From Sopranopedia - The Sopranos Encyclopedia
|First appearance||"The Happy Wanderer" (episode 2.06)|
|Last appearance||"Cold Stones" (episode 6.11)|
|Cause/reason||Murdered by Phil Leotardo's crew|
|Aliases||Vince, Thad McCone|
|Occupation||President of Spatafore Construction|
|Title||Former Capo of the Aprile Family in the DiMeo Crime Family|
|Family||Brian Spatafore (brother) |
Jackie Aprile, Sr. (uncle)
Richie Aprile (uncle)
Jackie Aprile, Jr. (cousin)
Adriana La Cerva (cousin)
|Children||Vito Spatafore, Jr. (son) |
Francesca Spatafore (daughter)
|Portrayed by||Joseph R. Gannascoli|
|Created by||David Chase|
Vito Spatafore, Sr., played by Joseph R. Gannascoli, was a fictional character on the HBO TV series The Sopranos. He was a member of the DiMeo Crime Family and a subordinate of Tony Soprano. He was married to Marie Spatafore with two children, Francesca and Vito, Jr. and was a closet homosexual. This was revealed in the show's sixth season and triggered a chain of events.
Table of contents
Vito Spatafore was not present in the first Season but a different character played by Gannascoli can be seen in the bakery when Christopher is attempting to place his order. Interestingly, the character was most likely a civilian due to his demeanor and Christopher's reaction to him, and the cashier refers to him by a name other than Vito.
Vito Spatafore's uncle, Richie Aprile, was released from prison and resumed his old position of Capo in the DiMeo organization. As Capo, he inducted Vito into his crew. Until that point Vito was involved in running the Spatafore Construction company, alongside his brother Brian. Richie Aprile was killed by his fiance, Janice Soprano, at the end of the season, leaving Vito and the rest of the Aprile crew in need of a new leader.
Richie was replaced by Gigi Cestone, who soon died of natural causes, making Vito the second in command of new Capo, Ralph Cifaretto. Vito was assigned the execution of Jackie Aprile, Jr., son of the late Jackie Aprile, Sr., by Cifaretto, as punishment for the robbery of a card game run by made man and Aprile crew soldier, Eugene Pontecorvo. Vito murdered Jackie after finding his hiding place in the Boonton Projects.
Cifaretto's time as Capo ended when he was murdered by Tony Soprano in a violent rage. Subsequently, Vito became the Capo of the Aprile crew. As Capo, he oversaw the DiMeo Crime Family's construction interests, including the lucrative Esplanade project that they shared with the Lupertazzi Crime Family.
During this season it was revealed to viewers that Vito was gay. He was seen performing oral sex on a male security guard at the Esplanade construction site by Finn De Trolio when he arrived for work early one morning. Finn received his job as a laborer on the project directly from Tony Soprano, as he was the boyfriend of Tony's daughter Meadow. Fearing repercussions if news of his sexuality reached his boss, and the violently homophobic members of the DiMeo organization, Vito tried to intimidate Finn into silence.
Vito was shown spreading dissent as the Tony Blundetto crisis with New York came to a head, stating that if Tony retaliated against New York, the Captains should remove him from his role as Boss.
Vito lost 160 pounds and was photographed for the "thin club" organization. When Tony Soprano was shot and fell into a coma, Vito expressed a desire to become boss someday. When both Soprano and acting Boss Silvio Dante were incapacitated, Vito approached another Captain, Larry Boy Barese, about taking the mantle of acting Boss. However, Tony recovered, and Vito was clearly unhappy with the outcome. He was also seen having many private conversations with Phil Leotardo, his cousin-in-law and Tony Soprano's rival.
Spatafore was outed in the episode "Mr. & Mrs. John Sacrimoni Request", when two members of another crime family, while collecting protection money from a gay bar, spotted Vito with a male companion; both he and his companion were dressed in leather biker regalia. Word of this incident spread quickly, and after overhearing Carmela and Rosalie Aprile discussing it the next day, Meadow told them about Finn's incident at the construction site.
Time in hiding
Vito then went into hiding, staying at a bed and breakfast in New Hampshire and trying to pursue a new life away from the mafia. Under the alias "Vince" he took an interest in antiques and claimed to be writing a book on Italian boxers. He briefly stole a phone to call his family.
He also started a relationship with Jim Witowski, a local short order cook who worked at the restaurant where Vito regularly stopped for a breakfast of New England Johnnycakes. Vito was impressed when he found out Jim was a volunteer fireman. When Jim first tried to kiss Vito he pushed him away, calling him a "fag" and starting a fight. The next day, a bruised Vito went back to the restaurant to apologize, saying "Sometimes you tell a lie so long, you don't know when to stop." Jim and Vito then headed off on motorcycles for a picnic, and lovemaking, in a secluded spot by the lake. Vito moved in with Jim shortly after.
Vito continued to spend time with Jim, who eventually saw through his story about being a writer. Vito revealed some of his past but continued to lie - he claimed he was divorced and used to work in the construction industry. Jim organized some handyman jobs for Vito, who soon became tired with the tedium of working life. He had already begun drinking heavily while pretending to research his book. Vito cooked a farewell dinner for Jim (although Jim was not told it was such) and left the next day while Jim was still asleep.
Return to New Jersey
On his journey back to New Jersey, Vito was drinking while driving and crashed his car into a parked vehicle. He shot the owner when he failed to convince him to keep the accident from the police. Following this, Vito returned to the city and drove past Satriale's, conflicted about whether or not to reinitiate contact.
Vito approached Tony at a mall, while Vito's brother Bryan kept watch. Vito, claiming that his earlier homosexual behavior had been caused by medication, wanted to "buy himself back" into the business by secretly paying Tony $200,000, and offered to run the family's Atlantic City prostitution and drug businesses. Tony was initially tempted by the offer, but after realizing that this arrangement would bring his family into open war with the Lupertazzis (Leotardo felt personally disgraced by Vito's actions, and wished him dead), quietly arranged for Vito's death at the hands of Carlo Gervasi. Meanwhile, Vito explained his absence to his children by claiming that he was an undercover CIA agent hiding out in Afghanistan, and warned them not to tell anybody. He later ran into Terry Doria, whom he agreed to loan $20,000 for child support.
That night, Vito returned to his motel room where (unbeknownst to Tony) he was surprised by Phil Leotardo and two of his soldiers, Gerry Torciano and "Fat Dom" Gamiello. Torciano and Gamiello duct-taped Vito's mouth shut and beat him to death with pool cues while Phil Leotardo watched, calling him a "disgrace". According to the police report, one of the pool cues had been forcibly inserted into Vito's rectum. While not explicitly stated, it is possible that Doria informed Leotardo of Vito's whereabouts as a way to avoid repayment of his loan. Even though Tony had decided to have Vito executed, he was angry that Leotardo ordered the killing of a Captain of his without permission. Gamiello soon met a violent end at the hands of Consigliere Silvio Dante and Capo Carlo Gervasi, in part as retribution for his role in the offense.
Phil told Vito's wife, Marie, that Vito was probably killed by two homosexual transients whom he picked up at a bar. He attempted to console Marie by saying "I loved him like a brother-in-law," and suggested that Vito's death was probably best for the children, as he claimed a gay man would have made a poor role model. The newspaper later reported Vito was killed by mobsters after requesting to live an openly gay lifestyle. His children read the story, destroying the illusion of their father being a CIA agent.
Entertainment Weekly critic Gary Susman argues that Vito's season 6 storyline related directly to the seasons themes and raised "fundamental questions about what it means, in Tony's world, to be a man." He also acknowledged that many feel the storyline was a distraction or side track (though Susman himself believes he is "...one of those who think Vito's story line this season was essential to the thematic concerns of the show and not a side trip or distraction.") Sara Vilkomerson, of The New York Observer, compared the shock of seeing what she labeled as "a gay mobster" on television to that first experienced by viewers in the pilot when Tony was shown as a tough mobster in therapy - marking Vito's storyline as one of the show's most interesting since its inception. In The Detroit News, Douglas J. Rowe compared Vito to other non-heterosexual characters that received a lot of media attention in 2006, including Truman Capote, and Ennis and Jack from Brokeback Mountain. Gannascoli has commented in interviews that he initially brought up the possibility of a queer mobster with the writers after reading Murder Machine. He wanted to bring more screen time to his character. Later, more inspiration for the writers would come after reading of "Johnny Boy" D'Amato in 2003. D'Amato, former acting Boss in the DeCavalcante crime family, was outed as having homosexual sex, and subsequently murdered in 1992.
|Characters:||Tony • Dr. Melfi • Carmela • Christopher • Uncle Junior • Meadow • A.J. • Janice • Silvio • Paulie Walnuts • Bobby "Bacala" • Johnny Sack • Vito • Adriana • Furio • Tony B. • Ralph • Big Pussy • Livia • Artie • Jackie Jr. • Rosalie • Phil • Hesh • Richie • Carmine • Little Carmine • Patsy • Benny • Charmaine • Little Paulie • Eugene • Carlo • Agent Harris • Kelli • Larry Boy • Feech • Walden • Mikey • Gigi •Butch • Anthony • Johnny Boy • Dante •|
|Fictional universe:||DiMeo crime family • Lupertazzi crime family • FBI • Bada Bing • Satriale's Pork Store • Cleaver • Death List • Timeline • Family Tree|
|Production:||Episode List • Writers & Directors • David Chase • Music • Awards|