( b. Sep 18, 1961 Westwood, New Jersey, USA - d. Jun 19, 2013 Rome, ITALY ) Male
James Gandolfini was an Emmy Award-winning actor who shot to fame on the HBO drama "The Sopranos" as Tony Soprano, a tough-talking, hard-living crime boss with a stolid exterior but a rich interior life.
Gandolfini attended Park Ridge High School and Rutgers University, graduating in 1983 with a degree in communications. He drove a delivery truck, managed nightclubs and tended bar in Manhattan before becoming interested in acting at age 25, when a friend, Broadway actor Roger Bart, took him to an acting class.
He began his movie career in 1987 in the low-budget horror comedy "Shock! Shock! Shock!" In 1992 he had a small part in the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange.
By the mid-1990s Mr. Gandolfini had made gangster roles a specialty, playing burly but strangely charming tough guys in films like "True Romance" (1993) and "The Juror" (1996). He had an impressive list of character-acting credits, but was largely unknown when Mr. Chase cast him in "The Sopranos" in 1999.
The success of "The Sopranos" transformed Mr. Gandolfini from a character actor into a star. The series, created by David Chase, won two Emmys for outstanding drama series, and Mr. Gandolfini won three Emmys for outstanding lead actor in a drama. He was nominated six times for the award.
He went on to play a series of tough guys and heavies, including an angry Brooklyn parent in the Broadway drama God of Carnage, for which he was nominated for a Tony Award in 2009; the director of the C.I.A. in "Zero Dark Thirty," Kathryn Bigelow's dramatization of the hunt for Osama bin Laden; and a hit man in the 2012 crime thriller "Killing Them Softly."
Source: The New York Times obituary