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Also Known As: David Henry Decesare, David H. Chase Died:
Born: August 22, 1945 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Mount Vernon, New York, USA Profession: producer, screenwriter, director, TV series creator, novelist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After spending two decades trying to find his footing on the small screen, writer-director-producer David Chase finally grabbed hold of the brass ring when he created the highly-acclaimed and award-winning series, "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1998-2007). An unusually gritty soap opera centering on the professional and personal travails of New Jersey mob boss, Tony Soprano, the series became an instant hit on its way to becoming one of the most decorated and successful cable series of all time. Prior to "The Sopranos," Chase forged his path as a writer and producer on the classic series, "The Rockford Files" (NBC, 1974-1980), and later earned acclaim for his small screen movie "Off the Minnesota Strip" (ABC, 1980). Chase struggled throughout the 1980s with failed pilots and forgettable TV movies, while earning critical plaudits - but not eyeballs - for his civil rights drama "I'll Fly Away" (NBC, 1991-93). After guiding "Northern Exposure" (CBS, 1990-95) during its tumultuous last two seasons, he was rejected by every network for "The Sopranos" before HBO swooped in and developed the show, which earned seemingly countless Emmys and Golden Globes for Chase and the cast. Following the series' controversial and...

After spending two decades trying to find his footing on the small screen, writer-director-producer David Chase finally grabbed hold of the brass ring when he created the highly-acclaimed and award-winning series, "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1998-2007). An unusually gritty soap opera centering on the professional and personal travails of New Jersey mob boss, Tony Soprano, the series became an instant hit on its way to becoming one of the most decorated and successful cable series of all time. Prior to "The Sopranos," Chase forged his path as a writer and producer on the classic series, "The Rockford Files" (NBC, 1974-1980), and later earned acclaim for his small screen movie "Off the Minnesota Strip" (ABC, 1980). Chase struggled throughout the 1980s with failed pilots and forgettable TV movies, while earning critical plaudits - but not eyeballs - for his civil rights drama "I'll Fly Away" (NBC, 1991-93). After guiding "Northern Exposure" (CBS, 1990-95) during its tumultuous last two seasons, he was rejected by every network for "The Sopranos" before HBO swooped in and developed the show, which earned seemingly countless Emmys and Golden Globes for Chase and the cast. Following the series' controversial and much-talked about finale, Chase disappeared for a few years before re-emerging with his hailed feature debut, "Not Fade Away" (2012), which allowed him to begin the process of burying Tony Soprano for good.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:


CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
At age five, moved with family from New York to New Jersey
:
Worked in father's hardware store on weekends as a teenager
1971:
Settled in California
1974:
Screenwriting debut, adapting novel "Still Life" as the horror film "Grave of the Vampires"
1976:
Made TV debut as supervising producer (also wrote) of "The Rockford Files" (NBC); show won 1978 Emmy as Outstanding Drama Series and was nominated 1979 and 1980
1974:
Wrote for ABC suspense series "Kolchak: The Night Stalker"
1980:
Scripted and produced TV movie "Off the Minnesota Strip" (ABC) about a teen runaway readjusting to her home life; won Emmy for teleplay
1982:
Executive produced and wrote busted NBC pilot "Palms Precinct"
1985:
TV directorial debut, an episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (USA Network); also scripted
1988:
Co-created and executive produced CBS series "Almost Grown"; also wrote and directed episodes
1991:
Executive produced critically lauded but low-rated NBC drama "I'll Fly Away"; received Emmy nomination 1992 for episode entitled "Master Magician"; show nominated as Outstanding Drama Series 1992 and 1993; first collaboration with John Falsey and Joshua Brand
1993:
Succeeded Brand and Falsey as executive producer of "Northern Exposure" (CBS); show earned Emmy nomination as Outstanding Drama Series 1994
1995:
Was supervising producer of a series of TV-movies based on "The Rockford Files"; all aired on CBS
1999:
Created acclaimed HBO mob series "The Sopranos"; wrote and directed several episodes; earned several Emmy nominations for producing and writing, including one for controversial final episode titled "Made In America"; also earned DGA nomination for episode "Made in America"
2012:
Returned to features as writer, director, and producer of 1960s set drama "Not Fade Away"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

New York University: New York , New York -
Stanford University: Stanford , California -
School of Visual Arts: New York , New York -

Notes

On directing: "It terrifies me. The first time I directed, the Alfred Hitchcock show, I was so scared that the night before I had thoughts of going to the Greyhound station and leaving L.A. It felt like the time I was 11 and sprained my ankle on a camping trip and went to visit my grandmother in Mount Vernon. And my aunt had just had a baby and foe some reason I wanted to carry him. My ankle gave out and I dropped the baby. I ran out of the house screaming. Directing felt like that. I felt lame with the whole thing.

"I've always been anxious, fearful, competitive, envious and angry. . . . When I'm on the set, though, I don't freak out. I say to myself, 'You know what, this looks like life, but it's not. Whatever happens here isn't going to kill you.' . . . That's about the best I can do." --David Chase quoted in THE NEW YORK TIMES, June 6, 1999

"Over lunch, Chase is asked: 'Where do "The Sopranos" come from within your imagination?'

"The idea started about 10 years ago," he begins, "I wanted to do a show based on my mother, who was a very negative person.

"After a while, I refined the idea and decided to place her character into a Mafia context. I had read that [former Philly mob boss] Nicky Scarfo's mother was a 'stone gangster'. That clicked." --From NEW YORK POST, April 4, 1999

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Denise Chase.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Henry Chase. Store owner, former engineer. Born in Providence, Rhode Island; Baptist; quit working as an engineer in the 1950s to open a hardware store in Verona, New Jersey.
mother:
Norma Chase. Proofreader. Born on February 2, 1909; died in January 1994; 10th of 11 children; raised as a "socialist athiest"; named after the Bellini opera; worked at the telephone company proofreading directories; Chase based the character of Livia Soprano on her.
daughter:
Michele Chase. Born c. 1981.

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