Steven Van Zandt
A key figure in two of the most acclaimed organizations in popular culture - Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band and "The Sopranos" (HBO, 1999-2007) - Steven Van Zandt was a musician, songwriter and composer who served as Springsteen's producing and performing partner for over three decades before making an auspicious debut as an actor on the Emmy-winning crime series. Though his stage presence straddled the border between comic and menacing, Van Zandt was a passionate fan of '50s and '60s-era rock and a savvy producer whose collaborations with Springsteen included some of his greatest albums, including Born to Run (1976) and Born in the U.S.A. (1984). After leaving the E Street Band in the 1980s, he recruited a host of music luminaries, including Springsteen, for "Sun City" (1985), an anti-apartheid protest song that helped bring the racial inequalities of South Africa's government into a global spotlight. He reunited with Springsteen in the late '90s for a series of celebrated records while impressing critics and audiences alike as the phlegmatic Silvio Dante on "The Sopranos." During this busy period, he also hosted his own syndicated radio show, which soon blossomed into a satellite network and record label. A bonafide renaissance man of the 21st century, Steven Van Zandt proved that a life spent in pursuit of great music could yield extraordinary results.