Known as part of "the Purchase Mafia" thanks to her status as one of the many illustrious alumni of the State University of New York at Purchase, Edie Falco is one of America's most well-respected television and film actresses. A native of Brooklyn, Falco, who is of Sicilian heritage, was born in 1963. She got her professional start acting in fellow-Purchase alum Hal Hartley's films, most notably Trust (1991), which cast her as the unrepentantly trampy older sister of a pregnant cheerleader (Adrienne Shelly). Falco spent the 1990s dividing her time and talent between TV and film, doing recurring work on such series as Homicide: Life on the Street and Law and Order, and appearing in a slew of diverse films that included Woody Allen's Bullets over Broadway (1994) and The Addiction (1995).
In 1997, Falco began earning kudos for her performance as Officer Diane Whittlesey on the HBO prison drama Oz; she stayed with the show for two years, after which she garnered even greater acclaim for her work on another HBO series, The Sopranos. Cast as Carmela Soprano, wife of Mafioso Tony Soprano, Falco won both a 1999 Emmy and a 2000 Golden Globe for her work on the show. The growing respect and recognition she garnered for her television work was ably complemented by the acclaim she was increasingly receiving for her work on the big screen; after winning an Independent Spirit Award for her role in the noirish Cost of Living (1997), she gave a strong portrayal of a jailed mother in Morgan J. Freeman's Hurricane Streets (1997). In 1999, Falco earned her strongest screen notices to date for her title role in Eric Mendelsohn's Judy Berlin, portraying an aspiring actress trying to break out of her small Long Island town. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi