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Edith "Edie" Falco ( /ˈiːdi ˈfælkoʊ/; born July 5, 1963) is an American television, film and stage actress, known for her role in Oz as Diane Wittlesey and her roles as both Carmela Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos and the titular character on the Showtime series Nurse Jackie. She is the first actress to win an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy as well as Outstanding Actress in a Drama.

Early life

Falco was born in Brooklyn, New York, the daughter of Judith Anderson, an actress, and Frank Falco, a jazz drummer. Her father is Italian American and her mother Swedish American. 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, on Long Island. 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.

Career

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." A struggling actress at the time, Falco said her salary from these television episodes paid for one month's worth of rent. 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".

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 has won four Emmys, two Golden Globes and five Screen Actors Guild Awards. 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, 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.

She is currently playing 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.

Politics

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.

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. Coincidentally, Falco appears as a Democratic Congresswoman and friend of Hillary Clinton in 30 Rock.

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

Personal life

Falco has an adopted son, Anderson Falco, and an adopted daughter, Macy Falco. Of her adopted children Anderson and Macy, she says, “I’m just not one of those people who thought having biological children was that important...To me it was more about wanting to raise a child."

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

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." She is an advocate of Alcoholics Anonymous's 12-step program.

Awards and recognition

Awards won

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Comedy Series

2010: Nurse Jackie (episode submitted: "Pilot")

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

Award nominations

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Comedy Series

2011: Nurse Jackie (episode submitted: Unknown)

Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play

2011: The House of Blue Leaves

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Drama Series

2000: The Sopranos (episode submitted: "Full Leather Jacket")

2004: The Sopranos (episode submitted: "All Happy Families...")

2007: The Sopranos (episode submitted: "The Second Coming")

Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress - Comedy Series

2008: 30 Rock (episode submitted: "Episode 210")

Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Drama

2000: The Sopranos

2001: The Sopranos

2004: The Sopranos

2006: The Sopranos

2007: The Sopranos

Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series - Musical or Comedy

2009: Nurse Jackie

2010: Nurse Jackie

Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

2000: The Sopranos

2001: The Sopranos

2004: The Sopranos

2006: The Sopranos

Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

2000: The Sopranos

2001: The Sopranos

2002: The Sopranos

2004: The Sopranos

2006: The Sopranos

Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series

2009: Nurse Jackie

2010: Nurse Jackie

Filmography

Nurse Jackie

3 Backyards

30 Rock

Celeste Cunningham

The Sopranos

Freedomland

The Quiet

The Great New Wonderful

The Girl from Monday

Will & Grace

Family of the Year

Fargo

Sunshine State

Jenifer

The Sight (uncredited)

Oz

Death of a Dog

Random Hearts

Judy Berlin

Law & Order

A Price Above Rubies

Blind Light

Firehouse

Cost of Living

Trouble on the Corner

Cop Land

New York Undercover

Homicide: Life on the Street

Childhood's End

Private Parts (uncredited)

Hurricane

Breathing Room

The Funeral

Layin' Low

Backfire!

The Addiction

The Sunshine Boys

Bullets Over Broadway

Time Expired (short)

I Was on Mars

Laws of Gravity

Trust

Sidewalk Stories

The Unbelievable Truth

Sweet Lorraine

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