Born: September 18, 1961
Date of Birth: September 18, 1961
After spending years as a Manhattan bouncer and nightclub manager, Westwood, New Jersey-born James Gandolfini discovered acting when a friend took him to an acting class in the late '80s. He was left so unsettled and challenged by a focusing exercise that involved threading a needle that he knew he had to return. He made his Broadway debut in 1992 in A Streetcar Named Desire along with Alec Baldwin, Jessica Lange and Amy Madigan. Gandolfini immersed himself in Manhattan's downtown theater world.
After making his big-screen debut in Sidney Lumet's A Stranger Among Us, Gandolfini's breakthrough came with his portrayal of Virgil, the philosophizing hitman, in Tony Scott's True Romance with Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette.
He then appeared in Mr. Wonderful (1993) with Annabella Sciorra and Matt Dillon and in Money for Nothing (1993) with John Cusack. Gandolfini has also been seen in Get Shorty (1995), She's So Lovely (1997), A Civil Action (1998), The Mighty and 8MM (1999).
Gandolfini became a household name after landing the role of Tony Soprano in HBO's hit series, The Sopranos, for which he has won three Emmy awards in 2000, 2001 and 2003 as Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series, as well as a 2000 Golden Globe award. After a role like this one, it only made sense that he would have a part in the 2012 crime drama Killing Them Softly about two ex-cons who distrupt a high-stakes poker game that's being protected by the mob. The film also stars Hollywood heavyweights Brad Pitt, Ray Liotta and Richard Jenkins. The last film he starred in before his untimely death was Enough Said(2013).