Tony Soprano jacket hands resting on shovelTony Soprano jacket hands resting on shovel

Tony Soprano

Played by James Gandolfini

"All due respect, you got no f**king idea what it's like to be number one. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other f**king thing. It's too much to deal with almost. And in the end you're completely alone with it."

The pressures of running 'the family' have taken their toll on Tony. As the acting boss of the DiMeo family, Anthony Soprano heads the most powerful criminal organization in New Jersey. A second-generation wise guy, he's the son of the late Johnny Boy Soprano, a DiMeo capo who brought his boy into his profession and showed him the ropes. After Johnny's death, Tony was mentored by his old man's closest associates, Hesh Rabkin, Jackie Aprile, and Pussy Bonpensiero, as well as Johnny's older brother, Corrado "Junior" Soprano.

Tony was born in 1959 and grew up in Newark and West Orange, New Jersey. Violence was a staple of his childhood: he once witnessed his dad and uncle viciously beating a guy for being late with a numbers payment. Another time he watched Johnny Boy amputate a debtor's finger with a meat cleaver. And though he never struck his two daughters, when Tony transgressed his father sent him flying. Tony's mother, Livia, was busy doling out emotional beatings. Depressive and paranoid, Livia was incapable of affection ? she once threatened to plunge a fork into her son's eye ? and constantly told Tony he'd never amount to anything.

It should come as no surprise then that Tony ended up in therapy.