James Gandolfini continued a family tradition when he followed the lead of his two older sisters and attended Rutgers, where he majored in communication. He planned on a career managing bars and clubs but his life’s path changed when he took an acting class, taught by another Rutgers alumnus, when he was 25. The acting “bug” bit Gandolfini hard, and he developed a strong affinity for the art. He appeared in a score of films and made his Broadway debut in 1992. While his film career has seen him in major roles opposite such stars as Julia Roberts and Robert Redford, it was the smaller screen of television that led to his greatest fame. As the star of the acclaimed HBO series The Sopranos, he portrayed conflicted New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano. His superbly nuanced performance earned him numerous Emmy, Screen Actors Guild, and Golden Globe awards and nominations, and the series achieved similar success. Yet Gandolfini never forgot his New Jersey roots, or his alma mater, which he supported by appearing in commercials for Rutgers athletics.
Rutgers College 1983
Hall of Distinguished Alumni Class of