Eugene Pontecorvo, played by actor Robert Funaro, is a fictional character in the HBO television series The Sopranos. His jobs include running a low stakes poker game, a sports betting agency and a 'No Work' job at the Esplanade construction site.
Eugene Pontecorvo was introduced on the show as an associate in the Soprano crime family in the episode "Proshai, Livushka". Eugene subsequently becomes a made man in the following episode "Fortunate Son" along with Christopher Moltisanti. Like Vito Spatafore and Benny Fazio, he is initially introduced as a small character, whose role slowly increases throughout the series. His first act on the show is seen in "Proshai, Livushka" when he and Bobby Zanone assault a garbage sanitation man for threatening to rat out Ralph Cifaretto. Eugene Pontecorvo also appears in a flashback to 1995 in the episode "...To Save Us All From Satan's Power" as a bodyguard of Junior Soprano's, along with Gigi Cestone. He, along with Vito Spatafore and Donny K., found Gigi Cestone dead on the toilet in the Aprile Crew hangout after suffering a constipation-induced heart attack.
Eugene reveals his mean streak once again in the episode "Eloise" when he and another associate engage in jury tampering, in which they are sent to intimidate a juror who is on Junior Soprano's trial. He does so by stalking the man, following him into a convenience store where the juror takes a drink and a candy bar. The juror is stopped by Eugene, who reveals he knows this man and is a juror and "I know you'll do the right thing" (implying he will vote not guilty and result in a hung jury). Eugene then tells the juror not to bother paying, as he then pays for the man's small purchase.
Although mild-mannered, Eugene has a tendency to lose his temper, similar to Ralph Cifaretto. In the episode Unidentified Black Males, while he and Little Paulie Germani are engaging in what initially began as a harmless banter at the Esplanade construction site, Little Paulie goes too far in Eugene's mind when he conveys through an innuendo that Eugene is a homosexual. Eugene responds by smashing a glass Snapple bottle over Little Paulie's head, causing a severe gash over his eye, and kicks him repeatedly in the head. Vito instructs an overwrought Eugene to take the rest of the day off. When Eugene asks "what about him (Little Paulie)?", Vito responds with "What? I thought I saw a couple of niggers running that way." It's also a reference to the episode's title, "Unidentified Black Males".
In Season Six's premiere episode "Members Only", Eugene inherited 2 million dollars from his deceased aunt. He begins developing serious stress with his home life due to his wife pushing him to talk Tony into their retiring to Florida with the money and also his son's incessant drug-use. He states to his friends that, "The only thing I ever found in the street was my first wife," showing that he hasn't had much good luck in his life (and at least one failed marriage). Eugene has a talk with Tony about him and his family moving to Florida permanently. Tony says he'll consider it, but he states Eugene took an oath indicating it's highly unlikely he'll approve. Christopher Moltisanti assigns Eugene the task of taking out a guy named Teddy Spirodakis in Boston who owed Christopher money and failed to pay him. Eugene is reluctant, but has to follow Christopher's order due to his rank of capo. Chris assures Eugene he will put in a good word for him to Tony as a favor for doing the hit. Eugene drives to Boston and finds Teddy eating dinner at a fast food restaurant and shoots him repeatedly in the head. Eugene then walks out calmly.
It is revealed Eugene has been an informant for the F.B.I., though it is unclear for how long. After Raymond Curto dies of a massive stroke while giving potentially damaging information to Agent Robyn Sanseverino about Tony discussing a murder, the F.B.I. informs Eugene they also reject his notion to move to Florida, as they need him in New Jersey to help build a case against Tony in the wake of Curto's death.
Silvio informs Gene that Tony denied his request to retire from the DiMeo crime family. With Tony and the Feds both hindering Eugene's chance to escape the mafia life and his stress caused by his unstable home life, Eugene sees no way out and hangs himself in his basement.
Murders committed by Pontecorvo
- Teddy Spirodakis: Killed at a diner by Eugene on orders from Christopher Moltisanti for failing to pay his debts. (2006)