James Gandolfini, the beloved actor made famous for his role as Tony Soprano on “The Sopranos,” died in Italy on Wednesday (June 19), according to reports.
Deadline is reporting that the actor suffered a massive heart attack earlier today. He was 51.
Gandolfini’s breakthrough came in Tony Scott’s 1991 film True Romance”, where his portrayal of a ruthless hit man won him initial recognition. Gandolfini won three Emmy Awards for his portrayal of the New Jersey mob boss on the acclaimed HBO series, which ran for six seasons, from 1999 to 2007.
But Gandolfini’s portrayal of creator David Chase’s mob boss reverberated far beyond television and into the world of music. Tony Soprano was forever immortalized on Jay-Z’s verse on Beyonce’s 2003 smash “Crazy In Love”: “Stick bony, but the pockets is fat like Tony Soprano.”
Apart from his iconic role as the conflicted Soprano, New Jersey-born Gandolfini recently appeared in “Zero Dark Thirty” as the director of the C.I.A., lent his voice to “Where the Wild Things Are” and also appeared in “The Incredible Burt Wonderstone.”
According to TMZ, the actor was in Italy for the Taormina Film Festival, where he was supposed to participate in an event with director Gabriele Muccino.
The actor is survived by his wife, former model Deborah Lin, as well as a son with ex-wife Marcy Wudarski.