Edie Falco

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Edith "Edie" Falco (/ˈdi ˈfælk/; born July 5, 1963) is an American television, film and stage actress, known for her roles as Diane Whittlesey in the HBO series Oz (1997–2000), as Carmela Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos (1999–2007), and as the titular character of the Showtime series Nurse Jackie (2009–present).


Early life and education

Falco was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Judith Anderson, an actress, and Frank Falco, a jazz drummer who later worked for an advertising agency.[1][2][3] Her father was of Italian descent and her mother's ancestry was Swedish and English.[4][5][6] 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.

From the age of four she was raised on Long Island, moving with her family to Hicksville, followed by North Babylon, then West Islip.[1][7] As a child she acted in plays at the Arena Players Repertory Theater in East Farmingdale, where her mother also performed.[1][2][8]

Her family eventually moved to Northport, where she attended high school and played Eliza Doolittle in a production of My Fair Lady during her senior year.[1][2] Falco graduated from Northport High School in 1981.[1][2] She attended the acting program at SUNY Purchase,[1][2] along with fellow actors Stanley Tucci and Ving Rhames.[9] She graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting.[10]


Early in her career, Falco made 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."[11] A struggling actress at the time, Falco said her salary from these television episodes paid for one month's worth of rent.[12] Fontana cast Falco as a regular character, prison officer Diane Whittlesey, in his HBO series Oz based on her work in the Homicide episodes "Son of a Gun" and "A Shot in the Dark".[13]

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 would go on to star in Mendelsohn's next film "3 Backyards", for which he won "Best Director" a second time. Mendelsohn is the only director to ever win this award twice.

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 Falco’s character Carmela Soprano is praised in Kristyn Gorton's essay "Why I Love Carmela Soprano" for challenging Italian-American gender roles.[14]

Edie has won four Emmys,[15] two Golden Globes and five Screen Actors Guild Awards.[16] Falco is the second actor to have won Emmys for lead acting in both a Drama and a Comedy series (the first actor to do so was Carroll O'Connor).

Falco has appeared in the films Trust, Reversal of Fortune, Cop Land, Private Parts (non-speaking part), 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, which premiered in June 2009.[17][18][19][20]

She recently played the part of Bananas in the Broadway revival of House of Blue Leaves in New York City with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Jason Leigh, for which she received her first and only Tony Award nomination.[21] It was announced in January that Falco would star in Liz Flahive's The Madrid Off-Broadway. The limited engagement, directed by Leigh Silverman, will begin performances February 5 with an official opening February 26. Along with Falco, the play will star John Ellison, Christopher Evan Welch, Phoebe Strole and Frances Sternhagen.[22]


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 the fact that George W. Bush's daughters have no military experience in contrast to his perceived warmongering policies.[23]

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.[24]

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

Personal life

In 2003, Falco was diagnosed with breast cancer. She chose not to make the news public until the following year.[26]

Falco has had struggles with alcohol and decided to become sober after "one particular night of debauchery". She said in an interview that it was hard to be around the hard-partying cast of The Sopranos; "This cast 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."[26] She is an advocate of Alcoholics Anonymous' 12-step program.[27]

Falco adopted a son, Anderson, in 2005 and a daughter, Macy, in 2008.[28]

In 2012, Falco was the subject of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?[29] which focused on her matrilineal descent from the daughter of a Cornish master mariner, from Penzance, who was born at sea and died in 1840.[30][31]

In 2013, Falco teamed up with PETA in a public-service message urging parents to keep their children away from the circus.[32]



Year Film Role Notes
1987 Sweet Lorraine Karen Credited as Edith Falco
1989 The Unbelievable Truth Jane – The Waitress
1989 Sidewalk Stories Woman in Carriage
1990 Trust Peg Coughlin
1991 I Was on Mars Female Cab Driver
1992 Laws of Gravity Denise Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
1992 Time Expired Ginny Short film
1993 Rift Film Director
1994 Bullets Over Broadway Lorna
1995 The Addiction Jean
1995 Backfire! Mom
1996 Layin' Low Angie
1996 The Funeral Union Speaker
1996 Breathing Room Marcy
1996 Childhood's End Patty
1997 Hurricane Joanne
1997 Private Parts Alison's Friend Uncredited
1997 Cop Land Berta (Bomb Squad Agent)
1997 Trouble on the Corner Vivian Stewart
1997 Cost of Living Billie AFI Fest Award for Best Actress
1998 Blind Light Diana DiBianco
1998 A Price Above Rubies Feiga
1999 Judy Berlin Judy Berlin
1999 Stringer TV Producer
1999 Random Hearts Janice
2000 Death of a Dog Mom
2000 Overnight Sensation Festival Coordinator
2002 Sunshine State Marly Temple Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
Nominated—Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress (3rd place)
Nominated—Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
2004 Family of the Year
2005 The Girl from Monday Judge
2005 The Great New Wonderful Safarah Polsky Segment: Emme's Story
2005 The Quiet Olivia Deer
2006 Freedomland Karen Colluci
2010 3 Backyards Peggy
2013 Gods Behaving Badly Artemis Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1996 The Sunshine Boys TV Movie
1993–1997 Homicide: Life on the Street Eva Thromann Recurring Role
5 Episodes
1993–1998 Law & Order Sally Bell Recurring Role
4 Episodes
1995–1997 New York Undercover Sgt. Kelly Recurring Role
3 Episodes
1997–2000 Oz Diane Whittlesey Recurring Role
23 Episodes
1999–2007 The Sopranos Carmela Soprano Main Role
85 Episodes
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (1999, 2001, 2003)
AFI Award – Actor of the Year – Female – TV Series (2002)
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (2000, 2003)
Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (2002)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (1999, 2002, 2007)
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (1999, 2007)
TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama (2003)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (2001–2002, 2005, 2007–2008)
Nominated—Golden Nymph Award for Outstanding Actress – Drama Series (2008)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series (2000, 2004, 2007)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (2000–2001)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series (2000–2001, 2004, 2006)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series (2000–2002, 2004, 2006)
Nominated—TCA Award for Individual Achievement in Drama (2001, 2004)
Nominated—Viewers for Quality Television Award for Best Actress in a Quality Drama Series (2000)
2000 The Sight Ghost TV Movie
2001 Jenifer Wheelchair Saleswoman TV Movie
2004 Will & Grace Deirdre Episode: "East Side Story"
2007–2008 30 Rock Celeste "C.C." Cunningham Recurring Role
4 Episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
2009–present Nurse Jackie Jackie Peyton Main Role
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (2010)
Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (2010–2011, 2014-2015)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (2011–2014)
Nominated—Prism Award for Female Performance in a Drama Series Multi-Episode Storyline (2010, 2012)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama (2009)
Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy (2010)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series (2010–2014)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2013)


Year Title Role Notes
1998–1999 Side Man Terry Original play
Jun 25, 1998 – Oct 31, 1999
Theatre World Award
Nominated – Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play
2002–2003 Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Frankie Original play
Aug 8, 2002 – Mar 9, 2003
2004–2005 'night, Mother Jessie Cates Revival play
Nov 14, 2004 – Jan 9, 2005
2010 This Wide Night Lorraine Peter Jay Sharp Theater
2011 The House of Blue Leaves Bananas Shaughnessy Revival play
Apr 25, 2011 – Jun 25, 2011
Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Play
Nominated—Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play

Awards and nominations



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Jacobson, Aileen (April 26, 2011). "Edie Falco: Climbing Trees and Following Leads". Long Island Pulse.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Raymond, Chris (July 16, 2012). "Edie Falco's Life Lessons".
  3. "Edie Falco Biography (1964–)". Film Reference. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  4. Priggé, Steven. "Edie Falco". Steven Priggé. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  5. Foreman, Jonathan (July 13, 2002). "Mob happy". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  6. Stated on Who Do You Think You Are?, April 6, 2012.
  7. Green, Jesse (November 7, 2004). "Edie Falco, Unmarried to the Mob". The New York Times. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  8. Jacobson, Aileen (October 14, 2011). "A Final Curtain, but More Opening Ones Are Ahead". The New York Times.
  9. Alston, Shaniese (October 22, 2013). "8 SUNY Alumni You Can See On The Screen".
  10. "Media & Entertainment Award Winners". Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  11. Fretts, Bruce (January 15, 1999). "The Courtship of Edie Falco; The much sought-after star of Oz and Sopranos". Entertainment Weekly: p. 48.
  12. Koltnow, Barry (June 21, 2002). "Edie Falco follows unlikely path to stardom and her latest movie". The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, California).
  13. Morris, Mark (September 24, 2000). "Shooting star". The Observer. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  14. [1] (registration required)
  15. "Edie Falco". Emmys. Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  16. Edie Falco – Awards
  17. "Nurse Jackie: Official Site". Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  18. Starr, Michael (June 30, 2008). "Nurse Edie: First Look at Sopranos Star's Dark, New Hospital Comedy". New York Post. Retrieved March 8, 2009.
  19. Krukowski, Andrew (July 18, 2008). "Showtime Orders Nurse Jackie, Grows Weeds". Retrieved March 8, 2009.
  20. "Cable Networks Draw Big Names For New 2009 Series". December 22, 2008. Retrieved March 8, 2009.
  21. "2011 Tony Nominations Announced! THE BOOK OF MORMON Leads With 14!". Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  22. "Edie Falco Heads Off-Broadway with 'The Madrid'". Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  23. "Groups Want Piece of Campaign Ad Buy Pie". Fox News. September 10, 2004.,2933,132002,00.html.
  24. NEWSMEAT ▷ Edie Falco's Federal Campaign Contribution Report
  25. Edie Falco on CNN, June 25, 2009
  26. 26.0 26.1 Nussbaum, Emily (April 1, 2007). "The Loneliest Soprano". New York Magazine. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  27. "Edie Falco: Sobriety Helped Battle Cancer". Parade Magazine. March 24, 2009.
  28. {{#invoke:Citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=journal }}
  29. Goldberg, Lesley (January 6, 2012). "Martin Sheen, Reba McEntire, Rob Lowe Among 'Who Do You Think You Are?' Season 3 Cast". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  30. Eastman, Dick (April 8, 2012). "Last Friday's Who Do You Think You Are? with Edie Falco". Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  31. "tracingthetree". Edie Falco, Who Do You Think You Are?. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  32. "Edie Falco Circus Boycott: Actress Teams With PETA Over Alleged Elephant Abuse (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. March 19, 2013.

External links

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