The Sopranos celebrates its 20th birthday in 2019, as it premiered on HBO on 10 January, 1999, and David Chase’s crime drama remains the high watermark for modern box-set television. Epic in scope, nail-bitingly tense and utterly gripping from start to finish, the show was not only blessed with great storylines and countless unforgettable moments, but also a whole range of incredible acting performances.
At its centre, of course, was the late James Gandolfini. As Tony Soprano, the conflicted mobster torn between his two families, Gandolfini delivered one of the all-time great acting performances. Psychologically troubled and capable of veering from affable to fearsome in the blink of an eye, it was a truly a joy to watch the character develop. Around Gandolfini though there were also a cast of top drawer actors all of whom added a special something to the show’s dynamic.
Since The Sopranos finally cut to black over a decade ago, the cast have all moved on to pastures new, to notably varying degrees of success.
Here is a quick guide as to what the acting talent behind our favourite The Sopranos characters have done since the show’s finale.
James Gandolfini – Tony Soprano
Sadly James Gandolfini passed away in 2013, but he left behind an impressive body of work. A phenomenal screen presence, he was the brooding centre around which The Sopranos was built. After the show ended his most notable appearances came on the big screen with memorable roles in In The Loop, Killing Them Softly, and Enough Said.
His final film appearance meanwhile came in the excellent crime drama The Drop alongside Tom Hardy. In terms of further TV work, Gandolfini’s credits were few and far between post The Sopranos, with his final role coming in the unaired pilot of The Night Of in the role that ultimately went to John Turturro.
Fun fact: John Turturro is the cousin of Aida Turturro who played Tony Soprano’s sister Janice in the show.
Edie Falco – Carmela Soprano
Falco’s work as Carmela, the conflicted matriarch of the Soprano clan, was powerful, intense and occasionally devastating. Episodes like ‘Whitecaps’ allowed her to fully showcase her incredible abilities as she and Gandolfini delivered an acting masterclass.
Since the show ended, Falco has appeared in several movies with the most recent being Landline and Megan Leavey, both of which were released in 2017. It’s in her TV work where Falco has truly excelled though with her most notable credit coming as the lead in Showtime’s comedy-drama Nurse Jackie. Running for seven seasons, the role also earned Falco a fourth lead-actress Emmy award. So far in her career, Falco has amassed an impressive total of not just four Emmys but also five Screen Actors Guild awards and two Golden Globes. She recently appeared in Louis CK’s web series Horace and Pete and is currently starring in the latest Law & Order vehicle, True Crime. In 2018 she starred alongside Ben Mendelsohn in Netflix’s superb The Land of Steady Habits, written and directed by Nicole Holofcener.
Robert Iler – Anthony Soprano
Since playing the youngest Soprano, Anthony Junior, Iler has shied away from the limelight somewhat and has kept a relatively low profile. In fact, his only acting credit since the show ended came in the form of a solitary episode of Law and Order in 2009.
Iler has instead been carving out a very different career for himself as a professional poker player in Las Vegas, which has also included taking part in the illustrious World Series of Poker.
Jamie-Lynn Sigler – Meadow Soprano
The role of Meadow Soprano was Sigler’s first ever foray into the world of acting. As with Iler, the young actress grew up on the show, maturing from a bratty teen into a headstrong young woman who played a crucial part in the tensest car-parking scene of all time. After a brief but unsuccessful foray into the world of pop music, she has gained a smattering of movie roles but experienced greater success in the world of TV.
Sigler appeared as herself in Entourage and landed recurring roles in both Guys With Kids and Ugly Betty. In recent years though her work has slowed somewhat, due to an ongoing battle with multiple sclerosis that the actress recently revealed she has suffered from since the age of 20. Sigler starred in three movies in 2017: Justice, Gangster Land, and Mommy, I Didn’t Do It. In 2018 she made a guest appearance in the Magnum PI reboot.
Lorraine Bracco – Dr Jennifer Melfi
Already a household name thanks to her turn as Karen Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, Bracco originally auditioned for the role of Carmela Soprano but having played one mobster’s wife already, the role of psychiatrist Dr. Jennifer Melfi proved far more appealing. Her performance on the show was hugely important, offering a grounded and calming counterpoint to Tony’s thinly-veiled rage.
Since The Sopranos ended, Bracco’s main credit was a major role on the TNT show Rizzoli and Isles which lasted from 2010 through to 2016. Bracco has also appeared in the Showtime comedy series Dice for several episodes and voiced the character of Dr Janet in Netflix’s Bojack Horseman. Most recently though she landed a recurring role on crime drama Blue Bloods as Mayor Margaret Dutton. Bracco has also penned a book chronicling her own health drive and weight loss to considerable acclaim.
Michael Imperioli – Christopher Moltisanti
In stark contrast to the troubled and drug-addled Chris Moltisanti, Michael Imperioli is a jazz fanatic who has also founded a Buddhist church in New York. Since leaving the role of Chris behind, Michael has carved out a successful TV career that has included the American remake of Life On Mars, Californication, Lucifer, and Mad Dogs. His big screen credits have not been quite so successful however, with the critically panned Oldboy Hollywood remake perhaps the most well known of his outings.
Imperioli recently featured in the Golden Globe-nominated Escape at Dannemora, a TV mini-series based on a real life prison escape from Clinton correctional facility, directed by Ben Stiller, alongside Benicio Del Toro and Patricia Arquette among others.
Dominic Chianese – Corrado “Junior” Soprano
87-years-old and still going strong, Chianese had already clocked up a pretty impressive CV before starring as Tony’s Uncle, Junior Soprano, including a memorable performance as Johnny Ola in The Godfather Part II.
The veteran actor has clocked up several big TV roles since The Sopranos ended including appearing on Boardwalk Empire as retired Alderman Leander Whitlock, as well as small parts in Damages and The Good Wife. Chianese is also an accomplished musician and tenor who has released several albums and is still regularly performing live.
Steve Van Zandt – Silvio Dante
Van Zandt had no acting experience whatsoever when he landed the role of Sil in The Sopranos. He’s instead better known as being the guitarist in Bruce Springsteen’s legendary E-Street Band. Luckily for him though, David Chase is a huge Bruce fan and not only cast him as Tony’s loyal consigliere but also let him arrange his filming schedule around the band’s tour dates.
Post The Sopranos, Van Zandt famously co-wrote and starred in the acclaimed crime comedy-drama Lilyhammer, and was most recently seen as Wolfie in Netflix’s festive Kurt Russell adventure The Christmas Chronicles.
Tony Sirico – Paulie Gualtieri
Sirico is a legitimate tough guy with numerous arrests to his name and several spells behind bars in his youth. A career change beckoned after he saw an acting group made up of ex-convicts while serving time in prison.
Since appearing as crew enforcer Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri, Sirico has clocked up small roles in Lilyhammer, Chuck, and Medium amongst other shows. Sirico also lent his distinctive tones to Seth Macfarlane’s Family Guy as the voice of the family’s temporary Brian replacement, Vinny. Most recently though he appeared in a couple of Woody Allen movies, first Cafe Society in 2016 and then Wonder Wheel in 2017.
Drea de Matteo – Adriana La Cerva
Drea de Matteo’s Adriana can lay claim to one of the most memorable exits on the show after that incredibly tense car ride into the country with Sil. As The Sopranos drew to a close, she took the role of Joey’s sister Gina in the short-lived Friends spin-off, Joey.
Since then her two most notable TV roles came in Sons Of Anarchy where she played Jax’s ex-wife Wendy, and Desperate Housewives where she joined the main cast in season 6. Lots of one-off appearances on shows ranging from The Mindy Project and Agents of SHIELD followed and presently de Matteo is a regular on NBC’s crime procedural, Shades of Blue.
Steve Schirripa – Bobby Baccalieri
Schirripa has amassed plenty of TV work since The Sopranos came to a close, including stints on The Secret Life of the American Teenager and Blue Bloods. Aside from acting though, Schirripa has also had great success as author, writing a series of books which started with the brilliantly titled A Goomba’s Guide to Life. He also co-wrote two books about a teenager called Nicky Deuce who moves from his safe suburban home to his grandparents’ neighbourhood in Brooklyn. The latter series proved so popular they were made into a TV movie featuring a number of Sopranos alumni, including James Gandolfini, Michael Imperioli, and Tony Sirico.
Schirripa can be seen alongside Paulie ‘Walnuts’ actor Tony Sirico in Woody Allen’s Wonder Wheel.
Dan Grimaldi – Patsy Parisi
Other than a seemingly customary brief turn in Blue Bloods, Grimaldi ‘s acting work has been minimal since The Sopranos came to a close. However, the actor has still been keeping busy in the rather contrasting field of academia.
Holding a BA in mathematics, a Masters in operations and a PhD in Data Processing, Grimaldi now teaches in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn.
Federico Castelluccio – Furio
Castelluccio has gained the odd acting credit here and there since The Sopranos came to a close, including a small part in the excellent 2006 movie A Guide to Recognising Your Saints. He’s also turned his hand to directing with a stint behind the camera on the 2016 movie The Brooklyn Banker.
However Castelluccio is another cast member who has found a career outside of acting to be far more fruitful. Himself a successful artist and “realist” painter, he’s also something of an avid collector. In 2010, the actor unearthed a seemingly forgotten masterpiece at a gallery which he bought for £43,000 and then resold for a reported £6.2million at auction!