‘The Sopranos’ Creator Reveals That Tony Soprano Was Based On A Real Guy Named Toby Soprano — Yes, Toby

James Gandolfini Tony Soprano wounded veteran


David Chase, the creator of the iconic HBO drama series The Sopranos, recently did a podcast over at The Hollywood Reporter and the resulting interview has led to quite a few Sopranos-related headlines this week.

First, Chase detailed how the reaction to the series finale — particularly how fans “wanted to see Tony killed” — bothered him:

“What was annoying was how many people wanted to see Tony killed. That bothered me. They wanted to know that Tony was killed. They wanted to see him go face-down in linguini, you know?” Chase said.

“And I just thought, ‘God, you watched this guy for seven years and I know he’s a criminal. But don’t tell me you don’t love him in some way, don’t tell me you’re not on his side in some way. And now you want to see him killed? You want justice done? You’re a criminal after watching this s*it for seven years.’ That bothered me, yeah.”

Then, Chase gave his most definitive statement yet on the series’ final moments, which famously cut to black as Tony looked up from his booth at Holstein’s entrance:

“Because the scene I had in my mind was not that scene. Nor did I think of cutting to black. I had a scene in which Tony comes back from a meeting in New York in his car. At the beginning of every show, he came from New York into New Jersey, and the last scene could be him coming from New Jersey back into New York for a meeting at which he was going to be killed. Yeah. But I think I had this notion—I was driving on Ocean Park Boulevard near the airport and I saw a little restaurant. It was kind of like a shack that served breakfast. And for some reason I thought, ‘Tony should get it in a place like that.’ Why? I don’t know. That was, like, two years before.”

And today, another tidbit from the interview is going viral — a tidbit that reveals Tony Soprano was actually based on a real person that Chase once knew, a man named Toby Soprano. Yes, TOBY. Not quite as threatening as Tony, is it?

Your father’s business partner had a kid who you knew, who was your age, I believe.

Chase: Yeah.

And he had a cousin. Who was that?

Chase: Toby Soprano.

This is where the Soprano name came from?

Chase: Right, yeah. But I don’t know that Toby was connected. He might have been, I don’t know. He had a Cadillac.

Given that the real Toby Soprano was his father’s business partner, he’s likely been dead for some time (Chase himself is now 76-years-old). Still, I can’t help but wonder if, when alive, he reached out to Chase and HBO to try and get some residuals. That seems like a movie a Toby Soprano would pull.

RELATED: This Is The Most Definitive Statement ‘Sopranos’ Creator David Chase Has Ever Made About The Ending

Both The Sopranos and The Many Saints of Newark are currently streaming on HBO Max.

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Eric Italiano BroBIble avatar
Eric Italiano is a NYC-based writer who spearheads BroBible's Pop Culture and Entertainment content. He covers topics such as Movies, TV, and Video Games, while interviewing actors, directors, and writers.