Joey Zasa

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Joey Zasa
Joey Zasa
Joe Mantegna portraying Joey Zasa
First appearance The Godfather Part III
Last appearance The Godfather Part III
Created by Mario Puzo & Francis Ford Coppola
Portrayed by Joe Mantegna
Nickname(s) Spotlight Zasa
Gender Male
Occupation Gangster

Joey Zasa is a fictional character appearing in The Godfather Part III. He was portrayed by Joe Mantegna.[1][2] He is based on a mix of three real Mafia members: Joseph Colombo, Joe Gallo and John Gotti.

Character overview[edit]

Zasa is a longtime member of Corleone capo Peter Clemenza's regime. Following Ritchie Nobilio's retirement, successor to Frank Pentangeli (Michael V. Gazzo) in The Godfather Part II, Zasa assumes control over the Corleone family business in New York with approval from the Commission and Michael Corleone (Al Pacino). Zasa is feared and, to a certain degree, respected among his peers in the New York underworld for his business acumen and utter ruthlessness. However, his flamboyance and hunger for publicity earns Michael's displeasure, as it attracts unwanted public attention to Michael's criminal past when he is attempting to reforge his public image. Michael especially disapproves of Zasa's eagerness to enter the drug trade, and Michael distances himself from him.

In the film[edit]

In The Godfather Part III, Zasa first appears at a reception honoring Michael. He gets into an argument with Vincent Mancini (Andy García), the illegitimate son of Michael's long-dead brother Sonny. Zasa calls Vincent a bastard in Michael's presence, prompting the enraged young man to bite Zasa's ear. Zasa subsequently hires two assassins to kill Vincent, but Vincent quickly dispatches both.

Later in the film, Zasa participates in a plot to assassinate Michael during a meeting with the various Dons in Atlantic City, New Jersey. During the meeting, Michael insults Zasa, prompting him to storm out; moments later, a helicopter containing gunmen hovers above the room and guns down nearly everyone inside. Michael escapes, but nearly every other Don is killed. The survivors make deals with Zasa.

Several days later, Vincent assassinates Zasa in Bensonhurst during a street festival. Vincent's men and Michael's personal assassin Al Neri (disguised as members of the church procession) kill Zasa's bodyguards, while Vincent (disguised as an NYPD Mounted Patrol officer) shoots Zasa as he attempts to escape.