Edie Falco has been a working actor for decades, and though she’s best known for playing Carmela Soprano, the morally conflicted wife of a mob boss, in HBO’s landmark drama series The Sopranos, her career since has covered a lot more ground—and earned her even greater critical praise. In fact, years after that show ended, she won an Emmy and a Golden Globe and was nominated for a Tony Award, all in the same year.
Keep reading to find out where the actor’s career has taken her in recent years and what she’s doing now at age 58.
READ THIS NEXT: A.J. From The Sopranos Quit Acting & Has a Totally Different Job Now.
Born on Long Island to parents who were both involved in the arts (her father was a jazz drummer and her mother, an actor), Falco studied acting in college and later moved to New York City to begin her career. She appeared in films including The Unbelievable Truth and Bullets Over Broadway and on TV shows including the soap opera Loving, Law & Order, and Homicide before landing a recurring role on the HBO prison drama Oz, doing 23 episodes between 1997 and 2000.
It was during that time that creator David Chase cast her as Carmela Soprano, partner and sometimes foil to James Gandolfini’s troubled mob boss, Tony Soprano. “She was just so good,” Chase said, as quoted in the book The Soprano Sessions. “There couldn’t have been anybody else.”
After The Sopranos ended in 2007, Falco guest starred on 30 Rock and Will & Grace before taking on her next career-defining role: New York City E.R. nurse Jackie Peyton on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie. The show lasted six seasons and earned the star numerous accolades, including, in 2011, an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Best Actress.
Since Nurse Jackie ended in 2015, Falco has appeared in the Law & Order spinoff True Crime, which focused on the Menendez murders; and the CBS crime drama Tommy, which premiered in 2020 and lasted one season.
Though best known for her work on television, Falco is a busy film actor too. After leaving The Sopranos, she appeared in the award-winning independent film 3 Backyards, the satire Gods Behaving Badly, the dark comedy The Comedian with Robert De Niro, and the 2018 Netflix film The Land of Steady Habits.
Falco admits she prefers acting on television to appearing in films. “There are definitely advantages from an acting standpoint about playing the same character over and over again,” she told Salon in 2020. “You don’t have to rediscover her every week. The challenges are really fun but you have a boundary in which to play.”
Falco has become a regular stage actor, appearing in a number of acclaimed Broadway and Off-Broadway productions since making her stage debut in 1998’s Tony-winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist play Side Man.
Her theater work includes the plays Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, ‘night Mother, and the 2011 revival of The House of Blue Leaves, for which she was nominated for a Tony Award.
Falco has never married but she’s mother to two children: a son, adopted in 2005, and a daughter, adopted in 2008. She decided to become a parent after being diagnosed with—and beating—cancer in the early 2000s. “I never really thought I’d have kids,” she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2020. “Then the cancer thing kicked in. Once I realized I wasn’t going to die, it was like a light going on. I knew I wanted to be a mother.”
Falco is a vegan and has spent time volunteering for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). “Let’s teach our children to respect and show compassion for all beings—both human and animal,” she says in a video from the organization encouraging parents not to take their children to circuses that use live animals.
For more celebrity updates sent right to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Falco recently went back to her most iconic role, filming scenes as Carmela for the 2021’s The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to The Sopranos focused on Tony coming of age and becoming involved in the family business. However, her appearance was ultimately deleted when the film’s flashback structure was retooled.
Falco’s next role will take her a long way from New Jersey. She will appear as a general in two sequels to James Cameron’s sci-fi blockbuster Avatar, including Avatar: The Way of Water, out in December 2022.
READ THIS NEXT: She Played Corky on Murphy Brown. See Faith Ford Now at 57.