James Gandolfini known to most of America as Tony Soprano died today while on vacation in Italy. Initial reports are saying that he had a heart attack. He was only 51 and while overweight, it seems that those closest to him didn’t consider him to be in anything other than good health. He won a Golden Globe for his role as Tony Soprano in 2000 and was nominated repeatedly in 2001, 2002 and 2003. He was nominated eight times for Primetime Emmy Awards from 1999-2012, winning three.
“The Sopranos” was a huge staple of office cooler and weekend conversations when it become an HBO hit in 1999. Gandolfini played Tony Soprano, a New Jersey mob boss who you loved, hated and some days loved to hate. He was alternately a caring father and ruthless mob boss. This show took mainstream America straight into the living room of the mob world of modern gangsters from a much more holistic way than just the “mob operations” type shows with good guys vs bad guys. The entire Soprano family, while not quite front and center in the show, was always an important juxtaposition as Tony moved between his “mob life” and “family life.” The show ran until 2007.