James gandolfini dead | Actor James Gandolfini has reportedly died of a suspected heart attack in Italy. The 51-year-old actor was best known for playing Tony Soprano on HBO's The Sopranos, a role than won him three Emmy Awards. More recently he appeared as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in Zero Dark Thirty. According to HBO reps, Gandolfini was on vacation in Italy when the suspected heart attack occurred. He had been set to star in a new series for HBO called Criminal Justice based on a 2008 BBC drama by the same name.