Birth: 1961-09-18, Westwood, New Jersey, USA

James Gandolfini is an American actor. His Broadway debut came in the 1992 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire. Gandolfini's gift for shedding light on the vulnerable side of seemingly ruthless characters led to his starring role in the acclaimed HBO drama series The Sopranos. He also starred in the film The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and lent his voice in the film Where the Wild Things Are.

 

Gandolfini grew up in New Jersey and graduated from Rutgers University. He discovered the stage after spending years as a Manhattan bouncer and nightclub manager. When a friend took him to an acting class in the late 1980s, he was left so unsettled and challenged by a focusing exercise that involved threading a needle that he knew he had to return.

 

Shortly thereafter, he immersed himself in the New York theater world. His Broadway debut came in the 1992 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire with Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin. His New York stage credits also include On the Waterfront, One Day Wonder with the Actor's Studio and Tarantulas Dancing at the Samuel Beckett Theatre.

 
In 2004, Gandolfini appeared in DreamWorks' comedy Surviving Christmas (2004) with Ben Affleck and the political drama All the King's Men (2006) with Sean Penn. Reportedly there are also plans in the works for Gandolfini to play literary legend Ernest Hemingway in a film that focuses on the writer's relationship with journalist Martha Gellhorn, who became his third wife. He also continued to work with HBO after The Sopranos ended in 2007, after he signed a development deal with the cable channel and its film distribution company, Picturehouse, in August 2006.
 
In 2009, Gandolfini began appearing on the big screen again. He starred in the action dramas The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 and In the Loop, and became a voice in the live-action remake of the children's book, Where the Wild Things Are. (2009)
 
Gandolfini and his wife, Marcella, were married in March 1999 and divorced in December 2002. They have one son, Michael. In January 2004, Gandolfini proposed to his girlfriend, Lora Somoza, but the engagement was later called off.