Edie Falco
Falco in 2010
Born
Edith Falco

(1963-07-05) July 5, 1963 (age 61)
New York City, U.S.
EducationState University of New York at Purchase (BFA)
OccupationActress
Years active1987–present
Children2
RelativesEdward Falco (uncle)
AwardsFull list

Edith Falco (born July 5, 1963) is an American actress. Known for her roles on stage and screen she has received numerous accolades including four Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards as well as nomination for a Tony Award.

Falco received three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as mob wife Carmela Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos (1999–2007), and a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for playing the title role in the Showtime series Nurse Jackie (2009–2015). She was Emmy-nominated for her roles as C.C. Cunningham in 30 Rock (2008) and Leslie Abramson in Law & Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders (2018). She also has acted in NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street (1993–1997), the HBO prison drama Oz (1997–2000), the web series Horace and Pete (2016), and the FX series Impeachment: American Crime Story (2021).

On film, she made her film debut in the drama Sweet Lorraine (1987). Her film work includes lead roles in Laws of Gravity (1992), for which she was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead and Judy Berlin (1999), and supporting roles in films including Bullets over Broadway (1994), Sunshine State (2002), Freedomland (2006), The Comedian (2016), and Avatar: The Way of Water (2022).

She made her Broadway debut in the Warren Leight play Side Man (1999). For her role as Bananas Shaughnessy in the Broadway revival of the John Guare play The House of Blue Leaves (2011) she received a nomination for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. She has acted in the Broadway revivals of the plays Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (2002), and 'night, Mother (2004).

Early life and education

Falco was born in the New York City borough of Brooklyn on July 5, 1963, the daughter of Judith Anderson, an actress, and Frank Falco, a jazz drummer who later worked for an advertising agency.[1][2] Her father was of Italian descent and her mother had Swedish, English and Cornish (1/16th) ancestry.[3][4][5] She has two brothers, Joseph and Paul, and a sister, Ruth. Her uncle is novelist, playwright, and poet Edward Falco. In 2012, Falco was the subject of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? which focused on one of her ancestors, a Cornish master mariner from Penzance who was born at sea and died in 1840.[6][7][8]

From the age of four, Falco was raised on Long Island, moving with her family to Hicksville, then North Babylon, and finally West Islip.[1][9] As a child, she acted in plays at the Arena Players Repertory Theater in East Farmingdale, where her mother also performed.[1][2][10] 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 State University of New York at Purchase,[1][2][11] and graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting.[12]

Career

1987–1999: Early work and rise to prominence

Early in her career, Falco made appearances on television shows like Law & Order and Homicide: Life on the Street. Tom Fontana, executive producer 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."[13] A struggling actress at the time, Falco said her salary from these television episodes paid for one month's worth of rent.[14] She debuted on the big screen in 1987's Sweet Lorraine starring Maureen Stapleton.[15]

Later, she had a small speaking role in the Woody Allen comedy film Bullets over Broadway (1994). 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 went on to direct Falco in his feature film Judy Berlin, for which he won Best Director honors at the Sundance Film Festival. Falco went on to star in Mendelsohn's next film 3 Backyards, for which he won Best Director a second time.[16]

During this time, Falco appeared in the films Trust, Cop Land, Private Parts (nonspeaking part), and Random Hearts. 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.[17] In 1997, Falco started portraying prison officer Diane Whittlesey, in the HBO prison drama series Oz. Falco got the role after working with Fontana on Homicide.[18]

1999–2007: The Sopranos and acclaim

Falco at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival

Falco received her breakout role in the HBO drama The Sopranos created by David Chase, which premiered in 1999 and ended in 2007. She portrayed Carmela Soprano, wife of Mafia boss Tony Soprano played by James Gandolfini. The series received wide acclaim, and is often considered to be one of the greatest television series of all time.[19][20][21][22] For her performance on the series, Falco won numerous awards including three Primetime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series for the episodes "College" (1999), "Second Opinion" (2001), and "Whitecaps" (2003).[23] She also earned two Golden Globe Awards for Best Actress – Television Series Drama and five Screen Actors Guild Awards.[24]

As of 2008, Falco, The X-Files star Gillian Anderson, Ugly Betty star America Ferrera, and 30 Rock's Tina Fey were 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 Soprano during the fourth season of The Sopranos. In the show's final season Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times wrote, "The series has always distinguished itself by the quality of its actors, but this season Ms. Falco depicts even more deeply than before, if that's possible, the full range of a mother and wife's anguish."[25]

During her tenure on The Sopranos, Falco appeared in films such as Freedomland and John Sayles' Sunshine State, for which she received the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress.[26] Falco also guest starred on the television series Will & Grace[27] and had a recurring role as C.C. Cunningham on the second season of the NBC sitcom 30 Rock as Celeste Cunningham, the later of which earned her a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series.

2008–2016: Nurse Jackie and return to Broadway

Falco at the Drama League Benefit Gala in 2010

Falco starred as the title character, Nurse Jackie Peyton in the Showtime dark comedy series Nurse Jackie, which premiered on June 8, 2009, and ended on June 28, 2015. For the first season, she won her fourth Primetime Emmy Award, this time for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series she also received nominations for four Golden Globe Awards and eight Screen Actors Guild Awards.[28][29][30] Alessandra Stanley of The New York Times wrote, "It's the compelling, enigmatic heroine who holds the errant pieces together. Jackie is not Carmela, but Ms. Falco brings some of Carmela’s prosaic manner and harsh certainty to the new role. Jackie has a very dry and mitigating sense of humor, but her righteous streak steers the story."[31]

Falco returned to Broadway portraying the part of Bananas in the revival of the John Guare play The House of Blue Leaves (2011) in New York City at the Walter Kerr Theatre with Ben Stiller and Jennifer Jason Leigh.[32] For her performance she received a nomination for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.[33] Theatre critic Ben Brantley of The New York Times wrote in his review for the show, that "Ms. Falco endows the anguished Bananas with such unvarnished emotional transparency — and clinical exactness — that it hurts to look at her."[34] Marilyn Stasio of Variety wrote, "Falco is kind of [a] genius...What floors us is Falco’s ability to play both comedy and tragedy in the same breath".[35]

It was announced in January 2013 that Falco would star in Liz Flahive's The Madrid off-Broadway. The limited engagement, directed by Leigh Silverman, began previews on February 5 with an official opening on February 26. Along with Falco, the play starred John Ellison, Christopher Evan Welch, Phoebe Strole, and Frances Sternhagen.[36] In 2016, Falco started portraying Sylvia Wittel on the Louis C.K. series Horace and Pete acting alongside C.K., Steve Buscemi, Alan Alda and Laurie Metcalf. The first episode was released on January 30, 2016, on C.K.'s website without any prior announcements.[37] New episodes premiered weekly until the tenth episode was released on April 2, 2016.[38] In the series Falco portrayed Horace and Sylvia's abused mother. James Poniewozik of The New York Times noted "Louis C. K. is reportedly submitting “Horace and Pete” for the Emmys as a drama. If it gets a nomination — Mr. Alda, Mr. Buscemi, Ms. Falco and Ms. Metcalf would all be strong picks".[39]

2017–present

In September 2017, she began portraying Leslie Abramson in the first season of the NBC true crime anthology series Law & Order True Crime, subtitled The Menendez Murders.[40] The role earned her a nomination for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards.[41] That same year she reunited with Louis C.K. for his film I Love You, Daddy (2017) starring C.K., Chloë Grace Moretz, Charlie Day, Rose Byrne, and John Malkovich. The film premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival. In the film Falco plays C.K.'s long-suffering production manager.[42] The film's release was cancelled after misconduct allegations against C.K. were released by The New York Times.[43] Falco stated of the films cancellation, "I was sad. I know that he worked very hard on it. He makes his own stuff and puts it out, and I love that chutzpah" she also added that C.K. deserves a second chance after owning up to his inappropriate behavior.[44]

In 2020, she appeared as the lead character in the Paul Attanasio CBS police drama Tommy. Falco originally reprised her breakout role as Carmela Soprano for the 2021 film The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to The Sopranos. However, her scenes were cut from the finished film.[45] Falco also starred in the FX true crime series Impeachment: American Crime Story (2021) portraying Hillary Rodham Clinton opposite Clive Owen's Bill Clinton and Beanie Feldstein's Monica Lewinsky. Ines Bellina of A.V. Club wrote, "Falco expertly guides us through a whole smorgasbord of human emotions. From rage to heartache to regret to shame to longing to pride to a pure, pure ache, we ride that emotional roller coaster firmly by her side".[46] In 2023 she played Amy Davidson, a fictional version of Pete Davidson's mother, in his semi-autobiographical series, Bupkis on Peacock. It was announced in May 2024 that the series had ended after its first season.[47]

Personal life

Marriage and relationships

In 2002 Stanley Tucci left his family for Falco, with whom he was appearing on Broadway in Terrence McNally’s Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, but the affair ended, and he returned to his wife and children.[48] She adopted a son in 2005 and a daughter in 2008.[49] Falco is a Buddhist.[50][51]

Activism

She is a vegan and has worked with PETA on projects, including a public-service message urging parents to keep their children away from the circus.[52] She told Parade magazine, "I believe this is at the base of everything bad in society—you can bring it back to cruelty to animals. If you don't have respect for the life of any kind, it will manifest in more obvious ways."[53]

During the 2004 U.S. presidential election, Falco appeared in a 30-second television commercial on behalf of Mothers Opposing Bush in which she said, "Mothers always put their children first. Mr. Bush, can you say the same?" [54] Falco has become the spokesperson for Health Care for America Now and appeared on CNN on June 25, 2009.[55]

Health issues

Falco has struggled with alcoholism and decided to become sober in the early 1990s after "one particular night of debauchery". She said in an interview that it was difficult to be around the hard-partying cast of The Sopranos, stating, "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."[56] She is an advocate of Alcoholics Anonymous' 12-step program.[57]

In 2003, Falco was diagnosed with breast cancer. She chose not to make the news public until the following year.[56]

Filmography

Key
Denotes works that have not yet been released

Film

Year Film Role Notes
1987 Sweet Lorraine[58] Karen Credited as Edith Falco
1989 The Unbelievable Truth Jane – The Waitress
Sidewalk Stories Woman in Carriage
1990 Trust Peg Coughlin
1991 I Was on Mars Female Cab Driver
1992 Laws of Gravity Denise
Time Expired Ginny Short film
1993 Rift Film Director
1994 Bullets over Broadway Lorna
1995 The Addiction Jean
Backfire! Mom
1996 Layin' Low Angie
The Funeral Union Speaker
Breathing Room Marcy
Childhood's End Patty
1997 Hurricane Streets Joanna
Private Parts Alison's Friend Uncredited
Cop Land Berta (Bomb Squad Agent)
Trouble on the Corner Vivian Stewart
Cost of Living Billie
1998 Blind Light Diana DiBianco
A Price Above Rubies Feiga
1999 Judy Berlin Judy Berlin
Stringer TV Producer
Random Hearts Janice
2000 Death of a Dog Mom
Overnight Sensation Festival Coordinator
2002 Sunshine State Marly Temple
2004 Family of the Year
2005 The Girl from Monday Judge
The Great New Wonderful Safarah Polsky Segment: "Emme's Story"
The Quiet Olivia Deer
2006 Freedomland Karen Colluci
2010 3 Backyards Peggy
2013 Gods Behaving Badly Artemis
2016 The Comedian Miller
2017 Landline Pat Jacobs
Megan Leavey Jackie Leavey
Outside In Carol Beasley
I Love You, Daddy Paula
2018 Every Act of Life Herself Documentary
Viper Club Charlotte
The Land of Steady Habits Helene Harris
2022 Avatar: The Way of Water General Frances Ardmore
2023 Fool's Paradise The Agent
The Mother Eleanor Williams
I'll Be Right There Wanda
2025 Avatar 3 General Frances Ardmore Post-production
TBA The Parenting Post-production

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1993–1995 Loving Nurse Becker Recurring role, 14 episodes
1993–1997 Homicide: Life on the Street Eva Thormann Recurring role, 5 episodes
1993–1998 Law & Order Sally Bell 4 episodes
1995–1997 New York Undercover Sgt. Kelly 3 episodes
1996 The Sunshine Boys Carol Television film
1997 Firehouse Kate Wilkinson Television film
1997–2000 Oz Diane Whittlesey Recurring role, 23 episodes
1999–2007 The Sopranos Carmela Soprano Main role, 85 episodes
2000 The Sight Ghost Television film, uncredited
2001 Jenifer Wheelchair Saleswoman Teleivison film
2004 Will & Grace Deirdre 1 episode
2007–2008 30 Rock Celeste "C. C." Cunningham Recurring role, 4 episodes
2009–2015 Nurse Jackie Jackie Peyton Main role, 80 episodes
2016 Horace and Pete Sylvia Main role, 8 episodes
2017 Law & Order True Crime Leslie Abramson Main role, 8 episodes
2018 Animals. Psycho (voice) 1 episode
2020 Tommy Abigail "Tommy" Thomas Main role, 12 episodes
Impractical Jokers: Dinner Party Herself 1 episode
2021 Impeachment: American Crime Story Hillary Clinton Main role, 7 episodes
2023 Bupkis Amy Davidson Main role
The Other Two[59] Herself 1 Episode

Theatre

Year Title Role Venue Ref.
1998 Side Man Terry Classic Stage Company, Off-Broadway [60]
1999 Terry (replacement) John Golden Theatre, Broadway [61]
2002 Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Frankie Belasco Theatre, Broadway [62]
2004–2005 'night, Mother Jessie Cates Royale Theatre, Broadway [63]
2010 This Wide Night Lorraine Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Off-Broadway [64]
2011 The House of Blue Leaves Bananas Shaughnessy Walter Kerr Theatre, Broadway [65]
2013 The Madrid Martha New York City Center - Stage I, Off-Broadway [66]
2018 The True Dorothea "Polly" Noonan Alice Griffin Jewel Box Theatre, Off-Broadway [67]
2021 Morning Sun Charley New York City Center - Stage I, Off-Broadway [68]

Awards and nominations

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Edie Falco

References

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  54. ^ "Groups Want Piece of Campaign Ad Buy Pie". Fox News. September 10, 2004.
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