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Tom Aldredge dies at 83

Appeared in 'Sopranos,' 'Damages'

Emmy-winning character actor Tom Aldredge, a presence for decades on the big and smallscreen as well as onstage but most recently known for recurring roles on “The Sopranos,” “Damages” and “Boardwalk Empire,” died Friday of lymphoma in Tampa, Fla. He was 83.

Aldredge had a notably sour visage with a prominent nose, and roles as cantankerous seniors came to him early in his career and became his bread and butter.

The actor played more than two dozen roles on Broadway, drawing five Tony nominations. Opposite Frances Sternhagen in 1979’s “On Golden Pond,” he created the role later played by Henry Fonda in the bigscreen adaptation.

He first appeared Off Broadway in 1957 in “Electra” and then debuted on Broadway in 1959 in “The Nervous Set,” drew his first Tony nomination for “Sticks and Bones” in 1972, with others for “Where’s Charley” (1975), “The Little Foxes” (with Elizabeth Taylor) (1981), “Passion” (1994) and “Twentieth Century” in 2004. In addition to “Passion” he also appeared in Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”

Aldredge also made regular appearance in the New York Shakespeare Festival for decades.

He made his last appearance on the Rialto in “Twelve Angry Men” as Juror No. 9 in 2004-05.

Aldredge began his bigscreen career with Richard Lester’s “The Mouse on the Moon” in 1963 and worked steadily until last year. Recent credits included “Intolerable Cruelty,” “Cold Mountain” (2003), the remake of “All the King’s Men” (2006) and “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” (2007). His last film was 2008’s “My Sassy Girl,” a remake of the Korean hit.

In the latest decade or so, however, Aldredge made his biggest impression on television. On HBO’s “The Sopranos” he played Carmela’s usually silent but occasionally irascible father; on FX’s “Damages,” he had an interesting role as an elderly but highly capable fixer willing to commit murder if necessary for Glenn Close’s lawyer character. Most recently, he played the unsophisticated, crotchety father of Steve Buscemi’s elegant Nucky Thompson character.

Aldredge received a Daytime Emmy in 1978 for the “CBS Festival of Lively Arts for Young People” episode “Henry Winkler Meets William Shakespeare,” in which he played the Bard. From 1978-81, he recurred on ABC soap “Ryan’s Hope.”

Thomas Ernest Aldredge was born in Dayton, Ohio, and attended the Goodman School of Drama (now the Theater School) at DePaul U.

The actor was married to Oscar-winning costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge for 57 years; she died in January of this year. There are no immediate survivors.

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