James Gandolfini, a Hollywood character actor who achieved stardom as the head of a fictional New Jersey crime family, passed away today at the age of 51:
James Gandolfini, the Emmy Award-winning actor who shot to fame on the HBO drama “The Sopranos” as Tony Soprano, a tough-talking, hard-living crime boss with a stolid exterior but a rich interior life, died on Wednesday. He was 51 years old.
Mr. Gandolfini’s death was confirmed by HBO. He was traveling in Rome, where he was on vacation and was scheduled to attend the Taormina Film Festival. A cause of death was not immediately announced; a press representative for HBO said that Mr. Gandolfini may have died from a heart attack, though other news reports said he died from a stroke.
Mr. Gandolfini, who grew up in Park Ridge, in Bergen County, N.J., came to embody the resilience of the Garden State on “The Sopranos,” a television drama that made its debut in 1999 and ran for six seasons on HBO.