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, and whose death is mourned.