James Gandolfini: A Look Back at his 10 Best Roles

As we mourn the loss of one of the finest actors of his generation (Gandolfini died suddenly on June 19 at age 51), we remember the roles that made him a star.

James Gandolfini's 10 Best Roles

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As we mourn the loss of one of the finest actors of his generation (Gandolfini died suddenly on June 19 at age 51), we remember the roles that made him a star.

Tony Soprano ('The Sopranos')

As Tony Soprano, a New Jersey Mafia boss and protagonist of HBO's 'The Sopranos,' Gandolfini was a tour de force. Over the course of the show's six seasons, he won three Emmys, a Golden Globe, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards. Widely considered one of the most iconic performances in TV history, Gandolfini's powerhouse turn on 'The Sopranos' has stayed in our memories long after the show's 2007 finale. [Image: HBO]

Virgil ('True Romance')

Gandolfini played a brutal henchman in the critically acclaimed 1993 film, which received dismal box office results but is now considered a cult classic. For the role of Virgil, Gandolfini said he was inspired by an old friend, a hitman. [Image: Warner Bros.]

Bear ('Get Shorty')

The actor played a henchman yet again in Barry Sonnenfeld's 1995 hit. The film was nominated for three Golden Globes, winning one for star John Travolta, and the entire cast was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award. [Image: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer]

CIA Director ('Zero Dark Thirty')

Gandolfini had a small but important role in Kathryn Bigelow's controversial 2012 drama, playing the CIA director who assesses the chances that Osama bin Laden is hiding out in the compound that Maya (Jessica Chastain) believes him to be. [Image: Columbia]

Winston Baldry ('The Mexican')

In the 2011 comedy 'The Mexican,' Gandolfini starred opposite Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt, playing the supporting role of Winston Baldry. While the film only received middling reviews, it was successful at the box office, making almost 150 million. [Image: DreamWorks]

Carol ('Where the Wild Things Are')

The actor voiced Carol, one of the many monstrous creatures Max befriends in the 2009 fantasy drama 'Where the Wild Things Are.' The film received critical acclaim for its originality and visual effects. [Image: Warner Bros.]

Mickey ('Killing Them Softly')

In the 2012 crime film starring Brad Pitt, Gandolfini once again played a hitman. His performance, along with those of Pitt and co-stars Richard Jenkins and Ray Liotta, garnered 'Killing Them Softly' a Palme d'Or nomination at the Cannes Film Festival. [Image: The Weinstein Company]

Pat ('Not Fade Away')

Gandolfini teamed up with his 'Sopranos' creator David Chase for Chase's directorial debut, 'Not Fade Away.' The actor played a father afflicted with psoriasis whose relationship with his son (John Magaro) is tested over time. [Image: Paramount Vantage]

Producer (Three TV Films/Documentaries)

When not acting, Gandolfini racked up an impressive list of credits as a producer. In 2007, he made the HBO doc 'Alive Day Memories: Home from Iraq,' featuring interviews with injured Iraq war veterans. In 2010, he teamed up with HBO again to produce 'Wartorn: 1861–2010,' about the history of post-traumatic stress disorder in America. Last year, his 'Hemingway & Gellhorn,' a TV movie starring Clive Owen and Nicole Kidman, racked up 13 Emmy nominations and two wins. [Image: HBO]

Unknown ('Animal Rescue')

Gandolfini had just completed filming 'Animal Rescue,' a crime drama set to be released in 2014, at the time of his death. He starred alongside Tom Hardy and Noomi Rapace. [Image: Fox Searchlight]