Edie Falco

Edie Falco

Falco at Drama League Benefit Gala honoring Angela Lansbury on February 8, 2010
Born Edith Falco
(1963-07-05) July 5, 1963
Brooklyn, New York, United States
Alma mater SUNY Purchase (BFA '86)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1987–present
Children 2
Awards Full list

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), Carmela Soprano on the HBO series The Sopranos (1999–2007), the title character of the Showtime series Nurse Jackie (2009–15), and Sylvia Wittel on the Louis C.K. web series, Horace and Pete (2016).

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, Virginia.

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, Paul Schulze and Ving Rhames.[9] She graduated in 1986 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in acting.[10]


1987–1999: Early Career

Falco in 2007

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."[11] A struggling actress at the time, Falco said her salary from these television episodes paid for one month's worth of rent.[12]

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 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.

During this time, Falco appeared in the films Trust, Cop Land, Private Parts (nonspeaking part), 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.

In 1997, Falco started portraying prison officer Diane Whittlesey, in the in the HBO series Oz. Falco got the role after working with Fontana on Homicide.[13]

1999–2007: The Sopranos

Falco received her breakout role in the HBO drama, The Sopranos. The series premiered in 1999 and ended in 2007. She portrayed Carmela Soprano, wife of Mafia boss, Tony Soprano. The series received wide acclaim, and is often considered to be the one of the greatest television series of all time.[14][15][16][17][18] For her role on the series, Falco won three Primetime Emmy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, and five Screen Actors Guild Awards. 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 Soprano during the fourth season of The Sopranos. 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. She also guest starred on the television series, Will and Grace.

2007–present: Nurse Jackie and Horace and Pete

Falco starred as the title character in the Showtime dark comedy series Nurse Jackie, which premiered in June 8, 2009 and ended on June 28, 2015.[19][20][21][22]

In 2011, Falco 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.[23] 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 February 26. Along with Falco, the play starred John Ellison, Christopher Evan Welch, Phoebe Strole, and Frances Sternhagen.[24]

In 2016, Falco started portraying Sylvia Wittel on the Louis CK series, Horace and Pete. The first episode was released on January 30, 2016, on C.K.'s website without any prior announcements.[25] New episodes premiered weekly until the tenth episode was released on April 2, 2016.[26]


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?" [27]

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.[28]

Falco has become the spokesperson for Health Care for America Now and appeared on CNN on June 25, 2009.[29]

Personal life

In 2003, Falco was diagnosed with breast cancer. She chose not to make the news public until the following year.[30] Falco has had struggles with alcohol and decided to become sober sometime 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; "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."[30] She is an advocate of Alcoholics Anonymous' 12-step program.[31]

Falco adopted a son, Anderson, in 2005 and a daughter, Macy, in 2008.[32]

In 2012, Falco was the subject of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?[33] 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.[34][35]

In 2013, Falco teamed up with PETA in a public-service message urging parents to keep their children away from the circus.[36]



Year Film Role Notes
1987 Sweet Lorraine 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 Nominated—Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead
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 Joanne
Private Parts Alison's Friend uncredited
Cop Land Berta (Bomb Squad Agent)
Trouble on the Corner Vivian Stewart
Cost of Living Billie AFI Fest Award for Best Actress
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 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
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 Post-production
Megan Leavey Jackie Leavey Completed


Year Title Role Notes
1996 The Sunshine Boys TV Movie
1993–97 Homicide: Life on the Street Eva Thromann Recurring role
5 episodes
1993–98 Law & Order Sally Bell Recurring role
4 episodes
1995–97 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"
2007–08 30 Rock Celeste "C. C." Cunningham Recurring role
4 episodes
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series
2009–15 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 (2011–2015)
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 (2010–2015)
Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2013)
2016 Horace and Pete Sylvia Main role
Web series


Year Title Role Notes
1998–99 Side Man Terry Original play
Jun 25, 1998 – Oct 31, 1999
Theatre World Award
Nominated—Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Actress in a Play
2002–03 Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune Frankie Original play
Aug 8, 2002 – Mar 9, 2003
2004–05 '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 2 3 4 5 6 Jacobson, Aileen (April 26, 2011). "Edie Falco: Climbing Trees and Following Leads". Long Island Pulse.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Raymond, Chris (July 16, 2012). "Edie Falco's Life Lessons". Success.com.
  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". SUNY.edu.
  10. "Media & Entertainment Award Winners". SUNY.edu. 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. Lusher, Tim (January 12, 2010). "The Guardian's top 50 television dramas of all time". The Guardian. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  15. Rorke, Robert (April 27, 2008). "THE 35 BEST SHOWS ON TV–EVER". New York Post. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  16. Mann, Bill (December 14, 2009). "Bill Mann: TV Critic's Call: Here Are The Decade's 10 Best Series". The Huffington Post. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  17. Johnston, Andrew; Sepinwall, Alan (March 5, 2008). "David vs. David vs. David; or Which Is the Greatest TV Drama Ever, Simon's The Wire, Milch's Deadwood, or Chase's The Sopranos?". Slant Magazine. Retrieved March 31, 2014.
  18. Sheffield, Rob (September 21, 2016). "100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  19. "Nurse Jackie: Official Site". Sho.com. Retrieved March 3, 2009.
  20. Starr, Michael (June 30, 2008). "Nurse Edie: First Look at Sopranos Star's Dark, New Hospital Comedy". New York Post. NYPost.com. Retrieved March 8, 2009.
  21. Krukowski, Andrew (July 18, 2008). "Showtime Orders Nurse Jackie, Grows Weeds". TVWeek.com. Retrieved March 8, 2009.
  22. "Cable Networks Draw Big Names For New 2009 Series". NBCWashington.com. December 22, 2008. Retrieved March 8, 2009.
  23. "2011 Tony Nominations Announced! THE BOOK OF MORMON Leads With 14!". Broadwayworld.com. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  24. "Edie Falco Heads Off-Broadway with 'The Madrid'". BroadwayTour.net. Retrieved January 31, 2013.
  25. "Louis C.K. Surprises Fans With 'Horace and Pete' Web Series Co-Starring Steve Buscemi". Variety. January 30, 2016. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  26. Seitz, Matt Zoller (April 5, 2016). "Horace and Pete Was More Comfortable With Silence Than Any TV Show in Recent Memory". Vulture. Retrieved April 15, 2016.
  27. "Groups Want Piece of Campaign Ad Buy Pie". Fox News. September 10, 2004.
  28. NEWSMEAT ▷ Edie Falco's Federal Campaign Contribution Report
  29. Edie Falco on CNN, June 25, 2009
  30. 1 2 Nussbaum, Emily (April 1, 2007). "The Loneliest Soprano". New York Magazine. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  31. "Edie Falco: Sobriety Helped Battle Cancer". Parade Magazine. March 24, 2009.
  32. Slonim, Jeffrey (February 9, 2010). "Edie Falco: My Kids Look Like Fabio and Chucky!". People. Retrieved March 14, 2012.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. "tracingthetree". Edie Falco, Who Do You Think You Are?. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
  36. "Edie Falco Circus Boycott: Actress Teams With PETA Over Alleged Elephant Abuse (VIDEO)". Huffington Post. March 19, 2013.
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