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James Gandolfini: The Real Life of the Man Who Made Tony Soprano
     

James Gandolfini: The Real Life of the Man Who Made Tony Soprano

by Dan Bischoff
 

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James Gandolfini: The Real Life of the Man Who Made Tony Soprano is the first biography of the actor who died, in June 2013 at age 51, widely recognized as one of the best—and most defining—actors of his generation. The book is informed by fresh interviews with Sopranos actors, the star's acting teachers and coaches, his childhood

Overview

James Gandolfini: The Real Life of the Man Who Made Tony Soprano is the first biography of the actor who died, in June 2013 at age 51, widely recognized as one of the best—and most defining—actors of his generation. The book is informed by fresh interviews with Sopranos actors, the star's acting teachers and coaches, his childhood friends, buddies from his days as a nightclub bouncer, and Hollywood figures including the directors of his posthumously released films.
Bischoff decodes Gandolfini's portrayal of mobsters and bad guys from his breakout role in True Romance with Patricia Arquette to the television series role that made his career, and his portrayals of real people like Leon Panetta in Zero Dark Thirty. Gandolfini's personal life--from his marriages and family interactions to his deep friendships with his fellow cast members—enriches and enlivens this book, and deepens our understanding of the star.
James Gandolfini: The Real Life of the Man Who Made Tony Soprano is a fascinating look at Gandolfini's complicated relationship to his roots, to the role that made him wealthy beyond his imagination, and to American notions of masculinity, power and fame. Even as he scaled the heights of his profession, creating a TV character as vivid as Carroll O'Connor's Archie Bunker and as volcanic as Marlon Brando's Stanley Kowalski, Gandolfini remained a reluctant celebrity dedicated more to his craft than to his career.
James Gandolfini: The Real Life of the Man Who Made Tony Soprano delivers a textured, multilayered portrait of the on- and off-screen life of a complex, talented man who rose from an Italian immigrant family in northern New Jersey to join the ranks of America's most iconic actors.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“[Bischoff] shines in his behind-the-scenes explorations...An earnest, endearing homage to an outstanding actor.” —Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-12
A bittersweet biography of an intensely private artist. Unerringly tight-lipped throughout his career, actor James Gandolfini (1961–2013) exists as a kind of burly but amiable cypher who defies close examination. That he somehow managed, despite his media-shy disposition, to convince legions of Sopranos fans that they actually knew what made him tick is testament to his considerable powers as an artist. With little in the way of original source material to draw upon, Star-Ledger art critic Bischoff relies heavily on Gandolfini's impressive collection of work to help define his subject's remarkable life. What he finds, despite Gandolfini's undeniably magnetic presence on screen, is a remarkable actor who nevertheless found the process of acting incredibly taxing—and a genuinely "regular guy" who felt insecure about his craft. "About a week before a production was supposed to start filming, we'd get a letter, copied to the director, in which Jim would give everybody an out, asking them if they were sure they thought he could do the part," says Gandolfini's manager Mark Armstrong. "And he'd always include the names of three actors he thought were available who could do a better job." Bischoff makes sure to include ample insider Sopranos information, largely focusing on ever-increasing sums of money and the ensuing contract battles. However, the author shines in his behind-the-scenes explorations. In trying to divine who this intrinsically "Jersey guy" was, Bischoff reminds readers that Gandolfini passed away while vacationing with his young son and that the women he'd loved at various points in his life found it possible to sit near each other at his funeral. In his case, the absence of chatter surrounding his possible failings speaks volumes about his success as a human being. Not the last word but an earnest, endearing homage to an outstanding actor.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250054968
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
05/19/2015
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
587,678
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

DAN BISCHOFF is the award-winning art critic for the Star-Ledger, where he has been covering art and culture in New Jersey and New York since 1996. Previously, as the chief political and investigative editor at The Village Voice, he developed pieces that won several awards. Bischoff's writing has been published in the Voice, Mother Jones, The Nation, The San Francisco Chronicle, The St. Petersburg Times, ARTnews, The Deal, CBS MoneyWatch.com, and elsewhere. He lives in South Orange, New Jersey.

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