James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini
(© Joseph Marzullo/WENN)
James Gandolfini, the Tony Award-nominated and multi-Emmy Award-winning actor best known for his performance as mob boss Tony Soprano on the acclaimed HBO drama The Sopranos, died on June 19 in Italy at the age of 51. The cause is believed to have been a heart attack.

Gandolfini received a 2009 Tony nomination for his performance as volatile parent Michael in the hit Yasmina Reza play God of Carnage. Directed by Matthew Warchus and playing opposite Jeff Daniels, Marcia Gay Harden, and Hope Davis, they repeated their work in the French play's subsequent Los Angeles staging in 2011. Gandolfini made his Broadway debut in the 1992 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, which starred Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin, and later appeared in On the Waterfront.

Yet it was his performance as Tony Soprano that made the press-shy Gandolfini a household name. The Sopranos ran for six seasons on HBO, and Gandolfini picked up three Emmy Awards, four SAG Awards, and a Golden Globe for his work as the New Jersey mafia kingpin with anxiety issues. Among his many film credits were Zero Dark Thirty, In the Loop, True Romance, Get Shorty, and Where the Wild Things Are.

Born in Westwood, New Jersey on September 18, 1961, James Joseph Gandolfini, Jr. is survived by his wife, Deborah Lin, their daughter, Liliana, and a teenage son, Michael, from a previous marriage.

Jeff Daniels and James Gandolfini in <i>God of Carnage</i>
Jeff Daniels and James Gandolfini in God of Carnage
(© Joan Marcus)