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Actor, producer and philanthropist James Gandolfini passed away today suddenly. He was 51. Deadline broke the news late Wednesday, saying Gandolfini suffered a suspected heart attack while in Italy.
Perhaps best known for his portrayal of Tony Soprano in the critically acclaimed HBO television series “The Sopranos,” for which he won both the Emmy and Screen Actors Guild award multiple times, Gandolfini was born September 18, 1961 and grew up in Park Ridge, New Jersey.
While he may be most recognizable as Tony Soprano by fans, Gandolfini had a number of different roles in Hollywood, including “True Romance,” “Terminal Velocity,” “Get Shorty,” “The Juror,” “The Taking of Pelham 123″ and more. Early in his career during 1992, he appeared in a Broadway production of “On the Waterfront.” He most recently was set to appear in “Animal Rescue” alongside Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace, which is slated for a 2014 release.
Behind the camera, Gandolfini produced two documentaries with HBO: “Alive Day: Home from Iraq,” which focused on injured Iraq War veterans and the physical and emotional toll of reintegrating back into society; and “Wartorn: 1861-2010,” which explored and allayed the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder through American history. He also produced “Hemingway & Gelhorn,” the HBO miniseries about author Ernest Hemingway and the writer’s relationship with Martha Gelhorn. Gandolfini was a huge supporter of The Octoberwoman Foundation for Breast Cancer Research in his hometown of Park Ridge, and appeared often in the foundation’s annual October banquet.
Gandolfini is survived by his wife, Deborah Lin, and his son Michael. The thoughts and prayers of Spinoff Online go out to his family and friends in this difficult time.