Tony has to juggle North Jersey's most powerful criminal organization, keeping it functioning properly and keeping dissonance to a minimum. The relationship between Tony and his uncle, Corrado John Soprano, Jr. (better known as Junior Soprano), was very close for many years, with Junior acting as a father figure for Tony following the death of Giovanni (AKA Johnny Boy) Soprano, Tony's father. However, the relationship was strained when a disgruntled Junior became more and more marginalized in the organization as the FBI's investigation into his activities increased. He had Brendan Filone killed, which infuriated Tony. Furthermore, he conspired with Tony's own mother, Livia Soprano, to have Tony killed (although the hit failed). Before Tony realized his mother had helped to plan the attack on him, he had been very close to her and had taken care of her. But Tony's mother was a bitter and pessimistic woman who rejected Tony's help and became very angry with him when he placed her in a retirement community, which Livia claimed was a "nursing home". After the attempt on Tony's life, he proceeds to confront his mother at the retirement home, but discovers she has had a stroke. This does not deter Tony's rage as he angrily lets his mother know that he found out about the truth. Their relationship after this nearly deteriorates, as Tony barely speaks to her after that.
Despite a level of local notoriety, Tony has represented himself publicly as a waste management consultant to Barone Sanitation, one of the many fronts for his criminal enterprises. Tony had been using his putative nephew Christopher Moltisanti as a buffer between him and his capos during the past two seasons in order to insulate himself from the FBI. This subterfuge ended when Moltisanti was killed by Tony after an automobile accident. The reason that Tony killed Christopher was ultimately because of Christopher's drug habit and the fact that Tony was tired of dealing with Christopher's repeated failures. After the accident, Christopher said he would not pass the drug test. Tony was concern this would mean Christopher would be in trouble with the law, which means Christopher might give up Tony in exchange for reduced sentence. In a dream sequence, Tony told his true feelings about Christopher's death to Dr Melfi, saying: "I am relieved, he was a tremendous drag on my emotions, on my thoughts about the future. Every morning I wake up thinking, is today, the day that one of my best friends is gonna dime me to the FBI? And a weak fucking sniveling lying drug addict is the worst kind of bet."
Christopher had been badly injured in the accident, and when Tony initially went to call 911, he looked at the back-seat and saw that a tree branch had come through the window and destroyed the car-seat of Christopher's baby daughter. Thankfully, she was not in the car at the time, but if she had been, she would have surely been killed. Tony decided that enough was enough, and although he loved Christopher, Tony ultimately chose to end his nephew's life that night. Bobby Baccalieri was being groomed as Moltisanti's replacement until he was killed by Phil Leotardo's hitmen when the Lupertazzi Crime Family launched a war against the DiMeo Crime Family. Tony managed to strike a truce with Phil's underlings, however, and after Phil is assassinated, Tony returns safely to his criminal enterprise. He is last shown having dinner with his family at the famous Holsten's restaurant in New Jersey, though the possibility of a criminal indictment, thanks to a gun charge and testimony from Carlo Gervasi, looms over his head. A patron in Holsten's credited as "Man in Members Only Jacket" ominously looks twice in Tony's direction and then walks past Tony's booth to the bathroom. Tony Soprano's ultimate fate remains unknown.
Early life Edit
Tony was born on August 24, 1959, to Livia and Johnny Boy Soprano. He grew up living with his mother, father, and two sisters Janice and Barbara in the Ironbound in Newark, New Jersey. His father was always involved in crime and Tony recalls some of his activities in flashbacks on the show.
Young Tony Soprano has been portrayed by several actors. Bobby Boriello played Tony in the episode "Down Neck" in which Tony recalls many childhood events relating to his childhood realization that his father was involved in organized crime, including his recollection of father's relationship with his older sister, Janice, and his use of her as a cover for attending meetings with criminal associates at a children's amusement park. At the time, Tony thought Janice was his father's favorite child. In therapy, when asked to remember happy childhood memories about his mother, Tony struggled to come up with any, eventually recalling that he witnessed his father falling down the stairs, causing the whole family to laugh, even his mother; he later described his mother as a cruel, joyless woman who wore his father down "to a little nub". Tony also has a distant relationship with Janice because she is always asking him for money and once tried to sell Livia's house by herself. Tony also ended up having to dispose of the body of her re-acquainted boyfriend Richie Aprile, after Janice killed him.
Tony went to high school with Artie Bucco and Davey Scatino and remained friends with them into later life. He played baseball and football, and according to Sal Bonpensiero, he nearly made All-County. In high school he met his future bride, Carmela DeAngelis. Tony was also close to his cousin Tony Blundetto, and neighborhood kids used to call them Tony Uncle-Al and Tony Uncle-Johnny after their fathers to tell them apart.
In their teenage years, the two Tonys spent summers at their Uncle Pat Blundetto's farm — Pat was a soldier in the DiMeo organization. Blundetto was arrested for his part in a hijacking when the two Tonys were young men. Tony was supposed to join Blundetto on the job but failed to because of a panic attack; at the time, he told people he'd been attacked by a couple of "mulinyans" (aka: black men) and injured. Tony also attended Seton Hall University for a semester and a half before dropping out, to pursue a life of crime.
Tony was part of an unofficial crew of young criminals consisting of Silvio Dante, Ralph Cifaretto and Jackie Aprile, Sr. Tony gained notoriety in the DiMeo crime family by robbing a card game run by Michele "Feech" La Manna along with Silvio and Jackie. From then on, he was on a fast track to becoming a made man. He committed his first murder at the age of 23 on Labor Day weekend in 1982, killing a small-time bookie named Willie Overall. In season one Tony states that he knew Mafia boss John Gotti in the 1980s, but he may have been kidding His father shepherded Tony through his ascendancy until his death in 1986 from emphysema. When he died, Johnny Boy had risen to the level of captain of his own crew — as had his brother Junior. Junior took over the paternal role and continued to advise and assist Tony. Tony remembers having to buy expensive dinners for Richie Aprile as a newly made man. Soldiers from Johnny Boy's crew, Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero and Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri, passed their loyalty on to Tony after Johnny Boy died, Tony then became acting capo of his father's old crew in 1986, making him the youngest capo in the family, at only 27. He was elevated to permanent capo in the late-eighties. His old friend Silvio Dante also joined him as a soldier in his crew.
By 1995, Tony was a well-respected caporegime in the organization when the boss of the family, Ercoli "Eckley" DiMeo, was sent to prison. Tony's longtime friend and fellow captain Giacomo "Jackie" Aprile, Sr. took on the role of acting boss in December 1995. With DiMeo in prison, Aprile became the official "Street Boss" of the family.
Under Jackie's rule, the DiMeo Family was peaceful and prosperous until 1998, when Jackie was diagnosed with intestinal cancer; afterward, the family slowly descended into turmoil. With Jackie in and out of the hospital, and as such not able to fully run the family, Tony began to take on many of his duties, much to his Uncle Junior's chagrin.
For a time in early 1999, Jackie seemed cured and was back on the street as boss and the family's woes were eased. By late spring, however, he was back in the hospital and had begun chemotherapy treatments. With Tony's role in the family's operation increasing and disagreements including Tony thwarting Junior's plot to kill "Little Pussy" Malanga in Artie Bucco's restaurant, tensions between Tony and Uncle Junior rose and reached an all-time high as Jackie's condition turned for the worse.
With Jackie's death in mid-1999, a crisis emerged as to who would run the family, and the soldiers and other captains began to prepare for all-out war within the family, but Tony brought a quick end to the conflict by making Junior the official boss of the family. Junior would unknowingly act as the lightning rod for the feds, while Tony would run the family from behind the scenes as a de facto boss starting in 2000. Tony becomes the official boss after Junior is retired by the family, following Junior's shooting of Tony.
Tony's grandfather, Corrado Soprano Sr., was a master stone mason who emigrated from Avellino, Italy in 1910. He helped to build a church in Tony's old neighborhood in Newark that Tony has taken his children to, so he can tell them about their heritage, and the value of hard work. Tony also recalls that when he was only 13 his father would let him play around on the construction sites he ran, even driving heavy machinery, such as backhoes and diggers.
Murders committed by Tony Soprano Edit
Tony has personally committed at least eight murders in the show, although he may have committed others that have not been shown or referenced considering his lengthy career in the Mafia. Furthermore, as a Boss, he is fully responsible for the deaths of others killed on his orders. The eight known murders, all explicitly presented onscreen, were:
- Willie Overall, shot and killed by Tony to "make his bones", or become a made man (1982).
- Fabian "Febby" Petrulio, strangled by Tony for ratting out members of Paulie and Pussy's crew and joining witness protection program (1999).
- Chucky Signore, shot and killed by Tony for conspiring to kill him with Junior (1999).
- Matthew Bevilaqua, killed by Tony and Big Pussy for attempting to kill Christopher (2000).
- Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero, executed by Tony, Silvio and Paulie on a yacht, after they discovered that he was an FBI informant (2000).
- Ralph Cifaretto, choked/bludgeoned to death in a fight over Ralph's supposedly killing of their prize-winning race horse "Pie-O-My" for insurance money. (2002).
- Tony Blundetto, shot and killed by Tony quickly with a shotgun for the unauthorized killings of Joe Peeps and Billy Leotardo, in order to spare him from being the subject of torture from Phil Leotardo in revenge for his brother Billy's death (2004).
- Christopher Moltisanti, suffocated by Tony after a major car accident (2007).
Some murders hit him on a personal and emotional level leaving him perplexed as to how to cope with the situation. Most notably, after murdering his nephew, Christopher Moltisanti, he feels a rush of relief for finally being rid of his nephew, whom he feels he can no longer trust. However, he was plagued in having to "show the sad face" while the rest of his family grieves. However, Tony reassures himself that Moltisanti's murder was necessary, despite the hurt caused to the family.
The murder of "Big Pussy" in "Funhouse" weighs heavily on Tony. He is at first tempted to spare his old friend, but in the end knows what his priorities are. In the years to follow, Tony — along with Silvio and Paulie — have haunting dreams of the murder of their best friend.
Tony kills Ralph Cifaretto after their horse, Pie-O-My, dies amid suspicious circumstances in "Whoever Did This". Tony tries to confront Ralph about the situation but, after some heated words, Tony loses control and violently murders Ralph. Though no solid proof was found that the fire killing Pie-O-My was arson, Tony is convinced Ralph did it.
The murder of Matthew Bevilaqua was pure vengeance and an act that had to be carried out since Christopher getting shot was a direct affront to him as Boss, and Christopher's uncle. Tony takes satisfaction in it, as it is revenge for an attempt on the life of one of his relatives.
The murder of his cousin Tony Blundetto is solely to save him from a far worse death if he were to fall into Phil's hands, and also so that Tony did not lose his reputation as a Boss.
The murder of his nephew, Christopher Moltisanti, is done out of necessity; Moltisanti presents a threat to Tony's life and the New Jersey Mob. Christopher has been addicted to heroin, cocaine and alcohol for many years and could not defeat his addiction in rehab, and his addiction had caused many problems for the family, Tony especially. When Tony was about to call 911 for help, he sees the baby seat in the back seat of the SUV destroyed by a tree branch, and then closes his phone and proceeds to suffocate him by holding his nose shut so he chokes to death on his own blood. Additionally, Christopher's methods often violated the Mafia's code. Tony did not really plan to murder his nephew but saw the opportunity after a car accident caused by Moltisanti being high on drugs and finally had enough of Christopher's behavior. After killing Christopher, Tony tries to discover whether other mobsters or family members had similar feelings, it seems, however, that they do not. Tony is never suspected of this murder.