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Edie Falco: Talent and Passion at 60

From Cookie Monster to the Golden Gobes – no one can say that Edie Falco, who turns 60 today, hasn’t paid her dues. From monologues in front of her bathroom mirror to two iconic roles, countless immensely successful stage productions and that year when she swept the top three television awards all at once.
Little Edie always had an inkling that she would be an actress someday. Born in Brooklyn to an actress mother and a jazz drummer father, she was surrounded by art and creativity. She grew up on Long Island and attended and graduated from the prestigious Conservatory of Theatre Arts and Film. After a move to Manhattan, she supported herself with odd jobs, among them a party animator dressed in a Cookie Monster costume. There were little parts here and there in the 1980s and early 1990s, culminating with a supporting role in Woody Allen’s Bullets Over Broadway. But there were also long periods of rejections, as she recalled in an HFPA interview: “Years of waitressing, years of sadness, being convinced I’d made a terrible choice about my life. You get a play, and you think this is the beginning of it and then nothing happens for the next five years. All that same sad scary stuff but the through line has always been there’s nothing I enjoy as much as what I do.”
Her first recurring role was in Homicide: Life on the Street, a slew of others followed in several cop procedurals. Her perseverance paid off when, in 1999, she got cast as Carmela, the wife of New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano in the iconic series The Sopranos which ran for six seasons.
In the same year, 2000, she received the three top awards for it: the Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, The Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama Series and the SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series. She won her second Golden Globe three years later for the same role.
As a stage performer she excelled in “Sideman,” in “The Vagina Monologues,” and in revivals of “Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune” (which co-starred Stanley Tucci) and “‘Night Mother.” On TV, she found another iconic part in the title role of Nurse Jackie which earned her another four nominations.
She had a hard time believing her success at first as she told us: “I don’t know if I believed in my talent as much as I believed in my passion, so I just thought I don’t care if nobody’s watching, I’m doing this thing. If I have to sit in my apartment and do a monologue in the mirror, this is what I’m going to do. I was convinced at some point that was what my life was going to be and then people started paying me which was beyond my wildest dream and then it has gone from there and it’s been beyond thrilling.”
Falco went on to play a variety of parts, among them Leslie Abramson in the eight-part mini-series Law & Order True Crime. She currently has three upcoming projects, among them Avatar 3 where she will reprise the role of General Ardmore.
Says the mother of two adopted children who views motherhood as her favorite job of all: “The best part is I never wanted to be on the top. I never aimed for this. I just aimed to have people write words and then me act them out. I’ll continue to do this until my last days.”