By CHRIS PLEASANCE FOR MAILONLINE
It was the series that remade TV – scooping dozens of awards and making stars out of its cast along the way.
The Sopranos first aired 20 years ago this January, before wrapping up 86 episodes and six seasons later, in 2007.
Now, as Michael Gandolfini – son of leading man James Gandolfini – prepares to play his father’s character Tony Soprano in a prequel film, Mail Online examines what happened to the cast since the curtain dropped.
The cast of the first season of The Sopranos, which celebrated 20 years since the first season aired in January of this year
James Gandolfini – Tony Soprano
Playing an anxiety-prone mob boss juggling the demands of his figurative family – the Mafia – with his literal family was breakout star of the show, James Gandolfini.
Balancing the ruthlessness expected of a mob boss with a repressed emotional side and the tenderness requires of a family patriarch, Gandolfini’s portrayal earned him three Emmy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Golden Globe.
James Gandolfini played leading many Tony Soprano (pictured left in character and right in 2013, shortly before his death)
Sadly, the actor passed away in 2013 aged 51 while on holiday with his family in Rome from a heart attack.
He was found unconscious on his hotel floor by son Michael who alerted the emergency services, but was pronounced dead in hospital.
Michael, now aged 18, is currently portraying a young Tony Soprano in prequel film The Many Saints of Newark, due for release in 2020.
Michael Gandolfini, his 18-year-old son, is now preparing to play in him a Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark (left, together right with his father and mother, Deborah Lin
Edie Falco – Carmela Soprano
Tony’s trophy wife who decided to turn a blind eye to his many affairs and means of income and focus instead on the income itself.
Living a life of luxury did not solve all of Carmela’s problems, however, as she struggled to raise her two children against a backdrop of immorality and violence.
Carmela Soprano, Tony’s long-suffering wife, was played by Edie Falco who has appeared often on TV since (pictured left in character, right in April this year)
Falco, who won three Emmys, two Golden Globes and five Screen Actors Guild Awards as Carmela, went on to star as the eponymous hero in series Nurse Jackie.
She also worked alongside Louis C.K. in web series Horace and Pete, and as attorney Leslie Abramson in Law & Order True Crime.
In 2011 she also won a Tony Award for her role in the Broadway revival of The House of Blue Leaves.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler – Meadow Soprano
Growing up as the child of a notorious mobster comes with its challenges, especially for the principled Meadow – who struggles to reconcile how her father makes his money with the benefits it brings her.
Aged 17 when The Sopranos first aired, she carved out an acting career for herself in parallel with the TV series.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler was 17 when she was cast as Meadow Soprano (left), and has appeared in TV shows since, including HBO’s Entourage (pictured right in February this year)
She appeared in a Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast as Belle between 2002 and 2003, and played the titular character in Cinderella at Madison Square Garden in 2001.
Since the series wrapped she has made sporadic TV appearances, including as herself in two series of HBO’s Entourage.
She has also featured in episodes of How I Met Your Mother and Ugly Betty, and appeared in the music video for The Lonely Island’s song Jizz In My Pants.
Sigler dabbed in other fields – releasing an album in 2001 that flopped and she later said had embarrassed her – and modeled in FHM.
Robert Iler – AJ Soprano
The youngest child of Tony and Carmela, he starts the series as the innocent if badly-behaved tearaway of the family who fails to live up to his father’s many expectations.
As the series goes on his innocence is shattered and he begins to exhibit all of Tony’s negative traits, leading to a battle with depression.
Robert Iler was just 13 when he was selected to play Tony’s son AJ (left) after working on commercials. He got into trouble with the law during filming, and has worked in TV seldom since (pictured right in January this year)
Robert had featured in commercial for Pizza Hut and bit-parts on SNL before he was cast as AJ aged just 13.
He appeared sporadically in other TV roles while the show was on air – including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – and just one since, also in Law & Order.
In 2001, Robert was arrested for armed robbery of two Brazilian tourists in the Upper East Side and possession of marijuana and was given three years’ probation.
Lorraine Bracco – Jennifer Melfi
Tony’s psychiatrist and outlet for his anxiety and deeply repressed emotions, Jennifer was both fascinated and repulsed by the mobster.
Advised by her colleagues, loved ones and her own better nature to part ways with Tony, she never-the-less commits to helping him through his troubles.
A star of Goodfellas, Bracco agreed to work on The Sopranos only if she could play Tony’s morally conflicted psychiatrist Jennifer Melfi (left). She has continued to appear in films and TV since (pictured right this year), and did some voice acting in Bojack Horseman
Bracco was a former model, the husband of Harvey Kietel, and starred in mobster mega-hit Goodfellas alongside Robert de Niro before landing her Sopranos role.
While creator David Chase wanted her to play Carmela, Bracco said she would only sign on if she was allowed to take the role of Dr Melfi.
She appeared extensively in other shows and films during The Sopranos’ run, including Riding In Cars With Boys and Law & Order: Trial by Jury.
Since the series wrapped, she has starred in TV movie Long Island Confidential, series I Married a Mobster and Blue Bloods, and as a voice actor in Bojack Horseman.
Michael Imperioli – Christopher Moltisanti
Tony’s distantly-related cousin, fellow mobster, and chosen protege – Christopher is driven by a desire for success and notoriety that sees him at odds with Tony’s ‘strong, silent type’ image and butting heads with his older ‘colleagues’.
His character is also a drug addict who his frequently abusive to his partner, and is ultimately whacked.
He scooped a Primetime Emmy for his portrayal in 2004.
Michael Imperioli was a veteran of Goodfellas before being cast as Christopher Moltisanti (left) in The Sopranos, and has continued his careers as an actor and screenwriter since (right in April this year)
An experienced actor before the series began – starring alongside Bracco in Goodfellas, along with appearances in Jungle Fever, Bad Boys and Malcolm X – he has appeared extensively in film and TV since.
Imperioli played Detective Ray Carling in the US adaptation of British cop show Life On Mars, and followed fellow Sopranos cast members into the Law & Order series, playing NYPD Detective Nick Falco.
He played Detective Louis Fitch in the ABC police drama Detroit 1-8-7 until it was cancelled, and in 208 his achieved character Christopher’s dream of writing a feature film, entitled The Hungry Ghosts.
Andrea Donna de Matteo – Adriana La Cerva
Christopher’s girlfriend-turned-wife, she is vain, obsessed with money and material goods, and desperate for fame.
Often a victim of violence at Christopher’s hand, she turns mole in the later series but refuses to give up the family’s deepest secrets.
Matteo won a Primetime Emmy award for the role in 2004, alongside Imperioli.
Shallow, materialistic, stupid and vain – Andrea Donna de Matteo (right) won a Primetime Emmy for her portrayal of Adriana la Cerva (left). She has continued acting since, and played Joey Tribbiani’s sister on Friends spin-off series Joey
She used her Sopranos fame to launch a silver screen career, including appearances in Swordfish, Assault on Precinct 13, Dark Places, and Sex, Death and Bowling.
Matteo has also appeared in numerous TV shows since The Sopranos ended, including as Joey Tribbiani’s sister Gina in Friends spin-off Joey.
She also starred in Sons of Anarchy, Desperate Housewives, CSI: Miami, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Dominic Chianese – Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano
Tony’s petulant, resentful, power-hungry uncle who conspires with his mother early on to have him whacked so he can assume control of the family.
Out-played at the game of power by Tony he is ultimately left frail and confused after suffering from dementia.
A good friend of Al Pacino, Dominic Chianese was an experienced film actor when he took the part of Corrado ‘Junior’ Soprano (left) in the series. He has continued acting since, including in Boardwalk Empire, and still finds work aged 88
Good friends with Al Pacino, Chianese was well-known before The Sopranos started having starred in The Godfather Part II, Dog Day Afternoon, …And Justice For All, and Looking for Richard.
Now 88 he continues to find work, including voice acting in Mr. Popper’s Penguins as well as TV appearances in Boardwalk Empire and The Good Wife.
He appeared this year in new NBC drama The Village, about a Brooklyn apartment block and the people who live in it.
Aida Turturro – Janice Soprano
Tony’s older, new-agey sister who fled her family’s troubles rather than stay and confront them, she returns to New Jersey and immerses herself in mob life.
Work-shy, manipulative and amoral, she has a love-hate relationship with Tony, born out of their shared childhood trauma.
Aida Turturro (right) appeared once as Tony’s selfish, manipulative sister Janice (left) in the first series of The Sopranos but was then brought back for a permanent role. She has appeared in Blue Bloods and Law & Order since then, along with many of her former colleagues
Following the series finale in 2007, Turturro has appeared sporadically in film and TV, following many Sopranos alumni into roles in Blue Bloods and Law & Order.
In 2012 she was reunited with Edie Flaco in an episode of Nurse Jackie, while also appearing in ER, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Brooklyn Nine Nine.
Tony Sirico – Paulie Gualtieri
One of Tony’s right-hand men, Paulie is as vicious as he is paranoid, often carrying out hits on his boss’s enemies and disloyal friends alike.
His loyalty to Tony – alongside his killing temperament – see him rise through the ranks to become underboss of the DiMeo crime family.
Sirico was born in Brooklyn and as a teenager he was part of a real-life street gang, and was once seen associating with Colombo family Caporegime Jimmy ‘Green Eyes’ Clemenza, along with fellow Sopranos actor Vincent Pastore.
A real-life gangster who spent parts of his youth in jail, Tony Sirico (right in 2016) agree to play paranoid mobster Paulie Gualtieri (left) on one condition – he never becomes a snitch
He served time in jail for robbery and felony arms possession before deciding to give acting a try after being visited by a troupe of reformed convicts behind bars.
He initially tried out for the role of Junior was was persuaded into taking on Paulie on one condition – the character would never become a snitch.
Following The Sopranos he has made sporadic appearances in TV and films, including Family Guy, American Dad!, and Lilyhammer.
Steve Van Zandt – Silvio Dante
Silvio is the calm, collected, and ever-stylish owner of the gang’s hangout spot and headquarters – a strip club called the Bada Bing!
Another of Tony’s trusted advisers, he is often selected to carry out high-level assassinations, including on Christopher’s girlfriend, Adriana.
Zandt was famous long before The Sopranos though for a profession other than acting. He was, and still is, a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band where he plays guitar and mandolin.
Bandanna-wearing Van Zandt (right) has since admitted that mobster Silvio’s luscious locks (left) were a hairpiece. He has a successful career as a musician and in 2014 was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as the guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with Springsteen, he also founded his own band – Little Steven and The Disciples of Soul – in the 1980s.
Zandt continued to pursue acting after Sopranos, starring in and co-writing Netflix series Lilyhammer, which also starred Tony Sirico.
He also appeared in Netflix’s The Christmas Chronicles in 2018.
Steve R Schirripa – Bobby Baccalieri
An unusual character within the mob world, Bobby Baccalieri was portrayed as lovable, kind-hearted, loyal to his wife, and caring of others.
A senior member of Junior’s crew, he ends up caring for his former boss when he suffers from cancer, and marries Tony’s sister Janice.
Bobby Baccalieri (left) played by Steve R Schirripa (right) was the rarest of things – a lovable mobster. He has continued to work in TV since the series, but has also written children’s books and launched his own range of vegan pasta sauce
Schirripa has appeared regularly in both film and TV since his role as Baccalieri ended, including on series Blue Bloods.
He has also diversified away from acting and writes books playing on his mob persona, as well as children’s stories.
Schirripa made a Nickelodeon film from his kid’s book Nicky Deuce and in 2014 launched his own range of vegan pasta sauces.