Livia Soprano

The malevolent matriarch of the Soprano crime family, as played by the late Nancy Marchand. different from dogs.
~ Livia Soprano talking about babies.

Livia Soprano (nee Pollio) was the cagey, pessimistic and narcissistic mother of crime boss Tony Soprano.


Growing up in a poverty-stricken and penurious family, she had a miserable childhood - and spent her adult life punishing everyone else for her problems. Seeing her chance to escape from her parents' house, she married Johnny Boy Soprano - and together, they had Tony, Janice and Barbara. However, Livia had no real interest in housework or motherhood. Whilst Johnny Boy provided well-enough, Livia never thought he was good enough - and always wanted him to earn more. However, when Johnny Boy decided to move the family to Reno, Livia flipped - and claimed that she'd rather smother her own children with a pillow, than take them to Nevada. Oddly enough, despite putting him down everytime, she started canonizing him when he later died. She also managed to estrange her daughter-in-law, Carmela, from her parents.

As she aged, she got worse. She became more and more suspicious and abusive of everybody around her. She started thinking that her own children wanted to kill her and take her money - whilst she always claimed to be a defenceless old widow.

After Tony decides it is best if she is put into a care home, she desires revenge - by having a hit placed on her own son. After Anthony Jr. tells her that her son is seeing a psychiatrist, she then mentions this to Junior Soprano. She then later tells him that Tony sold the family house, and even says that it is possible that Tony sold the house because he would have found it harder to have his meetings there, than in the nursing home. She then tells him that Tony, and the others who he has been having these meetings with, may even be talking about him.

Outside a movie theatre, she and Junior have a conversation, where she ends up telling him that her cousin, Cakey, after he was lobotomized, looked exactly like Tony does now - "empty, a shell. Better Cakey had died than go on living like that. That's what his old mother always used to say.".

After the hit fails, Livia and Junior later go to see Tony - where Livia states that she doesn't know who her granddaughter, Meadow, is. Junior confronts Livia about this, and tells her that the loss of memory is "terrific timing", particularly after the hit on Tony fails.

Later, when Livia is in the nursing unit at the home, she is visited by Artie Bucco, who she later tells - in what can only be presumed was another attempt to have Tony bumped off - that Tony started the fire that destroyed Artie's restaurant. After Artie abandons the idea of killing Tony - and Tony himself learns, through tapes recorded by the FBI, that it was Livia who pushed Junior to place the hit on him - Tony goes to visit her in the home, where a worker there reveals that she had a stroke after seeing the news on TV.

Originally contemplating suffocating Livia, Tony changes his plans upon hearing this news, and confronts her as she is being wheeled to the hospital. The confrontation leads to Tony threatening his mother that he is going to kill her - and him then having to leave the nursing home.

Later, after Janice leaves - thus, leaving the care of Livia to Tony - Tony gives her stolen airline tickets. She and Tony have yet another confrontation, where she states that she never conspired with Junior. However, she ends up being left in the care of a Russian woman called Svetlana.

Never having once anyone get the better of her, she later died peacefully - from a massive stroke while she slept. And at her funeral, Carmela later revealed that she didn't want a funeral or rememberence of any kind - because she didn't think anybody would come.

Although it was at first believed that she was merely faking having Alzheimer's, to get out of trouble following the failed hit, it is possible that she was actually starting to develop Alzheimer's.

Tony does later visit her graveside and forgives her for what she did - and the younger version of Livia frequently appeared in flashback scenes, after the character's death. It was originally planned that Livia would testify against Tony for giving her the stolen airline tickets, but the actress who played her (Nancy Marchand) passed away in real-life - so instead, a final scene was written by Tony and a CGI-inserted Livia, before the actual character later died.

Tony's psychiatrist, Dr. Melfi, diagnosed Livia as having borderline or narcissistic personality disorder. But, Livia did show some compassion for her grandchildren - such as giving Meadow money for when she was attending University.