ames Joseph Gandolfini Jr. (September 18, 1961 – June 19, 2013) was an American actor best known for his role as Tony Soprano, the Italian-American crime boss in HBO's television series, The Sopranos. He was widely hailed for his performance, winning three Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and one Golden Globe Award.
His notable film roles include mob henchman Virgil in True Romance (1993), Lt. Bobby Dougherty in Crimson Tide (1995), and Mayor of New York in The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009). Other roles are enforcer and stuntman Bear in Get Shorty (1995) and impulsive "Wild Thing" Carol in Where the Wild Things Are (2009). For his performance as Albert in Enough Said (2013), Gandolfini posthumously received much critical praise and several accolades, including a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination and the Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor.
In 2007, Gandolfini produced Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq, a documentary in which he interviewed injured Iraq War veterans and in 2010, Wartorn: 1861–2010 examining the impact of posttraumatic stress disorder on soldiers and families throughout several wars in American history from 1861 to 2010.
Gandolfini died suddenly at the age of 51 in Rome, on June 19, 2013. He was expected to travel to Sicily a few days later to receive an award at the Taormina Film Fest. After he and his family had spent a day of sightseeing in sweltering heat, his 13-year-old son Michael discovered him unconscious at around 10 pm local time, on the bathroom floor at the Boscolo Exedra Hotel in the Piazza della Repubblica. Michael called reception, who in turn called emergency paramedics. Gandolfini reportedly arrived at the hospital at 10:40 pm and was pronounced dead at 11 pm. An autopsy confirmed that he had died of a heart attack.
While word of his death spread, politicians such as John McCain and Chris Christie took to the Internet to respond. Christie ordered all New Jersey State buildings to fly flags at half staff on June 24, to honor Gandolfini when his body was returned to the United States. The people of Gandolfini's hometown started a Facebook page to discuss plans to honor him, including naming a street after him and renaming the Little Theater at Park Ridge High School after him, where he did his first performances.
The day after Gandolfini's death, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, which has long featured Sopranos co-star Steven Van Zandt on guitar, dedicated a performance of their classic album Born to Run (1975) by doing a rendition for Gandolfini.
Gandolfini's body was returned to the United States on June 23, 2013. Family spokesman Michael Kobold thanked both Italian and American authorities for expediting the repatriation process, which normally takes seven days. Broadway dimmed theater marquee lights on the night of Wednesday, June 26 in Gandolfini's honor.
Gandolfini's funeral service was held on June 27, 2013, at the Episcopal Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in Morningside Heights, Manhattan. He was cremated, and his ashes were given to his family.