"Sopranos" daughter Jamie-Lynn Discala to deliver Open VISIONS Forum lecture


Jamie-Lynn Discala, who, at just 23, has won raves as mob daughter Meadow on television's acclaimed "The Sopranos," headlined in "Beauty and the Beast" on Broadway, successfully battled an eating disorder, released an album and penned an autobiography, will speak at Fairfield University on Thursday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m. Her talk, entitled "Wise Girl: What I've Learned About Life, Love and Loss," is part of Open VISIONS Forum, a program of University College, and will include a post-lecture discussion session.

A native New Yorker, Discala has been acting and singing since she was seven years old. Getting her start in regional theater, she has starred in more than two dozen productions from "Annie" to "Gypsy."

Discala rose to national fame in 1999, when she first appeared as Meadow Soprano, the feisty, brainy daughter of a mob boss on HBO's critically acclaimed "The Sopranos." She has played Meadow for all five seasons of the show, taking her from a high school honor student to a newly engaged young woman who manages to balance her respect for law and justice with a fierce loyalty to her family.

"I am so proud to be Jamie's 'dad,'" James Gandolfini, who plays Tony Soprano, has said of his TV daughter. "She is not only a talented actress but also a bright, generous, and inspiring young lady."

Despite being one of the youngest members of a talented cast, her work has not gone unnoticed. She received the 1999 and 2000 Hollywood Reporter Young Star Award for Best Young Actress in a Dramatic Television Series and she has a 2000 Screen Actors' Guild Award for Best Ensemble Cast. Discala, who is of Greek and Cuban descent, also received nominations for American Latino Media Arts Awards in 2001 and 2002.

The notoriously long stretches between "Sopranos" seasons have offered Discala time to work on other projects. In October 2002, she made her Broadway debut as Belle in "Beauty and the Beast," a role she played through February 2003. She also starred opposite Eartha Kitt in a 2001 national tour of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" and offered a memorable turn as Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss in the made-for-television movie "Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss."

Discala has several upcoming films - some listing her in the cast by her maiden name, Jamie-Lynn Sigler - including "eXtreme dating," an action-comedy revolving around the romantic misadventures of four 20-something friends. She is also slated to appear in "Lovewrecked" with teen starlet Amanda Bynes.

Having unveiled her clear soprano voice on "The Sopranos," Discala released her first CD, "Here to Heaven," in 2001. The album includes a variety of ballads and catchy pop tunes, three of which are sung in Spanish.

In 2002, Discala took time out to reflect on her busy life in "Wise Girl" (Pocket Books), an autobiography that revealed her longtime battle with an eating disorder and a bout of Lyme Disease that left her temporarily paralyzed from the waist down. She also became an active spokesperson for the National Eating Disorders Association in an effort to help and educate others.

"I went public with my eating disorder because I wanted to make some good come of this terrible episode in my life," Discala has said. "I want to reach young girls and let them know that there is a way out; there is help available. No one should have to suffer in silence."

Discala, who married her manager AJ Discala in 2003, divides her time between New York and Los Angeles.

Tickets are $25, $22.50 for seniors and students. For tickets, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396. For more information, visit the website www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 20, 2004

Vol. 37, No. 26