Creator of "The Sopranos" given award by New Jersey governor

David Chase, creator of "The Sopranos," has received a first-of-its-kind filmmaking award from the governor.

Chase, a New Jersey native, was presented with the award Friday by acting Governor Richard J. Codey during a reception at the governor's mansion.

The governor said Chase's "creative writing and rich character illustration have produced a show unlike anything else on television."

&to=' target=_blank>"The Sopranos," a serial drama that portrays the life of fictional New Jersey mob boss Tony Soprano, starts its sixth season on HBO in March.

Criticized by some Italian-American groups for advancing a stereotype, it has been lauded by millions of viewers, including television critics, for its originality and inventiveness.

Born in Mount Vernon, New York, Chase was raised in New Jersey as the only child in an Italian-American family.

Several "Sopranos" cast members were on hand to help Chase celebrate: James Gandolfini, who plays Tony Soprano; Tony Sirico, who plays Paulie Walnuts; Dominic Chianese, who plays Uncle Junior Soprano, and Steve Schirripa, who plays Bobby "Bacala" Baccalieri.

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