Salvatore Bonpensiero was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1946, the son of Lino Bonpensiero and the brother of Edward Bonpensiero. He started out as a cat burglar, earning him the nickname "Big Pussy". He married his wife Angela in 1976, having three children with her. Bonpensiero worked for Johnny Soprano and became good friends with his son Tony Soprano, backing his wishes to become a capo in the DiMeo crime family in 1986. Bonpensiero was later forced to become an FBI informant to avoid 30 years to life in prison for heroin trafficking. Soprano began to suspect Bonpenseiro after he showed up late to a meeting and showed up to a Christmas celebration drunk and touchy, and the dirty cop Vin Makazian told Soprano that Bonpensiero was a rat. Paulie Gualtieri investigated this tip, but after Jimmy Altieri was killed for being a rat, the heat was taken off Bonpensiero. In 2000, he started lying to his FBI handler, and he had to murder his acquaintance Jimmy Bones to prevent Bones from revealing his status as an informant. Bonpensiero, a veteran family member, was angered when Furio Giunta was made a soldier alongside Bonpensiero as Gualtieri became a capo and Silvio Dante became consigliere. Bonpensiero would later track down Matthew Bevilacqua after the shooting of Christopher Moltisanti, and Bonpensiero and Soprano both killed Bevilacqua.
Bonpensiero ratted out Soprano for his airline ticket scam and for the murder of Bevilacqua, and Soprano discovered Bonpensiero's involvement with the FBI after finding a wire in a cigar box in his home. Soprano organized a hit on Bonpensiero on a boat, with Gualtieri and Dante joining Soprano on the boat. They had one last toast to the good times and Bonpensiero, sensing that he was about to be shot, asked his friends to not shoot him in the face, as he wanted an open-coffin funeral. His friends hesitated at first, but as he asked to sit down, his friends shot him several times with pistols.