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Stars That Died

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Who is Edith Falco?

Who is Edith Falco? The acting world knows her as Edie Falco she is an American television, film and stage actress, known for her role in Oz as Diane Wittlesey and her lead roles as both Carmela Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos and the titular character on the Showtime series Nurse Jackie.

Falco was born July 5, 1963 in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Judith Anderson, an actress, and Frank Falco, a jazz drummer.[1] Her father is Italian American and her mother Swedish American.[2][3] Falco's siblings are Joseph, Paul and Ruth. Her uncle is novelist, playwright and poet Edward Falco, an English professor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. She was raised in Northport and West Islip,[4] on Long Island. She has an adopted son, Anderson Falco, and an adopted daughter, Macy Falco.

Falco graduated from Northport High School in 1981, after playing Eliza Doolittle in a production of My Fair Lady. She attended the Acting Program at SUNY Purchase with fellow actors Stanley Tucci and Ving Rhames; she remains friends with both.

Early in her career, Falco made guest appearances on television shows like Law & Order and Homicide: Life on the Street. Tom Fontana, executive director of Homicide, cast Falco as Eva Thormann, the wife of an injured police officer, after watching Falco's performance in Laws of Gravity, a 1992 film directed by Nick Gomez. Fontana said of her, "She's an actress who's unadorned by any embroidery. She does everything with such simplicity and honesty, it's breathtaking."[5] A struggling actress at the time, Falco said her salary from these television episodes paid for one month's worth of rent.[6] Fontana cast Falco as a regular character, prison officer Diane Wittlesey, in his HBO series Oz based on her work in the Homicide episodes "Son of a Gun" and "A Shot in the Dark".[7]

Her first big break in films was a small speaking role in the 1994 Woody Allen film Bullets Over Broadway.

Her friendship with former SUNY Purchase classmate Eric Mendelsohn, who was the assistant to Allen's costume designer, Jeffrey Kurland, helped her to be cast in the role. Mendelsohn would go on to direct Falco in his feature film Judy Berlin, for which he won "Best Director" honors at the Sundance Film Festival.

Falco, The X-Files star Gillian Anderson, Ugly Betty star America Ferrera, and 30 Rock's Tina Fey are the only actresses to have received a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a SAG Award in the same year. Falco won these awards in 2003 for her performance as Carmela during the fourth season of The Sopranos.

Edie has won three Emmys, two Golden Globes and five Screen Actors Guild Awards.[8]

Falco has appeared in the films Trust, Cop Land, Random Hearts, Freedomland, and John Sayles' Sunshine State, for which she received the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for "Best Supporting Actress". On Broadway, she appeared in the Tony Award-winning Side Man and in the revivals of Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune opposite Stanley Tucci, and 'night, Mother opposite Brenda Blethyn. She has also appeared as a guest star on the television shows 30 Rock and Will & Grace.

Edie stars as the title character in the Showtime dark comedy series Nurse Jackie, that premiered in June 2009.[9][10][11][12]

During the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Falco appeared in a 30-second television commercial on behalf of M.O.B. (Mothers Opposing Bush) in which she said "Mothers always put their children first. Mr. Bush, can you say the same?" referring to George W. Bush who was running for re-election.[13]

Records show that she donated $1,000 to John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign, $300 to the Democratic National Committee in 2004, and two separate sums of $1,000 and $300 to Hillary Clinton in 2005.[14] Coincidentally, Falco appears as a democratic congresswoman in 30 Rock.

Edie Falco has become the spokesperson for Health Care for America Now (HCAN) and appeared on CNN on June 25, 2009.[15]

Falco has said she had problems with alcohol and decided to become sober after "one particular night of debauchery." She said in an interview that it is hard to be around the hard-partying cast of The Sopranos; "This cast (of the Sopranos) in particular, they really love to hang out and party. They make it look like fun. And it was fun for me! They spend a lot more time without me than with me, by my own choice—I’m always invited, and I’m always there for two minutes and I leave, because I can’t live in that world anymore. It's too dangerous."[16]

In 2003, Falco was diagnosed with breast cancer, which she subsequently survived. She chose not to make the news public for approximately one year.[16]

Awards won

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Drama Series
  • 1999: The Sopranos (episode submitted: "College")
  • 2001: The Sopranos (episode submitted: "Second Opinion")
  • 2003: The Sopranos (episode submitted: "Whitecaps")
Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama
  • 1999: The Sopranos
  • 2002: The Sopranos
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
  • 1999: The Sopranos
  • 2002: The Sopranos
  • 2007: The Sopranos
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
  • 1999: The Sopranos
  • 2007: The Sopranos
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