His sister Johanna is a prominent official with the New Jersey Family Court system.
Attended and graduated from Park Ridge High School in Park Ridge, New Jersey (1979).
Attended Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
He played the trumpet and saxophone.
Although he often played thuggish or brute characters, he was actually somewhat of a pacifist off-stage; he had reservations about continuing his production contract as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos (1999) due to the series violent content and stereotype of Italian-Americans.
Television mobster Gandolfini turned to the right side of the law when he saw a woman being mugged in New York recently. Passers-by were shocked to see the tough guy step in and rescue a woman when she was knocked down and had her bag snatched whilst walking down a dimly lit street. [November 2001]
Named one of E!'s "Top 20 Entertainers of 2001".
Originally cast in the role of Carl Hanratty in Catch Me If You Can (2002) but had to drop out due to The Sopranos (1999).
Financed the construction of a restaurant called "Vines" in Oneonta, New York for his childhood friend Clive Griffiths, who needed the money to launch it.
Used to bartend in Manhattan during years as struggling actor.
Lost more than 40 pounds for his role in The Mexican (2001), but had to gain it all back before shooting for the HBO series The Sopranos (1999) because executives did not believe the audience would like a "skinny" Tony.
Well trained in Krav Maga, (an Israeli style of Martial Arts) which he practiced for 2 1/2 years.
In Crimson Tide (1995), James refers to Robert Mitchum and Cary Grant, two actors he also references in The Sopranos (1999).
Became engaged to Lora Somoza. [January 2004]
Said he was nothing like "Tony Soprano" in real life, describing his own personality as being more like a "260-pound Woody Allen".
Has co-starred with John Travolta in five movies: Get Shorty (1995), She's So Lovely (1997), A Civil Action (1998), Lonely Hearts (2006) and The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009).
Was voted "best-looking" in high school
Was friends with former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Once worked as a bouncer.
For his role as Eddie Poole in 8MM (1999), Gandolfini met a variety of real porn directors and producers to get a feel for their line of work and to get a taste of their personalities, and is said to have loosely based his character on several of them.
In Crimson Tide (1995) he played an officer on the U.S.S. Alabama. In True Romance (1993), he beats up a woman named Alabama, played by Patricia Arquette. Both films were directed by Tony Scott.
Became engaged to Lora Somoza in January 2004. Broke up, amicably, in February 2005.
Had often said Robert De Niro played a considerable role in his decision to become an actor, since Gandolfini had grown up watching Mean Streets (1973) over and over again. Fittingly, in et. 2013, HBO announced that De Niro had been chosen to replace Gandolfini in the television lawyer's role he had signed to play--the lead of the drama miniseries The Night Of (2016). It's slated for production in time to premiere in summer 2014.
Was in attendance at Chris Penn's funeral.
Was considered for the role of Ben Grimm/The Thing in Fantastic Four (2005), which went to Michael Chiklis.
Has played Aida Turturro's father in Romance & Cigarettes (2005) and her brother in The Sopranos (1999).
Became close friends with his The Sopranos (1999) co-star, Lorraine Bracco, during the filming of the HBO series. During her close-ups, during their scenes, he would "moon" her to try and put her off. This was confirmed during James' interview on Inside the Actors Studio (1994).
Nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for Best Performance for a Leading Actor in a Play for "God of Carnage".
Known to be a shy man, uncomfortable being a celebrity.
Was considered for the role of Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction (1994), which went to John Travolta.
On June 19, 2013, he suffered a fatal heart attack in his ancestral nation of Italy. He was 51 years old at the time of his heart attack.
Has co-starred with Denzel Washington in three movies: Crimson Tide (1995), Fallen (1998) and The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009).
Has appeared in four films directed by Tony Scott: Crimson Tide (1995), The Last Boy Scout (1991), True Romance (1993) and The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009).
Has two children: a son, Michael Gandolfini (born 2000), with his first wife, Marcy Gandolfini (nee Wudarski), and a daughter named Liliana (born October 2012) with his second wife, Deborah Lin.
Was close friends with Karen Duffy since childhood.
Often worked with Tony Scott.
Was good friends with John Travolta. John's father sold tires to his father.
He first became interested in acting after attending an acting class with a friend, and subsequently studied the Meisner technique under Kathryn Gately for two years.
On an episode of Inside the Actors Studio (1994), he mentioned banging his head against a wall, getting very little sleep, and putting a pointy rock in his shoe as techniques to get really angry while shooting The Sopranos (1999).
Was on vacation with his son at the time of his passing. He and his son were celebrating his son's graduation from junior high school.
Had an estate worth $70 million at the time of his death.
Did not start acting until he was in his mid 20s.
Was very uncomfortable performing violent scenes on The Sopranos (1999) and would sometimes stop during the middle of shooting a scene when he was unable to continue.
Was introduced to acting by his friend, Roger Bart, after accompanying him to a class.
Despite having gained fame for playing brutal and violent characters, his friends and co-stars have said that he was the complete opposite in real life, being very thoughtful, soft spoken and all around nice person.
He was inducted into the 2014 New Jersey Hall of Fame in the Arts and the Entertainment category.
Has co-starred with Brad Pitt in three films: True Romance (1993), The Mexican (2001) and Killing Them Softly (2012).
Has co-starred with Gene Hackman in three films: Crimson Tide (1995), Get Shorty (1995) and The Mexican (2001).
James Gandolfini passed away on June 19, 2013, three months away from what would have been his 52nd birthday on September 18.
Very press shy, he was known for often declining interviews. He believed that there were more interesting celebrities to interview.
Jeff Daniels, Hope Davis, Marcia Gay Harden and he were awarded the 2012 Back Stage Garland Award for Ensemble for "God of Carnage" at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, California.
Upon finding out that he was the only actor on The Sopranos (1999-2007) receiving a cut of the proceeds from DVD sales, he called every other cast member into his trailer and cut each a check for thousands of dollars from his amount.
He worked with Tony Scott on four films and his nephew Jake Scott on Welcome To The Rileys (2010).
Gandolfini was one of the actors considered for the role of Don Lino in Shark Tale before Robert De Niro was cast.
The film Her (2013) was dedicated to his memory.
His parents spoke Italian at home.
He strongly disliked doing interviews.