Sadly, an immensely talented actor from what may very well be the best television series in history has unexpectedly passed away. James Gandolfini died of a possible heart attack earlier today in Rome at the age of 51, reports confirm. Gandolfini was born in New Jersey and broke out with his performance as Virgil in 1993’s True Romance. The actor went on to star in the HBO drama series The Sopranos from 1999 to 2007, earning three Best Actor Emmys in the process. The show itself truly changed television forever, and Gandolfini’s brilliant performance as patriarch Tony Soprano was the foundation for the series’ success. He was also active on the stage, appearing in the 2009 Broadway production of God of Carnage, and had many, many memorable feature film roles including Where the Wild Things Are and In the Loop.
Gandolfini had recently wrapped a co-starring role opposite Tom Hardy in Animal Rescue, and he will also appear in Nicole Holofcener’s new film. Our deepest condolences go out to Gandolfini’s family, friends, and colleagues. The acting world is a lesser place without him.