‘The Sopranos’ Creator Says Tony Soprano Was Based on Real Person Named Toby

by Megan Molseed

Recently, the creator of the iconic mob-centered HBO series The Sopranos opened up about a variety of mysteries that have long surrounded the wildly popular series.

In a recent podcast, Sopranos creator, David Chase spoke candidly about the series, discussing a variety of topics including secrets that fans of the popular series just can’t seem to get enough of.

One of these secrets surrounds the origin of the ultimate anti-hero, the series’s lead, Tony Soprano.

According to Chase, James Gandolfini’s iconic Tony Soprano character was based on a real-life person. A person, Chase says, he once knew, a guy named Toby Soprano.

‘The Sopranos’ Favorite Anti-Hero Was Inspired By A Childhood Memory

In the recent interview, which comes on the heels of the success of The Sopranos prequel film, The Many Saints of Newark, Chase reveals the real-life inspiration of one of the greatest television characters of all time.

According to the interview, David Chase met the son of his father’s business partner. This boy happened to be the same as age Chase. And, Chase says, this boy had a cousin with a name that he found to be inspiring, Toby Soprano.

Of course, David Chase admits that it was primarily the name that he took from this real-life inspiration. Whether or not this Toby Soprano had any other similarities to Tony Soprano, David Chase does not know.

“I don’t know that Toby was connected,” The Sopranos creator says of the real-life inspiration.

“He might have been, I don’t know,” Chase adds. “He had a Cadillac.”

During the recent interview, the Sopranos showrunner also gave answers to a mystery that has long bothered fans of the popular series. A mystery that fans have wondered about since the series finale aired in 2007.

Chase Finally Gives Fans Closure

In the series finale, fans saw Tony Soprano sitting in a diner. He is soon joined by his family as they all get a quick bite to eat.

As the Soprano family sits in the roadside restaurant we notice a menagerie of sketchy characters as the hit Journey song, Don’t Stop Believing, plays in the background.

Just as Tony Soprano’s daughter, Meadow, would be entering the diner, Tony looks up from his menu. And then, the show does a cut to black.

Of course, fans of this series wondered for years, did life go on as “usual” for The Sopranos? Or, did Tony die the moment our screens went to black?

According to Chase, the latter is true. In fact, it was an idea that came to him long before the finale was even filmed.

“I had this notion — I was driving on Ocean Park Boulevard near the airport and I saw a little restaurant,” explains the series creator.

“It was kind of like a shack that served breakfast,” Chase continues. “And for some reason, I thought, ‘Tony should get it in a place like that.'”