“Network television is all talk. I think there should be visuals on a show, some sense of mystery to it, connections that don’t add up. I think there should be dreams and music and dead air and stuff that goes nowhere. There should be, God forgive me, a little bit of poetry.” David Chase
David Chase is the mastermind behind the phenomenal mob series “The Sopranos” (series began in 1999), which brought him $15 million by the end of season 5, as well as three Emmy Awards and seven Emmy nominations. Beginning his screenwriting career with suspense projects like the movie Grave of the Vampire (1974) and the series “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” (1974-1975), Chase then built his status on the small screen through such acclaimed series as “The Rockford Files” (1974-1980, won an Emmy and was nominated for two Emmys), “I’ll Fly Away” (1991, received three Emmy nominations) and “Northern Exposure” (1993-1995, earned an Emmy nomination). Chase is married to Denise Kelly and is the father of a daughter.
DeCesare’s Mob Dream
Childhood and Family:
David Chase was born David DeCesare to an Italian-American family on August 22, 1945, in Mount Vernon, New York. His family later changed their surname to “Chase” and settled in North Caldwell, New Jersey. As a teen, David worked in his father’s hardware store on weekends.
Growing up with a passion for gangster films and storytelling, David attended New York University’s School of Visual Arts and continued his studies at Stanford University’s graduate film program. In 1974, he adapted his horror novel to a motion picture.
David is married to Denise Kelly. Their daughter, actress Michele DeCesare, plays the character Hunter Scangarelo in “The Sopranos.”
The Rockford Files
David Chase launched his screenwriting career by adapting his own novel “The Still Life” as the horror film Grave of the Vampire (1974). At the same time, he penned the script for the ABC suspense series “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” (1974-1975), which chronicled strange supernatural occurrences in Chicago.
Chase first caught critics’ attention with his writing work in the detective series “The Rockford Files” (1974-1980), in which his effort won an Emmy and earned two Emmy and an Edgar nomination. Upon the end of the series, he made a TV drama about a teen runaway readjusting to her home life titled Off the Minnesota Strip (1980) and nabbed his second Emmy award. It was ensued by the TV action film Moonlight (1982).
Still on the small screen, Chase had his directing debut in the series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (1985) and continued it with the romantic drama Almost Grown (1988). He also executive produced its spin-off series, which aired in 1988.
As an executive producer and writer of the civil rights-era drama series “I’ll Fly Away” (1991), Chase was handed a PGA Golden Laurel award for Television Producer of the Year, as well as earned three Emmy nominations (two for Best Drama Series, one for Best Writing). Later, another Emmy nomination arrived after he succeeded John Falsey and Joshua Brand as the executive producer of the Alaska-set comedy drama “Northern Exposure” (1993-1995). The next year, Chase worked with Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel to make the TV film The Rockford Files: Punishment and Crime (1996, also directed).
Chase’s reputation was propelled even higher after creating and executive producing the acclaimed HBO series about a family of Italian mobsters titled “The Sopranos” (series began in 1999). Chase, who also directed and wrote a number of “The Sopranos”’ episodes, soon collected three Emmys, a Directors Guild of America award, two PGA Golden Laurel awards, a Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming award and an Edgar Allan Poe Special award. In addition, he was nominated for seven Emmys, a PGA Golden Laurel, a Writers Guild of America award and a Television Critics Association award. The show also boosted the career of actors James Gandolfini, Michael Imperioli and Tony Sirico.
However, Chase did not show a special interest in the recently released video game version of “The Sopranos.” Refusing to be linked with the game, the show creator commented, “What I didn’t want to have happen was that the game and the show bleed together, that any of the stuff in the real story arcs that we have, or any of the real narrative we have, was in the game or had anything to do with the game. We don’t even talk about New York mobsters. The other people in the game are from Philly. We tried to separate it completely.”
- Edgar Allan Poe: Special Edgar, “The Sopranos,” also “The Rockford Files” and “Kolchak: The Night Stalker,” 2005
- PGA Golden Laurel: Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic for Drama, “The Sopranos,” 2005
- Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “The Sopranos,” 2004
- Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, “The Sopranos,” episode “Whitecaps,” 2003
- Directors Guild of America: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series - Night, “The Sopranos,” 2000
- Biarritz International Festival of Audiovisual Programming: Silver FIPA for TV Series and Serials, “The Sopranos,” 2000
- PGA Golden Laurel: Television Producer of the Year Award in Episodic, “The Sopranos,” 2000
- Emmy: Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, “The Sopranos,” episode “College,” 1999
- PGA Golden Laurel: Television Producer of the Year Award, “I’ll Fly Away,” 1993
- Emmy: Outstanding Writing in a Limited Series or a Special, Off the Minnesota Strip, 1980
- Emmy: Outstanding Drama Series, “The Rockford Files,” 1978