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"Friend of a friend, not a friend of ours."
―Rusty in regards to Joey Peeps[src]

Rusty Millio is a recurring character on The Sopranos. He is a high-ranking captain in the Lupertazzi crime family and a cunning and ambitious mobster. He is portrayed in a guest role by singer and actor Frankie Valli.

Biography[]

Background[]

At some point, Rusty had quadruple bypass surgery.[3]

Season 5[]

"I'm telling you, Carmine, we go all out, we'll steamroll right over John. And I predict the guys in the street in Brooklyn and Queens, they'll welcome us as fucking heroes! It'll be easy!"
―Rusty sure of winning the conflict with Johnny Sack[src]

Rusty reassures Little Carmine they'll regain the upper hand over Johnny Sack.

All-out conflict has started for the leadership of the Lupertazzi crime family between Johnny Sack and Little Carmine as Johnny has decided to make good on Lorraine Calluzzo's ultimatum by ordering her death. Angelo gets the news at Carmine's office via telephone call and informs Little Carmine and Rusty. Carmine, devastated since he and Lorraine were close and once romantic partners, pins the blame on the culprit, Phil Leotardo, but Rusty clarifies Phil is merely a henchman, and that Johnny is the real mastermind, trying to sway the captains to his side through intimidation. Before going out to attend to other matters, Rusty assures Carmine that if they put their strength into it, they'll win over Johnny's faction in a landslide.[4]

Rusty and Angelo meeting with Tony B at a New York restaurant to propose he murder Joey Peeps.

Tensions boil over again once Johnny has Little Carmine's newly purchased yacht holed and sinked as an act of aggression. After the incident, Rusty and Angelo organize a meeting at a restaurant in New York with Tony Blundetto, who was Angelo's prison pal. After a jovial start to the discussion with Tony B doing his Jackie Gleason impressions on Angelo's behalf, Rusty puts the conversation on record, first asking about Tony B's situation now that he's out of jail and remarking he always liked Tony B's cousin, then going on to comment about how Angelo told him he might need a bit of money. Believing he could afford it to him, he tells Tony B they need someone gone. After clarifying the target is someone unknown to him and a loyalist of Johnny, Rusty states the hit isn't retribution for the sinking of Carmine's boat, but for Lorraine's murder. After reflecting on the subject, Tony B declines to kill Joey Peeps as Tony doesn't want to get involved with the feud. But after lamenting over his inferiority complex with his cousin, Tony B rethinks his decision. He calls up Carmine's office and tells Rusty he'll do it. Joey Peeps is shot to death along with a prostitute outside a Manhattan brothel.[5]

"When you've had a quadruple bypass like I did, it gives you a lot of time to think. The only thing Johnny understands is force!"
―Rusty discussing their next strategy in the conflict[src]

Rusty and Little Carmine discuss new strategies following the hit on Joey Peeps.

After the murder, Carmine explains how they should enforce a ruthless and destructive policy on Johnny's faction, and Rusty backs him, stating how "all old treaties and ways of doing things are null and void." However, Angelo worries about the fallout following Joey's death, and laments that they could have had a sitdown with the other captains to resolve matters. Carmine scoffs at the idea, believing it was his father's negotiation tactics that led him to be vulnerable in the first place. As always, Rusty supports Carmine, even telling him he might be a stronger man than his father. They later maintain appearances at Joey Peeps' funeral, much to the disdain of Johnny, who has begun to suspect Tony B might have been Joey's murderer after confiding with a witness. Tony tries to convince him his cousin had nothing to do with it, but Johnny remains skeptical.[3]

Rusty along with Little Carmine at Joey Peeps' funeral.

Later on, Angelo visits Tony B at his Bloomfield Avenue casino to give him a supplement of money for the Joey Peeps hit. When Tony B complains about how he did a clean job, Angelo empathizes, and tells him that's just the way Rusty and Little Carmine are doing things, making a joke about how Rusty "bangs his wife in installments". However, as retribution for the murder of Joey and as another power move, Angelo is murdered by Phil and his brother Billy.[6]

"We back down now, bunker down? What kind of message does that send?"
―Rusty refusing to withdraw from the conflict[src]

Rusty tries to convince Carmine to continue the fight.

In immediate revenge, Tony B shoots Billy dead on the street and injures Phil in a fit of rage, leaving him devastated and resentful.[6] After that occurs, Carmine finds himself extremely debilitated and unmotivated to continue on fighting. Rusty tries to tempt him to push on, telling him that going into hiding is unhealthy and that their image will be tainted if they back down now. He just laments over the state of things and doesn't take the advice. Rusty stands up and respectfully tells him his reclusiveness is his weakness, and he should go on the street more, but Carmine monotonously responds that that's not how he wishes to handle it. Disappointed, Rusty leaves the room. Carmine goes on to withdraw from the conflict and Johnny becomes the boss of New York.[7]

Season 6[]

Part I[]

"Is Phil Leotardo here? 'Cause I won't stand in the same room as that man."
―Rusty in disapproval of the new family leadership[src]

Rusty talks to Tony at a funeral.

At Ray Curto's funeral, Tony is approached by Rusty and his bodyguard Eddie. He inquires him on whether or not Phil is present, stating that he won't stand in the same room as him (Phil became acting boss after Johnny was imprisoned). They go on to make casual conversation about a Mafia captain who had been doubling as a radio host for the last three years, with Rusty remarking how "stand-up guys" like Raymond are a dying breed (which is ironic, since Raymond was, unbeknownst to everyone, the longest-working FBI informant in the series). He then goes to offer his condolences.[8] Later, Rusty receives an invitation letter for the wedding of Johnny's daughter Allegra, grunting about it to his wife Gianna. He is right to be skeptical, as Phil later drives over to Satriale's to ask Tony to kill Rusty on Johnny's behalf, explaining that he is concerned Rusty might find another puppet like Little Carmine to control the family through, but also wants to distance the hit from himself as it would be likely to cause instability should word get out that Johnny murdered one of his own captains. Tony initially declines, having already done too many favors for Johnny.[1]

"This fucking prick, he's disruptive. He doesn't have the balls to step up himself."
Johnny Sack on Rusty and his reasoning to have him killed[src]

Rusty at Allegra's wedding.

Rusty ends up going to the wedding, but there Johnny and Tony reconnect after the former was sent to prison. They sit at a table while federal agents surveilling Johnny are watching and, pretending to talk to Johnny's aunts and father, discuss Johnny wanting Rusty gone. Tony first says he can't do it, but Johnny pleads with him to, explaining that Rusty is extremely disruptive and potentially risky. He says after Carmine Sr.'s death Rusty could have been boss, but he didn't want the responsability. Johnny believes if Tony takes him out, the murder will not look like an internal feud, and now that he's in prison, he needs to ensure his reputation remains tight. After the talk, Tony takes the offer. He discusses it with Christopher, and tells him he's planning on bringing over hitmen from Naples to do the job and fly away the same day. Christopher believes it to be a cowardly maneuver and suggests Tony just reject the offer, but he already made a promise.[1] Christopher does come on to the idea eventually, and while they're at Satriale's, Tony informs him Annalisa already gave them the men for it. He tasks him with finding a middleman who'll give them instructions and provide weapons for them.[2]

Phil: Visited with John. He said to tell you he appreciates the recent headlines (Tony appears confused). Rusty.
Tony: (Feigning) I don't know what you're talking about. I turned him down on that.
Phil: Madonn', are you a cautious man! You know, some people might feel a little offended. Me? My heart is an open book. Anyway, Rusty's gone, and we'll chalk it up to the Headless Horseman.
Tony and Phil discussing Rusty's death[src]

Rusty conversing with Italo while his bodyguard Eddie is shot dead, shortly before Rusty's own death.

Christopher meets with his contact, Corky Caporale, an Italian-born associate who speaks the language, and tasks him with the job.[2] Corky meets with the Camorristi, Italo and Salvatore at a spot in Kearney. He tells them Rusty's address, and a bag containing a map outlining it and two guns, instructing them on throwing away the map once they memorize it. He also tells them Rusty is very cautious and is always protected, and he tells them to kill off his bodyguard Eddie too. As Eddie is driving Rusty out of his house, the hitmen's car block them at his driveway. Rusty, frustrated, wonders who it could be. Italo approaches his car window posing as a tourist looking for directions to the Brooklyn Museum. He keeps the conversation going long enough for Salvatore to get out of their car. As Rusty picks up their map and tries to guide them in the right way, Salvatore walks up to Eddie's window side and shoots him twice in the head through the glass, killing him. Before he has enough time to react Rusty is shot dead as well by Italo. The pair then drop off their guns before getting away in their car. After the hit, Phil thanks Tony on Johnny's behalf while they're eating at Da Giovanni, an Italian restaurant, where Tony plays the ignorant and tells him he turned down Johnny's offer, to Phil's appreciation. Christopher later comments, while on his business trip to Los Angeles, that Little Carmine, who was also on the trip, had to go back to tend to Rusty's widow Gianna, who suffered a nervous breakdown after the murder.[9]

Corky later converses with Christopher about how he heard of Rusty's death. He congratulates him on a job well done and gives him a part of his pay, saying there's a bonus for good measure.[10] In a meeting he later holds to ease tensions between the New York and New Jersey families, Little Carmine remarks how he grew up in the mob life and how he recently lost his good friend Rusty, which makes Phil and Tony get shifty eyes, as they both had a hand in Rusty's killing.[11]

Part II[]

"20 years inside, not a fucking peep. For what? To protect the likes of Rusty fucking Millio, Doc Santoro?"
Phil lamenting over his irreciprocal loyalty to the family[src]

When celebrating his late brother's would be 47th birthday party, Phil begins to feel sad over the state of the family, and recounts to his underling Butch how he finds it futile to have remained loyal for 20 years in prison to protect men like Rusty or Doc Santoro.[12]

Personality[]

"God forgive me, but you may be a stronger man than your dad was!"
―Rusty manipulating Little Carmine by playing into his ego.[src]

Rusty was a cunning and manipulative mafioso, who could use words to his advantage as influence to sway people to his side. He did this repeatedly with Little Carmine during the conflict, making him feel larger than life and always appearing loyal to him, when in reality he was only using him as a puppet to control the family from the shadows. As Johnny Sack correctly assesed, Rusty didn't want the constant pressure coming from being boss, even though he would have been a perfect fit for the position, and preferred to keep from the spotlight and remain secure. As a gangster, Rusty was ruthless, and felt it necessary to have Joey Peeps murdered as a blow to Johnny's faction. In the end, his own lust for power was what got him killed.

Trivia[]

  • Phil Leotardo refers to him as "The Mayor of Munchkinland", due to his short stature.

Appearances[]

References[]

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