The Cast of The Sopranos: Life Before and After

James Gandolfini

Gandolfini was born in Westwood, New Jersey, to Santa (also known as Penna), a high school lunch lady, and James Joseph Gandolfini, Sr., who was a bricklayer and head school janitor. His parents were both Italian. Gandolfini started acting in the New York theater. His Broadway debut was in 1992; a revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire” with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin.

Actor James Gandolfini and his wife Deborah Lin and son Michael attend the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival in New York in April 2010. Source: Andrew H. Walker / Today

Legacy: “Enough Said” (2013), “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone” (2013), “Zero Dark Thirty” (2012), “Killing Them Softly” (2012), “Where the Wild Things Are” (2009), “The Taking of Pelham 123” (2009), and “Crimson Tide” (1995).

Fast Fact: He appears in an unaired pilot in 2016 for the HBO mini-series ‘The Night Of.’

Awards: He won 22 awards and 52 nominations in his acting career. Of those wins, 16 of them were for his portrayal of Tony Soprano.

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