User:CowboySpartan/List of The Godfather characters
- 1 Corleone family
- 2 Corleone allies
- 2.1 Genco Abbandando
- 2.2 Luca Brasi
- 2.3 Willi Cicci
- 2.4 Peter Clemenza
- 2.5 Sam Drago
- 2.6 B.J. Harrison
- 2.7 Carmine Marino
- 2.8 Rocco Lampone
- 2.9 Tony Molinari
- 2.10 Sal Narducci
- 2.11 Al Neri
- 2.12 Tommy Neri
- 2.13 Ritchie Nobilio
- 2.14 Eddie Paradise
The Corleone family is a fictional Sicilian Mafia family settled in New York City. The family was created by Mario Puzo and appears in his 1969 novel The Godfather, as well as the acclaimed film trilogy of the same name directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The family was founded by Vito Corleone (born Vito Andolini), who was from Corleone, Sicily, in Italy. Upon arriving in America, Vito was renamed Vito Corleone by immigration officers at Ellis Island.
Vito Andolini Corleone is the head of the Corleone crime family, the most powerful Mafia family in the New York City area. He is depicted as an ambitious Sicilian immigrant who moves to the Hell's Kitchen area of west-central Manhattan and builds a Mafia empire, yet retains (and strictly adheres to) his own personal code of honor. Upon his death at the end of the novel, his youngest son, Michael, becomes the Don. Vito Corleone has two other sons, Sonny and Fredo, and a daughter, Connie, all of whom play major roles in the story. He also informally adopts another son, Tom Hagen, who grows up to become the Family's consigliere.
Michael Corleone is the youngest son of Don Vito Corleone (played by Marlon Brando in The Godfather and Robert De Niro in The Godfather Part II). He is the younger brother of Santino "Sonny" (James Caan) and Frederico "Fredo" (John Cazale), and the older brother of Constanzia "Connie" (Talia Shire).
Genco Abbandando is a fictional character from the novel The Godfather by Mario Puzo, and the film adaptations The Godfather and The Godfather Part II. He serves as Don Vito Corleone's first consigliere for 20 years until he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. As Genco's health worsens he is replaced by Don Corleone's adopted son, the German-Irish Tom Hagen. In the beginning of the novel, Don Corleone brings his sons and Johnny Fontane to visit Genco in the hospital immediately after Connie Corleone's wedding, and Genco half-jokingly asks the Don to frighten death away. In the film adaptation, Don Corleone's visit to Genco's deathbed is featured as a deleted scene. Hours after the Don's visit, Genco passes away.
Genco and Vito's friendship as young men in Hell's Kitchen, New York is elaborated in both the novel and The Godfather Part II. Genco befriends Vito after the latter's arrival in New York and the Abbandando family helps young Vito as he grows up and employs him in the family grocery store. After Don Fanucci forces Genco's father to hire his nephew and fire Vito, the two go their separate ways until Vito decides to start a business importing olive oil from Italy. He asks Genco to help him start the business, and in honor of his friendship with Genco, Vito names the company "Genco Pura Olive Oil Company." Using the company as a front for his growing crime syndicate, Vito eventually designates Genco as his consigliere.
In both the novel and the films, Genco is portrayed as a shrewd and wise consigliere. When Hagen counsels patience to Sonny Corleone after the Don returns from the hospital, Sonny upbraids him by saying, "If I had a wartime consigliere, a Sicilian, I wouldn't be in this shape! Pop had Genco, look what I got." In the novel, Hagen himself often regards Genco as the superior consigliere to the family.
In The Godfather Part II, the part of Genco is played by Frank Sivero.
Luca Brasi is one of Don Vito Corleone's personal enforcers. Brasi is portrayed as slow-witted and brutish, but his ruthlessness and his unwavering loyalty to Don Corleone means he is both feared and respected. Fluent in Italian and able to handle himself in any fight, he has a dark reputation among the underworld as a savage killer. Vito Corleone describes Luca Brasi (and later Al Neri) as a "man who goes around life with a sign that says 'kill me' painted on, this makes everyone want to kill him, but yet no one can. Eventually this man finds someone who he doesn't want to kill and fears that this man will be the one to kill him".
At his sister Connie's wedding, Michael Corleone tells his girlfriend Kay Adams the story of how Don Corleone helped his godson Johnny Fontane. Michael explains that his father went to convince Les Halley, the bandleader, to release Johnny from a personal service contract that was holding back Johnny's singing career. Halley refuses the initial offer of $20,000. Don Corleone returns the next day with Genco Abbandando, his consigliere, and Luca Brasi. Vito holds a gun to Halley's head while telling him that either his brains or his signature will be on the contract. The terrified bandleader signs a release for only $10,000 within an hour.
Don Corleone entered the negotiations personally. He offered Les Halley twenty thousand dollars to release Johnny Fontane from the personal services contract. Halley offered to take only fifty percent of Johnny’s earnings. Don Corleone was amused. He dropped his offer from twenty thousand dollars to ten thousand dollars. The band leader, obviously not a man of the world outside his beloved show business, completely missed the significance of this lower offer. He refused.
The next day Don Corleone went to see the band leader personally. He brought with him his two best friends, Genco Abbandando, who was his Consigliere, and Luca Brasi. With no other witnesses Don Corleone persuaded Les Halley to sign a document giving up all rights to all services from Johnny Fontane upon payment of a certified check to the amount of ten thousand dollars. Don Corleone did this by putting a pistol to the forehead of the band leader and assuring him with the utmost seriousness that either his signature or his brains would rest on that document in exactly one minute. Les Halley signed. Don Corleone pocketed his pistol and handed over the certified check.
Shortly before Vito Corleone is shot, Brasi (on Vito Corleone's instructions) intends to draw out drug lord Virgil Sollozzo and the rest of the Don's enemies. Brasi then meets with Bruno Tattaglia, the son of one of the Don's rival bosses, Philip Tattaglia. Sollozzo shows up, and after promises of friendship and a job offer, grabs one of Luca's hands while Bruno Tattaglia holds the other one. An assassin then garrotes him from behind. Brasi's body is thrown into the sea.
In the book, the text reads: “Sonny lit a cigar and took a shot of whiskey. Michael, bewildered, said. 'What the hell does that fish mean?' It was Tom Hagen the Irisher, the Consigliere, who answered him. 'The fish means that Luca Brasi is sleeping on the bottom of the ocean,' he said. 'It’s an old Sicilian message.'”
In the novel, it is said that Brasi could commit a murder all by himself, without help, which made a criminal conviction almost impossible. He is also known for killing, in two weeks, six men who attempted to kill Don Corleone.
In the novel, Michael learns that, years earlier, Brasi had impregnated a young Irish prostitute and later murdered her. On the day of his daughter's birth, he forced the midwife, under pain of death, to hurl the child into a furnace, an act for which she never forgave herself. The midwife, who describes Brasi as an unholy demon, went to Don Corleone for protection, and he covered up Brasi's crime. With this, the Don earned Brasi's undying service and loyalty.
Another early incident involved Brasi killing off two of Al Capone's henchmen hired to kill Don Corleone. Brasi subdued both of them and tied and gagged them with towels stuffed in their mouths. He then hacked one of them to pieces with an axe. When he went to finish off the other one, he found that the man had gone through a shock convulsion and choked to death on the towel.
In other media
It is also briefly mentioned in Mark Winegardner's 2004 sequel The Godfather Returns that Luca Brasi himself killed Jack Woltz's prized racehorse Khartoum and delivered its head into his bedroom. In the video game, however, the horse is killed by Rocco Lampone and Aldo Trapani.
Luca Brasi appears early on in The Godfather: The Game. Luca is assigned by the Godfather to rescue the protagonist, Aldo Trapani, from a brutal gang and train him. Luca functions as a "trainer" for the player, showing how to perform various game functions, such as shooting and punching. The player is a witness to Brasi's eventual death and must escape in order to inform the family.
Luca is also mentioned by Michael Corleone in the video game version of The Godfather Part II, where the player, Dominic, acquires Luca's old apartment.
Cicci began working for the "Genco Olive Oil Company" in 1942. However, in reality he is a top enforcer for the Corleone family, working under longtime caporegime Peter Clemenza. He is introduced in The Godfather standing by a piano amid a group of Corleone soldiers who have "gone to mattresses" (in between battles) during the war between the Corleones and the Tattaglias (in the montage of scenes after Michael Corleone's assassination of McCluskey and Sollozzo). On the day of Michael's nephew's baptism, Cicci assassinates Don Carmine Cuneo in the revolving doors at the St. Regis Hotel after he gets a haircut and shave at the hotel's barber shop while waiting for Cuneo to appear. Later, Cicci tells Sal Tessio that Michael will not be travelling to the meeting as arranged by Tessio as part of a plan to have Michael killed. He then disarms Tessio after he realizes that Michael has found out about his treachery. He is not specifically named in the first film.
In The Godfather Part II, when the Corleone family moves to Nevada in 1955, Cicci remains in New York City, working for Clemenza and his successor, Frank Pentangeli, apparently as the latter's bodyguard and right-hand man. In 1958, when The Godfather Part II begins, he goes with Pentangeli to Anthony Corleone's First Communion in Lake Tahoe and expresses his suspicions about Clemenza's death, supposedly of a heart attack. After the party, Cicci is seen with Pentangeli back in New York when the latter is nearly killed by the Rosato brothers. Cicci opens fire on the Rosatos, but he is struck by a car and severely injured.
He apparently recovers, and joins Pentangeli in testifying against Michael at the Senate hearings on organized crime. He appears nervous and confused at the Senate hearings, reluctant to spell out exactly what euphemisms like "soldier" and "button" mean, having to have the meaning of the word "behest" explained to him by his lawyer, and wrongly addressing the Senate lawyer Questadt as "Senator" and an actual Senator as "counselor". His testimony is damning; he states that Michael not only killed Virgil Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey in 1947, but planned his mass slaughter of the other New York Dons as early as 1950. However, he never received orders directly from Michael. The committee called Pentangeli as a surprise witness to corroborate Cicci's testimony, since there is no insulation between Michael and himself. However, Michael called in Pentangeli's brother, Vincenzo, to intimidate Pentangeli into silence, and the case against Michael fell apart.
Willi Cicci was originally intended to be one of the major characters in The Godfather Part III, but was written out and replaced by the character of Joey Zasa following the sudden death of actor Joe Spinell in early 1989, before any filming was to begin.
Peter Clemenza starts off as one of Don Vito Corleone's caporegimes and oldest friends, as well as the godfather of his eldest son, Sonny. He has a reputation as a superb judge of talent; his crew produced no fewer than five future capos — Sonny, Frank Pentangeli, Rocco Lampone, Al Neri and Joey Zasa.
He is a supporting character in the story, but a few of his actions are important to the plot. For example, he is ordered by Don Corleone, via consigliere Tom Hagen, to handle the beating of two teenage boys who assaulted the daughter of undertaker Amerigo Bonasera, Mrs. Corleone's god-daughter, and escaped punishment for it. Clemenza then assigns his "button man" Paulie Gatto to the job, who then recruits two former professional boxers turned Corleone Family loan enforcers to assist. (A deleted scene from the film depicts Gatto delivering the reprimand.)
When the family finds out that Gatto helped Virgil Sollozzo and the Tattaglia Family set up Vito to be assassinated, Sonny orders Clemenza to kill him. Clemenza considers Gatto's actions to be a personal insult, having personally groomed him, and is more than happy to have him taken out. According to the novel, Sonny Corleone initially suspects Clemenza of being a part of the conspiracy, but Clemenza is eventually cleared. He decides to use Lampone, then an associate, on the hit to give him a chance to "make his bones." In order to lull Gatto into a false sense of security, Clemenza and Lampone drive around in a car with him for at least two days (backing out of the drive, Clemenza asks Gatto to "mind the kids" - it is not specified whether or not these are Clemenza's children) looking for good sites where Corleone men can hide out on mattresses in the imminent war. After Lampone kills Gatto, Clemenza - who has left the car to relieve himself - utters (to Lampone) his most famous line in the movie: "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli."
When Vito's youngest son, Michael, offers to kill both Sollozzo and Police Captain McCluskey, who is on Sollozzo's payroll, Clemenza teaches him how to use the gun and instructs him on how to act in order to allay Sollozzo's suspicions and what to do after the killing. The plan succeeds, and while Michael hides out in Sicily, Clemenza prepares for an all-out war against the remaining four families. The war ultimately claims Sonny's life, and Vito re-assumes leadership following the assassination. Upon his return to New York, Michael is appointed head of the family, but Clemenza and fellow caporegime Salvatore Tessio, unsatisfied with the way things are going, request that they be given permission to break off from the Corleone family to start their own families. Michael accepts, only after their business is over. When Michael is again targeted for assassination by Don Emilio Barzini, who was behind Sonny's murder, Clemenza is initially one of the two primary suspects of being the Corleone family traitor, but it is later revealed to be Tessio, who is killed for his treachery. Clemenza, on Michael's orders, personally murders both Don Victor Stracci and Carlo Rizzi, Michael's brother-in-law, who conspired with Barzini to kill Sonny. He is last seen in the film greeting Michael as "Don Corleone" and kissing Michael's hand.
Clemenza appears briefly in Puzo's second Godfather installment, The Sicilian. He meets with Michael during his exile in Sicily, at his brother Domenic Clemenza's home in Trapani. They discuss what the fate of Turi Giuliano is to be, following the orders of a recovering Vito Corleone. Clemenza tells Michael that he should report to him after a week, with or without Giuliano, and that Michael could return to America afterward. Clemenza then leaves on a boat to Tunis, telling Michael that he would be back the following day to bring him back to date with the Don's orders.
The Godfather Returns
Clemenza's gradual takeover of the Corleone empire in New York is briefly covered in The Godfather Returns, Mark Winegardner's sequel to Puzo's original novel. It also tells of Clemenza's involvement during Michael's return from exile and eventual, official initiation into the Corleone crime family. Most noteworthy, the novel depicts Clemenza's fatal heart attack (mentioned in The Godfather Part II), and the many conspiracy theories that he had actually been murdered by the Rosato Brothers, enemies of the Corleone Family.
The Godfather Part II
Clemenza does not appear in the present timeline of the film due to a disagreement between Castellano and Paramount Studios; it is explained that he died some time ago and was replaced by his soldier, Frank Pentangeli, as Don of the Corleone Family's New York operations.
Clemenza, however, appears in several flashbacks focusing on Vito Corleone's early days, played by Bruno Kirby. He first meets Vito when asking him to hide some guns for him from the police. Vito does so, and Clemenza repays the favor by stealing an expensive carpet (assisted by a surprised Vito) and giving it to the Corleones for their apartment. Around the same time, Vito and Clemenza befriend a young Tessio. One of their lines of business is selling stolen dresses door-to-door; a deleted scene depicts Clemenza charming his way into the apartment of a young housewife and emerging a little later having presumably had sex with her; it is not specified in the film whether Clemenza is himself married at the time.
Later on, the trio's partnership is discovered by the local blackhander, Don Fanucci, who attempts to extort them. Clemenza initially demands that they pay Fanucci to avoid any problems with him, but Vito talks him and Tessio into paying him less money. Shortly thereafter, Vito himself kills Fanucci and takes over the neighborhood--the beginnings of the future Corleone family. Later on, Clemenza and Tessio accompany Vito and his family to his hometown of Corleone, Sicily, where they aid Vito and his friend, Tommasino, in murdering the local mafia chieftain, Don Ciccio, who had killed Vito's entire family when he was just a boy. Tommasino is shot and crippled in the ensuing gun battle, but nonetheless succeeds Ciccio as mafia boss in Corleone. Clemenza and Tessio then return to New York with the Corleones.
Video game version
The video game title The Godfather: The Game depicts Clemenza as his movie counterpart; Castellano's estate gave permission for his likeness to be used in the game. However, due to Castellano's death in 1988, all of Clemenza's dialogue had to be recorded by Jason Schombing. In the game, he becomes partners and good friends with Aldo Trapani, and gives him several missions, such as killing members of rival families, particularly the Cuneo Family.
The novel explains that he studied to become a painter in Italy. His father, Vittorio Drago, was the Don of the Florida syndicate. Much like Michael Corleone, Salvatore was initially reluctant to join the "family business", but was compelled to do so to help his father, who was under serious pressure from Commissioner of Sicily Cesare Mori.
In 1954, Sam Drago becomes the don of the Florida syndicate. Under him, there are rarely any arguments between rival Families and peace is maintained through Tampa. He vouches for his old friend Carlo Tramonti.
"Silent Sam" Drago is based on longtime Tampa Mafia don Santo Trafficante, Jr.
B.J. Harrison was the Corleone crime family's legal and financial adviser, who took over the role from Tom Hagen in the 1970s. However, he never officially achieved the role of consigliere, as he did not have a Sicilian background although he did handle aspects of the business relating to the mafia. Although his predecessor, Hagen, was of German-Irish descent, he had been adopted into the family like a son, unlike Harrison. Harrison represented Don Michael Corleone's desire to legitimize the Corleone family.
Harrison performed most of the negotiations with the owners of International Immobiliare, and was frustrated by the sly Licio Lucchesi and Frederick Keinszig and the inept nature of Archbishop Gilday. Harrison was present with Michael Corleone and his family at the Teatro Massimo when Mary Corleone was killed in a failed assassination attempt on Michael.
Robert Duvall refused to reprise his role in the production of The Godfather Part III as Tom Hagen, due to salary disputes, hence why Francis Ford Coppola, director of The Godfather trilogy, created the Harrison character.
Marino came into America in 1956 to be a hostage held by Donnie Bags, Eddie Paradise, and Momo Barone. He plays cards with them in a building being supervised by caporegime Rocco Lampone. He immediately bonds with his captors, and is "made" into their crime family shortly thereafter.
He is trained by Nick Geraci for several years in the swamps of New Jersey, supervised by the Stracci family. His target was the Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, whom president James Shea personally wants dead. He leaves for Cuba in the summer of 1961, and stays there for another year to become familiar with the place.
In June 1962, female assassins provide him with supplies he needs to kill Castro. He goes up in a tower and fires on Castro from his motorcade, killing him. It turns out, however, that the "Castro" Marino shot was a body double.
Marino disguises himself a woman to escape Cuba, but Cuban authorities capture him before he can escape. They torture him, but he refuses to say who had hired him. Finally in 1963, the CIA kills Marino to keep him from revealing information. The hit is organized by CIA agent Joe Lucadello.
Lampone is an associate of Peter Clemenza. When Clemenza is assigned to kill the treacherous Paulie Gatto in The Godfather, he decides to give Lampone a chance to "make his bones." Clemenza and Lampone drive Gatto to a remote spot near New York, making him think they're scouting out places to live in case Sonny orders them to "go to the mattresses." While Clemenza is waiting outside the automobile, Lampone kills Gatto with three bullets to the head.
Lampone rises quickly in the Corleone family. After Michael Corleone takes over the family, he makes Lampone a caporegime. On the advice of Vito Corleone, Michael puts together a secret regime for Lampone, but makes sure that it is eventually discovered by Tom Hagen. Later in the film, Lampone and another unnamed associate kill Philip Tattaglia in his bed, and his men play a role in the wave of murders that cements Michael's power.
He subsequently moves to Nevada with the family and arranges security for the Lake Tahoe compound; he is, however, unable to prevent the attempt on Michael's life by two mobsters hired by Michael's rival Hyman Roth, and allowed in by fellow conspirator Fredo Corleone. When the time comes to take revenge on Roth, Rocco opines that assassinating him would be "difficult, not impossible", and is personally entrusted with the hit. Disguised as a reporter, Rocco successfully approaches Roth at Miami Airport and shoots him, but despite the ensuing panic and confusion, he is in turn shot and killed by FBI agents while fleeing the scene.
In other media
Rocco appears in Mark Winegardner's sequel novel The Godfather Returns. However, there is a slight discrepancy in the novel, as it states that Lampone is missing a kneecap (as a result of his participation in the North Africa campaign during World War II) and has been using a cane since. This is not directly seen nor mentioned in any of the movies or the original novel. Though Lampone does have a limp in both films, no background is given as to why.
Molinari is the head of the Molinari family, and is allied with the Corleone family during the Five Families war depicted in the first novel. Molinari controls the numbers rackets and whorehouses in San Francisco.
He is born in Cleveland, Ohio; future mob boss Vincent Forlenza is his childhood best friend. As an adult, he runs half of the gambling rackets in Cleveland. By 1931, he and Forlenza have killed off the competition and become the most powerful gambling syndicate in the U.S.. By the 1940s, he is feared for his temper; he is known to stab people in the back (literally and figuratively.)
By the early 1950s, Narducci is growing suspicious of Forlenza and starts plotting against him. In 1955, he orders a sachel containing a bomb delivered to a plane carrying Nick Geraci, Frankie Falcone, and Tony Molinari. Falcone and Molinari are killed in the explosion, but Geraci survives. Narducci visits him in a private hospital and tells him that Forlenza was behind it.
In 1956, Geraci finds out that Narduci is a spy for Michael Corleone, and goes to Forlenza. Geraci and Forlenza plot to kill him and Hyman Roth, thereby strengthening the Chicago Mob and destroying the Corleones' operation in Cuba.
By 1959, Narducci is lured to a meeting in Sicily and ambushed by Geraci and several others. They hang him from the top of a cave and leave him there.
In the novel
In the novel The Godfather, Neri begins his career as a New York City patrolman, where he earns a reputation for a fierce temper, quick reflexes, and tremendous physical strength. He frequently patrols with a large flashlight, which he uses to great effect, either cracking the foreheads of Italian youths who run with gangs or shattering the windshields of diplomats who show no regard for traffic or parking laws. After his wife leaves him in fear of his temper, he kills a drug dealer and pimp by shattering his skull with the flashlight, and is convicted of manslaughter. Neri's defense at trial for this act was that he was taught at the police academy that black people had thicker skulls than whites or Italians.
Tom Hagen and Pete Clemenza see in him a potential replacement for Luca Brasi, Vito Corleone's feared enforcer, and arrange for his release from prison. Michael, appealing to Neri's sense of loyalty and Sicilian roots, recruits him into Clemenza's regime. Pete Clemenza initially impressed by the ferocity that Neri displayed in their first meeting. Neri later "made his bones" and became Michael's chief lieutenant by personally performing the murders of Moe Greene and Emilio Barzini on Michael's behalf. After Salvatore Tessio is killed for attempting to betray Michael, Neri takes over as caporegime of Tessio's former regime. When Michael and his family move to Nevada, Neri becomes head of security for all hotels controlled by the Corleones.
In the film series
In the film version of The Godfather, Neri's story prior to becoming a made man is not mentioned. He does not say a word in the first film and following Michael's return from exile in Sicily, Neri becomes his bodyguard, accompanying him everywhere. In the famous "baptism sequence," Neri (disguised in a police officer's uniform) guns down Barzini and his bodyguards on the steps of a courthouse, much as he does in the novel. However, the murder of Greene, which occurs simultaneously, is handled by another, anonymous gunman.
In The Godfather Part II, Neri is seen to be Michael's unofficial second-in-command in his operations in Nevada. He is given the designation of capo (along with Rocco Lampone and Frank Pentangeli) on a flowchart of the Corleone family created for the government. On Michael's orders, he arranges for Senator Pat Geary, a powerful Nevada politician, to go to bed with a prostitute employed by the Corleones, then murders her so as to make Geary think he did it in an alcoholic blackout, thus ensuring his loyalty. Neri also carries out the murder of Michael's brother Fredo, under Michael's orders. While out fishing together on Lake Tahoe, as Fredo recites a "Hail Mary," Neri shoots him in the back of the head.
By the time of The Godfather Part III, with Michael's decision to "go legitimate" by selling off his casino interests and handing over control his rackets to former subordinate Joey Zasa, Neri continues to serve as his bodyguard, the only holdover from Michael's criminal operations. When Zasa betrays Michael and attempts to have him murdered at a meeting of the Commission in Atlantic City, it is Neri who saves Michael from an assault that kills all the other bosses still in attendance, and later helps Michael's nephew, Vincent Mancini, to plan Zasa's murder. When Michael transfers control of the family to Vincent, telling him to call himself "Vincent Corleone," Neri is the second to pledge his loyalty, after Calo, the former bodyguard of Don Tommasino. In the closing scenes of the film, Vincent calls upon Neri's skills one last time, sending him to infiltrate Vatican City, where he guns down the corrupt Archbishop Gilday and tosses his body down a spiral staircase.
In other media
In Mark Winegardner's novel The Godfather's Revenge, Neri and his nephew take part in an attempt to obtain information from Nick Geraci's father. He is seriously wounded in the final shootout at the end of the novel.
The original novel explains Tommy Neri's backstory. He was born to Rita Neri and an unnamed father in an apartment in the Bronx. He grew up in the same neighborhood as Peter Clemenza. He was also frequently beat by his uncle, Al Neri, for his disrespect toward his mother. He never accepted that his uncle was a cop, and became a criminal just to spite him. He also wanted his 'button' but was told to wait until the right time.
In 1955, he became a 'made man' in the Corleone family under Michael Corleone at a hotel/casino ballroom owned by the family, with others. He was placed in the regime of Rocco Lampone and served him faithfully. The later novels explain he also becomes a heroin addict around this time. He is placed in Ritchie Nobilio's regime after Rocco Lampone is killed in 1959.
In The Godfather Returns, he is placed in charge of finding Nick Geraci. He makes no significant progress with finding Geraci, although he does look in Cleveland and gets tips from the C.I.A. He and his uncle Al torture and kill Nick Geraci's father.
Clemenza had sent him to kill a man who had refused Clemenza's favors. He arrives armed with a silencer, which he discovers is empty. In the ensuing struggle, he knocks the man down and kills him with a gun he finds in a whiskey bottle on the man's desk. He is known from then on as 'Ritchie Lucky' and 'Ritchie-Two-Guns'.
In 1955, he becomes a made man and enters Clemenza's regime. After Clemenza's death in 1958, he joins Frank Pentangeli's regime. After Pentangeli commits suicide in 1959, Nobilio becomes the new caporegime. From then on, he is Michael Corleone's top earner.
Eddie Paradise grew up in the same neighborhood as friend as fellow Soldato Cosimo 'Momo' Barone. He was 'made' after Geraci took over the regime of Salvatore Tessio. He was recognized as a tough enforcer for the family.
Paradise got his nickname, "the turtle", as in "slow and steady wins the race".
He is never put in charge in the effort to locate Geraci, but rather is made to keep an eye on Barone. In 1963, he is put in charge of a commission meeting on his territory, the BQE expressway. After the police arrest Tom Hagen, everybody blames Paradise for the misfortune.
In 1964, Geraci is lured to a meeting that he thinks will make him the boss of the Corleone family. It is an ambush, however; Paradise is forced to kill Geraci and Barone. He then regains his standing in the family.