Whatever you think of the mafia and their interface with the law, the portrayal of the family-friendly mafia boss in HBO’s The Sopranos saw James Gandolfi transform the public perception of the mafia “family”.
Gandolfi, 51, died while on holiday in Italy when he suffered a stroke.
The Sopranos commenced its successful TV run in 1999 and he won three Emmys for “Best Actor in a Drama” for the troubled New Jersey mafia boss who sought counselling to better understand himself, showing a side of the tough-guy mafia boss that had seldom seen the light of day.
Gandolfini, who was born in New Jersey, was also a fine big screen star with some stunning turns in films including True Romance, In The Loop, Where The Wild Things Are and, more recently, Killing Them Softly and Zero Dark Thirty.
His acting talents weren’t confined to TV and cinema with his Broadway debut coming in 1992 in A Streetcar Named Desire.
In a statement, HBO called the actor a great talent and a gentle and loving person.