James Gandolfini Dead: Leaves Legacy in Cinema Larger Than Tony Soprano

James Gandolfini, the actor best known for his role as Tony Soprano on HBO's "The Sopranos," died Wednesday while in Italy leaving behind a legacy much greater than the one he portrayed on television.

At just the age of 51, Gandolfini reportedly died of a heart attack although an official cause of death has not been declared.

Getting his first break in 1987's "Shock! Shock! Shock!" as an orderly, the movie set the stage for his work as a character actor for the remainder of his career.

He worked in blockbuster movies such as: "True Romance" (1993), "Get Shorty" (1995), "12 Angry Men" (1997), and most recently the Academy Award winning, "Zero Dark Thirty" (2012).

Aside from his work in television and film, Gandolfini worked extensively in theater.

His first work was in the 1992 Broadway production of "A Street Car Named Desire," and 1995's "On the Waterfront," both roles originally brought to life on screen by iconic film legend, Marlon Brando. He returned to the stage in 2009, for a Broadway production of "God of Carnage," according to BroadwayWorld.com.

Gandolfini's latest endeavors were in a new project for HBO called, "Criminal Justice," which he filmed one episode for. Another film in post production was "Animal Rescue."

The actor was in Italy to make an appearance at the Taormina Film Fest in Sicily reports CNN.

"It is with immense sorrow that we report our client, James Gandolfini, passed away today while on holiday in Rome, Italy," managers Mark Armstrong and Nancy Sanders said in a joint statement according to CNN. "Our hearts are shattered and we will miss him deeply. He and his family were part of our family for many years and we are all grieving."

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