Yesterday, at the age of 51, actor James Gandolfini passed away while on vacation in Italy. A heart attack is suspected as the cause of death. Gandolfini is best known for playing Tony Soprano, the loathsome yet lovable mob boss on HBO’s game-changing program, The Sopranos. Ushering in a new era of “filmic” television, the show won countless Emmys and critical praise. Gandolfini also had a long list of credits in films. Here we take a look at some of his most memorable roles. (Warning, some of the language and content in the clips is NSFW.)
As Virgil in Tony Scott’s True Romance, Gandolfini drew on his rough Italian-Catholic upbringing, playing a henchman of gangster Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken).
In another gangster film, Get Shorty, Gandolfini once again assumed the part of a henchman, this time in a role (Bear) that played up his burly physique.
In the Coen brothers’ neo-noir The Man Who Wasn’t There, Gandolfini moved away from mainstream crime dramas, playing “Big Dave” Brewster.
In addition to playing gangsters, Gandolfini’s physical stature often saw him cast as men of high-ranking authority. In the British satire In the Loop, he played Lt. Gen. George Miller and proved his comedic chops.
Though Gandolfini’s last role to date (two more are on the way) is The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, we like to remember his second-to-last one, as the C.I.A. director in Kathryn Bigelow’s Oscar-winning Zero Dark Thirty.