James Gandolfini

James Gandolfini in The Sopranos

James Gandolfini in “The Sopranos”

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 became one of the most popular and iconic 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.

Sadly, James Gandolfini passed away in 2013 and the age of 51. It’s a shame he died so young.

Bullz-Eye Features

Badass Bracket – Tony vs Sonny
We featured the character of Tony Soprano in our bracket of classic badass characters matched up against Sonny Corleone in Round 1. Here’s the description of the character: “As the unofficial boss of the New Jersey family, Tony is one of the most malicious and terrifying men in the history of television. He shot one of his best friends point blank in the chest, ordered the hit on his nephew’s fiancée, and even murdered his favorite cousin in cold blood…all so he could live to see another day.”

Resources and Articles

A Few of the Best Tributes to James Gandolfini
Excellent compilation of tributes from IndieWire.com.

James Gandolfini Changed TV Forever
The late Sopranos star brought Marlon Brando-style complexity to the small screen.

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.

James Gandolfini Quotes

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.”