This high school heartthrob’s evolution into TV legend is truly inspiring

The late James Gandolfini wasn’t always the hulking, balding man the world grew to love as a ruthless yet sensitive mobster on The Sopranos.

Iconic for his portrayal of the philandering Tony Soprano, who had better luck being loyal to his mob family than his own family, Gandolfini was equally frisky in his younger years, decades before he played the enigmatic violent sociopath on The Sopranos.

Born September 18, 1961, James Gandolfini was best known as the affable Tony Soprano, the Mafia crime boss, and the family patriarch in HBO’s The Sopranos.

Sometimes sensitive, other times sociopathic, Gandolfini’s landmark performance of the flawed gangster earned him numerous awards and international acclaim.

Speaking of the lovable but brutal Tony Soprano, James Gandolfini told Vogue: “I am playing an Italian lunatic from New Jersey, and that’s basically what I am.”

the end meant the antihero is alive, or dead.

Tragedy in Rome

But, along with the legendary actor, the elder Soprano died on June 19, 2013, after a heart attack claimed the life of the beloved 51-year-old star.

The Jersey-born man was travelling with his family in Italy and was in the hotel with his then 13-year-old son Michael when he had a heart attack and died.

Gandolfini left behind his wife Deborah Lin, who he married in 2008, daughter Liliane (born 2012), and Michael, who he shares with first wife, Marcy Wudarski.

Almost 10 years later, Michael landed the biggest role of his life, playing the role of a young Tony Soprano in The Many Saints of Newark.

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