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James Gandolfini in "The Sopranos"

James Gandolfini

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If you’ve ever seen James Gandolfini smile, you’d swear he was the goofiest guy in Hollywood, but his role as Tony Soprano has ensured that he’ll never be taken kindly again. Born and raised in Westwood, New Jersey, James didn’t become interested in acting until well into his twenties, instead focusing on his studies at Rutgers University and working as a bouncer at a New York nightclub. When he did finally decide that he wanted to give acting a shot, James enrolled in the prestigious Actors Studio. After finding a promising career on the stage, James decided to make the jump to the big screen where he made a memorable splash as Christopher Walken’s right-hand man, Virgil, in the crime thriller “True Romance.” Following his success as the bad guy, James tried on a few more villainous roles in “Get Shorty” and “8MM” before getting his big break courtesy of “The Sopranos” creator David Chase.

The HBO original series, which is now one of the most popular shows on television, was a shot in the dark for the actor, but it paid off big when he started reeling in all of the Best Actor statues at award shows. His success on the show even sprouted a film rebirth of sorts that has resulted in several supporting roles in films including “The Mexican” and “The Last Castle,” but James will forever be remembered as the daunting crime boss that millions of loyal HBO subscribers tune in to every week. The show has regrettably lost some of its flair over these last two years, but we can only hope that it will experience a much needed resurgence as the sixth and final season promises to close the book on one of the most interesting television series of the past decade.

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James on the Web

IMDB
An online database of James' TV and film work.

James on the Screen

James began his career as the heavy in films like "True Romance" and "Get Shorty," while also appearing in other bit roles in "Crimson Tide," "Fallen" and "8MM." The actor received the break of his life, however, when he was offered the lead role in HBO's original series "The Sopranos." Since then, James has attempted to appear in projects that don't typecast him as a mobster (including "The Last Castle" and "Surviving Christmas"), but they've all been relative disappointments.

Comments from the Don

On himself:
"I just don't think I'm that interesting. I don't think what I have to say is that interesting. To hear me go blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. I mean, who the hell cares?"

On the paparazzi:
"I'm an actor... I do a job and I go home. Why are you interested in me? You don't ask a truck driver about his job."