James Gandolfini was born in Westwood, New Jersey. His dad was a bricklayer and head custodian at Paramus Catholic High School and his mom was a high school lunch lady. James was proud of his Italian heritage. After graduating from Park Ridge High School in Park Ridge, New Jersey where he played basketball and acted in school plays, he continued his studies at Rutgers University having earned his undergraduate degree in communication. While at Rutgers, he earned his spending money by being a bouncer at a local bar. He also worked as a bartender in Manhattan before pursuing his acting career. While in New York City, he visited an acting class and enrolled in the Gately Poole Conservatory.
One of his first gigs was in the 1992 Broadway production of "On the Waterfront" He also got one of his first acting roles having played a mob enforcer in the film, "True Romance."He earned other roles that included "Terminal Velocity" "Get Shorty" and "The Juror"
|Gandolfini in The Sopranos|
Icon's of All Time. At the end of the Soprano's rein, he produced a documentary for HBO that focused on injured Iraq War veterans and the devotion they had for America. He was also the executive producer of "Alive Day Memories: Home From Iraq" that was nominated for an Emmy. He soon found himself back on Broadway for a role in "God of Carnage" and performed the part of the Mayor of New York in "The Taking of Pelham 123. He continued to produce other documentaries and HBO films.
During his success in the entertainment industry, Goldolfini never forgot his roots. He continued to support his hometown. He and his first wife bore a son, Michael and following his divorce, Gandolfini remarried and he and his second wife had a daughter.
In June, 2013, James decided to take a brief vacation to Rome, Italy. He had planned to travel to Sicily
to accept an award at the Taormina Film Fest. On June 19, 2013 following a day of blistering heat while sightseeing with his son, Michael, James returned to his room. His 13 year old son entered the room at about 10pm and found his dad unconscious on the bathroom floor. The paramedics were called and James was rushed to the hospital and upon arrival, was pronounced dead at 11pm. He was 51 years of age. An autopsy was performed and the cause of death was ruled a heart attack. When New Jersey got the news of James passing, flags were lowered to half staff on June 24.
|James Gandolfini funeral|
The remains of James Gandolfini were returned to the United States on June 23. James was honored with the dimming of the lights on Broadway on June 26.
|Gandolfini funeral program|
James Gandolfini was cremated following the services and returned to his family. His place of rest is unknown.