275 pounds (124 kg) paired with a height of 6 feet (1.85 m) which handed him the large appearance that was quite intimidating to those around him. His body structure made him very suitable for crime-related roles. Also, his eyes were dark brown in color just like his hair.
Cause of Death
Shortly after a day of sightseeing with his family, James Gandolfini was found unconscious in the bathroom by his son Michael at around 10 PM local time. He was then rushed to the hospital at 10:40 PM where he was pronounced dead at 11 pm.
An autopsy was later carried out and it was confirmed that he died of a Myocardial infarction also known as a heart attack. James Gandolfini died at the age of 51.