What Happened to Paulie ‘Walnuts’ Gualtieri in The Sopranos?

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Paulie Gualtieri
Paulie "Walnuts" Gualtieri from Sopranos

Fans love watching American crime drama series and when it is about mafias and gangsters excitement runs through the blood of fans because they know that each episode will have something new to baffle and intrigue them. The Sopranos is one such TV series that was released in the year 1999 on HBO.

What fans like the most about Sopranos is the characters it features, each character in The Sopranos has a unique life story, unusual problems and entangled relationships. Fans got immersed in the lives of these characters and one such character that is still loved by the whole Sopranos fanbase is Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri.

Paulie has been a recurring and one of the main characters throughout the series, therefore even his life story was significant in the show. The right-hand man of Tony Sopranos, Paulie Gualtieri received instant fame because of his witty, eccentric, and superstitious behavior. Paulie is also the one who committed the greatest number of murders than any other character in The Sopranos.

Who is Paulie Gualtieri?

The Sopranos revolves around the life of Tony Sopranos, an Italian-American mafia and head of the Sopranos family. Tony Sopranos, being the greatest mafia has an abundance of issues to solve that become a reason for his stress and leads him to the psychiatrist to seek medical attention.

As he explains his whole story to the psychiatrist, the lives of other important characters in his inner circle are unveiled and one such character was Paulie Gualtieri whose life story significantly developed season by season. He is the one who is depicted committing minor to major crimes right from his teenage. Prison life is like a mini trip for Paulie because, since childhood, his habit of committing crimes has always taken him to the doors of the prison.

DiMeo Crime Family - Sopranos
DiMeo Crime family from Sopranos (credit: Wiki Fandom)

Even though Paulie is shown as audacious when it comes to shooting or abusing someone, his character is depicted as a bit superstitious. In the series, Paulie is shown encountering the reflections of the Virgin Mary. Also, he easily gets scared if something inauspicious happens around him.

Sometimes Paulie also says things that he is not supposed to which creates major problems for Tony. Tony even contemplates murdering Paulie because of his glib talk. We will discuss further in this post if he killed him or not.

Paulie Gualtieri Sopranos
A Still From Sopranos – Paulie Gualtieri negotiating with other parties (Credit: Borko YouTube)

Paulie seems to be more eccentric and does not forgive anyone. Moreover, with his utmost bravery and loyalty towards Tony Sopranos, he acquires higher positions from just being in the inner circle of Tony to getting awarded the position of a capo of Tony’s old crew and the underboss in the DiMeo Crime Family.

Many secrets about Paulie Gualtieri’s life were uncovered in the last two parts of the series. Read till the end to know some interesting facts about Paulie Gualtieri unveiled at the end of the series.

Truths about Paulie Gualtieri’s Parents

Till season 5, information about Paulie’s parents was hidden behind some bitter lies that Paulie discovers at the beginning of season 6. He discovers the name of his father and truths about his real mother. The one who pretended to be Paulie’s mother was certainly not his biological mother, it was his aunt who took care of him.

Right from the start it was shown that Nucci Gualtieri takes care of Paulie like his real biological mother. Paulie loves her and fulfils all his son’s duties towards her. But what shocks Paulie the most is the woman who pretended to be his mom was his aunt and, Paulie’s Aunt Dottie was revealed to be his mother.

Also, Read:50 Best Lawyer Movies To Watch If You Like Crime Thrillers

Paulie Gualtieri Mother Sopranos
A still from Sopranos – When aunt Dottie reveals the secrets from her past

In her bedridden condition, when Dottie gets to know that she is in her last days, she decides to tell the truth to her son. When Paulie comes to meet her she tells Paulie that during world war II, she met a man named Russ. They fell in love and Nun Dottie got pregnant.

As Dotttie wanted to become a Nun, Nucci Gulatieri decided to save her from trouble and accepted the baby boy as hers and since then, Nucci pretended to be Paulie’s real mother and Nun Dottie remained beside Paulie as his Aunt Dottie.

Enraged Paulie cuts off all the relationships with Nucci and Dottie. when Dottie dies, He does not even attend her funeral. However, he gradually accepts reality and rebuilds his relationship with his real aunt, Nucci Gualtieri.

Paulie develops Prostate Cancer

Before reconciling with Nucci, Paulie discovers that he has been diagnosed with Prostate Cancer. At the same time, even Johnny, the boss of the Lupertazzi crime family and a friend of Tonny Sopranos develops lung cancer.

Tonny feels devastated with two of his closest friend developing such a deadly disease, however, he accepts the reality when Paulie tells him about his cancer. Paulie also mentions that he is lucky to discover his cancer at an early stage, unlike Johnny.

Paulie receives proper treatment for his cancer and gets better just after reconciling with his aunt Nucci. Even though Tony receives the good news of Paulie getting better, what traumatizes him is Johnny’s death.

Tony Soprano Considers Killing Paulie Gualtieri

In season 6 of The Sopranos, Tony and Paulie run away from the USA to hide in Miami as the FBI starts investigating Willie Overall’s case whom Tony had killed. As Tony leaves for Miami with Paulie, at the back of his mind he gets scared of Paulie’s behavior.

Throughout the series, Paulie has been shown saying the wrong things at the wrong times that have created many difficulties for Tony and his family. As Paulie is the weakest link who may tell all the truth to the FBI when asked, Tony questions Paulie’s loyalty towards himself and decides to kill Paulie. However, ultimately, Tony refrains from killing him.

Paulie and Tony - Sopranos
Paulie and Tony from Sopranos

In the season finale, it was shown that even Nucci, Paulie’s real aunt also dies. Tony and Paulie engage in New Jersey VS New York crime families war, but later they agree to end it. The Sopranos’ end is a bit confusing as the creators decided to keep it ambiguous so that fans can assume their own ending regarding what may have happened to Tony and Paulie in the end. 

Tony Sirico who played Paulie Gualtieri dies at the age of 79

The legendary actor Tony Sirico who remained in every fan’s heart as brave but naïve Paulie Walnuts died in July 2022.  Tony’s brother Robert Sirico announced Tony’s death on his Facebook account writing that Tony’s death was great sadness but with incredible pride, love, and many memories Tony Sirico wishes to inform everyone of his death.

It was later confirmed that before dying Tony was suffering from dementia and spent his last days in a living facility in Fort Lauderdale. Tony Sirico was indeed a great actor. He was the one who frequently appeared in gangsters and mafia movies and never failed to entice all of his fans.

His role as Paulie Gualtieri was loved by many and his character as Paulie is unforgettable. Even though the actor died, his character as Paulie “Walnuts” Gualtieri will still remain alive in every one of his fans’ hearts.

Also Read: The Godfather Part III Ending Explained: The Guilt Trip Of Michael

About The Author

  • Sanjana Waingankar

    Hi there, my name is Sanjana from Mumbai, and I work as a dedicated content writer during the week and as an enthusiastic social worker on weekends. You can find me writing content related to Hollywood and entertainment. Get in touch with me at sanjanawaingankar.27@gmail.com.

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