Giovanni Francis "Johnny Boy" Soprano is Tony's deceased father, a former captain in the DiMeo crime family.
Johnny was married to Livia Pollio and they had three children: Janice, Tony Soprano and Barbara Soprano-Giglione. Johnny worked closely with his brother Junior during Tony's childhood. They both went on to become capos in the DiMeo crime family. Johnny was well liked in the organization - boss Ercole DiMeo was thought to be considering him to take over before his death. Johnny's crew included Paulie Gualtieri and Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero. Sal stood up for Johnny in the unrest of '83 and Johnny's leadership led to Sal becoming a made man shortly afterwards. Both Sal and Paulie followed Johnny's wishes and supported Tony becoming capo after Johnny's death in 1986. Johnny took Tony and his friend Silvio Dante under his wing and brought them up in the organization as part of his crew.
Johnny made many trips to Florida with Paulie Gualtieri, where Johnny had a piece of a dog track. On Paulie's first trip in the South when Johnny and Paulie were in a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz in Georgia they were pulled over by a Georgia State Patrol trooper and Paulie, who was 20 at the time and had never been outside of New Jersey, was driving without a driver's license and worried about what to tell the trooper. Johnny told Paulie to tell the state trooper that his cousin was a state trooper and gave Paulie a southern sounding name. When the trooper asked for the cousin's name, Paulie said 'Barney Fife'. The trooper then hit Paulie in the face, while Johnny laughed uncontrollably and resolved the issue by giving the trooper a one-hundred dollar bill.
Paulie also told Tony that his father loved him very much and that the only time he saw Johnny cry was when Tony was born. Tony told Paulie that he "never knew where he stood" with his father but Paulie tells Tony that Johnny trusted him enough to let him make his bones by killing a bookie named Willie Overall when Tony was only 22 years old, on Labor Day of 1982.
Johnny was only seen in flashbacks to Tony's childhood or in Tony's dream sequences. Tony once witnessed Johnny cut the pinky finger off of Mr. Satriale while Junior held him in place in the Fall of 1970; Satriale was a gambler who was avoiding giving Johnny payment. This event contributed to Tony's first panic attack at the kitchen table that evening. Tony also recalled his father discussing a possible move to Reno, Nevada in the Summer of 1967 to manage a supper club for Rocco Alatore and his mother refusing, a move that Livia would later sweep under the rug when Alatore later became a millionaire with his investments.
Tony also witnessed Johnny Boy plotting a scheme in 1967 at a children's carnival by bringing Janice along. Tony had originally thought that his father favored Janice over him, but later learned the truth, that mobsters brought their daughters to their meetings as a foil.
It is revealed in "A Hit Is a Hit" that Johnny Boy was a silent partner in Herman "Hesh" Rabkin's record label, F-Note Records, which brought young black musicians to fame. Johnny Boy ensured that their records got airplay. Hesh Rabkin was a trusted confidant and advisor to Johnny Boy, although was technically not a member of his crew.
When Janice recalled the time Johnny shot through Livia's beehive hairdo while they were driving home, Tony thought the anecdote was shameful and made their family look "dysfunctional". Tony described his mother's relationship with his father as wearing him down to "a little nub". Johnny Boy also kept a mistress named Fran Felstein, whom he had met during Tony's childhood. In 1976, when Tony was 16, Johnny stayed all night at her home when his wife was pregnant and in the hospital. The next morning Johnny and Tony went to the hospital and Tony lied to his mother saying they went to a New York Yankees baseball game and stayed in New York. Livia saw through Johnny's lie and lost the baby due to bleeding.
Through the various dream sequences and his therapy sessions, it appears Tony's relationship with his father was never as close as he presumed - an issue that Dr. Melfi attempted to engage but which was met with dismissal by Tony, who refused to delve deeply into his relationship with his father. What is clear is that Johnny Soprano exhibited many traits of a shameless narcissist who placed his own carnal needs above those of his family and used his own children as pawns in his criminal activities, a trait that Tony would somewhat copy by indulging in his own carnal appetites with women, but not involving Meadow or Anthony Jr. in his criminal activities.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
Season 1[edit | edit source]
- "Down Neck" (Flashback)
Season 3[edit | edit source]
- "Fortunate Son" (Flashback)
Season 5[edit | edit source]
Season 6[edit | edit source]
- "Remember When" (Flashback)