The hit HBO series The Sopranos was packed with vicious mobsters and one of those was Paul “Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri. The often violent Paulie earned the nickname “Walnuts” after hijacking a truck that the thought contained TV sets, only to discover it had nothing but walnuts. Paulie also grew a lot in the series, rising from soldier to capo and eventually the under-boss of the DiMeo crime family.
Interestingly, Tony Sirico (the actor who portrayed Paulie) had initially auditioned for the role of Uncle Junior. After liking his performance so much, series creator David Chase offered him the role of Paulie. Of course, Paulie would go on to have the highest kill count in the show, though murder wouldn’t be the worst thing he even did.
Torturing A Hotel Owner
By the first season, Paulie was already a key member of Tony’s crew. As a member of the mob, he didn’t believe in going the venture capitalist way while trying to make himself and his boss shareholders in a business.
In Season One’s third episode “”Denial, Anger, Acceptance”, Paulie tortured a hotel owner named Ariel so that he could relinquish 25% of his business to the DiMeo crime family. Despite taking a beating, Ariel still wasn’t willing to give away part of his business. And so, Paulie threatened him with castration and that got the job done.
Bribing A Soccer Coach
In Season One’s ninth episode “Boca,” a teacher who coached soccer to Tonny’s daughter Meadow and other girls, was planning to move to a new school that had doubled his salary. Tony and his crew learned about it in the papers, so they vowed to make sure the coach didn’t go anywhere.
They tried to talk him into staying, but he wanted to hear none of it. Paulie then delivered a 50-inch TV that the crew had robbed from a truck to the coach’s house and forced him to take it and stay. When he refused, they set him to be arrested by the cops.
When Paulie was promoted to a capo, he made a habit of constantly harassing Christopher. He subjected the young mobster to random strip searches, thus making it impossible for Chris to be comfortable around him.
Chris even reported Paulie to Tony for inappropriately sniffing Adriana’s underwear. Paulie was thus forced to apologize. When he was alone with Chris, he harassed him again and warned him to never repeat the mistake of reporting him to Tony.
In Season 3’s eleventh episode “Pine Barrens,” Tonny ordered Paulie and Chris to go collect money from Russian mobster Valery. The mobster paid the money as asked but when he asked Paulie to be careful with his furniture, Paulie got angry and beat him up before chocking him with a lamp.
Thinking he was dead, Paulie tried to dispose his body in the woods, only for Valery to knock both he and Chris out before running. A brief chase ensued before Paulie shot Valery in the head. When Tony heard about the incident, he was extremely mad.
Getting Jealous Of Ralphie
Ralphie showed up in Season 3 and threatened to outshine Paulie as Tony’s favorite subordinate. Prior to that, he is said to have been in Miami overseeing the DiMeo family’s real estate businesses.
Ralphie was bringing in much more money to the family because he had ties to the labor unions, so when Tony granted Ralphie $12,000 out of a $100,000 robbery, Paulie completely lost it because Ralphie had been given so much more. He even tried to get Ralphie killed by telling Johnny Sack that Ralphie had made a bad joke about Ginny Sack’s weight.
Suffocating His Mother’s Friend
Later in Season 4, Paulie broke into the home of an elderly woman who also happened to be his mother’s friend and tried to steal all her life savings. When she caught him in the act, he was unable to explain himself. Since she knew him, she threatened to tell his mother about it.
When it was clear that he wanted to attack her, she tried to run but he caught up with her, knocked her to the ground and suffocated her with a small pillow. He then took the money and gave it to Tony in order to make the boss favor him once again.
Shooting A Waiter Over A Bill
In Season 5, the tensions between Paulie and Chris got even worse. One night while having dinner in Atlantic City, Paulie told everyone to order whatever they wanted and tried to make Chris pay for it. The bill came to $1,200 and Chris refused to pay, forcing the waiter to come out and confront them as they were arguing.
Chris then hit the waiter before Paulie decided to just go ahead and kill him. He then grabbed the bill and ran away. This was a baffling decision because the high bill was all his fault. The scene also echoed that of Tommy DeVito’s refusal to pay a bill in Goodfellas.
Withholding Money From Heists
After Paulie was made the under-boss of the DiMeo crime family, he became very greedy. When Tony was in a coma, Paulie and Cary DiBartolo took part in a heist that earned them $1,000,000. The money was to be divided between Paulie, Tony, and Vito.
Even though Vito was the one who had come up with information about the heist, Paulie tried to keep some of Vito’s share. Tony’s share was also to be given to Carmela but Paulie hesitated to do so, thinking that Tony was about to die anyway. Unfortunately for him, Tony survived.
Being Homophobic Towards Vito
When the secret about Vito’s sexuality came to light, Paulie was one of the people who condemned him the most. He constantly stated how he’d love to see Vito dead, while Tony was more sympathetic towards Vito.
Vito came up with a good proposal to run the family’s businesses in Atlantic City. He also lied that his sexuality wasn’t real and it was only caused by medication. Tony was considering letting him run the businesses but he reconsidered after realizing that other members would disrespect him for letting Vito live.
Refusing To Attend His Biological Mother’s Funeral
In the Season 6 episode titled “The Fleshy Part of the Thigh”, Paulie discovered that Nucci was his aunt and not his mother. As it turns out, the nun Aunt Dotty was his biological mother. A soldier had impregnated her during World War II, so she decided to hide the pregnancy to avoid being kicked out of the church. Nucci raised Paulie to help Aunt Dotty hide the scandal from the church.
Paulie became so angry that he refused to attend Aunt Dotty’s funeral when she died. While such a hostile reaction to an earth-shattering revelation is understandable, Paulie refusing to give his biological mother her last respects out of spite was still really low of him.