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Constanzia "Connie" Corleone is a fictional character in The Godfather, a novel by Mario Puzo and the 1972 film The Godfather. In the film, Connie is portrayed by Talia Shire, the sister of the director Francis Ford Coppola. Shire was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Connie Corleone in The Godfather Part II.[1]

Connie Corleone
First appearanceThe Godfather
Last appearanceThe Godfather's Revenge
Information
NicknameConnie
GenderFemale
FamilyCorleone family
SpouseCarlo Rizzi (deceased; 1945-1955)
Unnamed 2nd Husband (divorced)
Merle Johnson? (divorced)
ChildrenVictor Rizzi
Michael Francis Rizzi
RelativesFrancesca Corleone (niece)
Kathryn Corleone (niece)
Frank Corleone (nephew)
Santino Corleone Jr.(nephew)
Vincent Corleone (nephew)
Anthony Corleone (nephew)
Mary Corleone (niece)
FatherVito Corleone
MotherCarmela Corleone
BrothersSonny Corleone
Fredo Corleone
Michael Corleone
Tom Hagen (adopted brother)

Contents

The GodfatherEdit

Born in 1925, Connie is the youngest child and only daughter of Mafia don Vito Corleone and his wife Carmela. She is the sister of Sonny, Fredo and Michael Corleone. In 1945, she marries Sonny's friend Carlo Rizzi.[2] Vito disapproves the match, and only agrees to the marriage on condition they have a traditional Sicilian wedding.

Puzo characterizes Carlo as "a punk sore at the world", and his angry behavior is exacerbated by the Corleone family shunting him aside after marrying into the family. He physically abuses and cheats on Connie. On their wedding night, he blackens Connie's eye when she refuses to give up the bridal purse containing thousands of dollars in cash wedding gifts.

Connie complains about Carlo's abuse to her family. Her brothers despise Carlo for mistreating their sister; Sonny is particularly enraged. Vito refuses to intervene and he strictly forbids anyone in the family from retaliating against Carlo. Connie is hurt and confused by this seeming indifference. Vito, however, is concerned, but feels powerless; Italian tradition forbids interfering in another person's marriage, and Vito worries his son-in-law will be unable to discharge his "duties as a husband" if he fears the family. Vito instead has Carlo secretly watched. This perceived inaction only emboldened Carlo to become more abusive. Sonny obeys his father's command not to interfere until he visits Connie and finds her sobbing and battered. Sonny severely beats Carlo in the street, threatening to kill him if he hurts Connie again.

Rival mob boss Emilio Barzini recruits Carlo in a plot to murder Sonny. Carlo arranges for his mistress to call the apartment to provoke a fight with Connie. After Carlo severely beats Connie, she hysterically phones the Corleone compound. An enraged Sonny drives off alone to Connie's apartment, his bodyguards following in a separate car. At the causeway toll booth, Sonny is ambushed and killed by Barzini's Tommy gun-wielding men.

Michael returns from Sicily and assumes Sonny's place as Vito's heir apparent. Following Vito's death, Michael becomes the new Don and avenges Sonny's murder by having Carlo garroted by caporegime Peter Clemenza, one part of a wave of murders orchestrated by Vito and Michael to eliminate their enemies. Connie, hysterical after Carlo's death, blames Michael, denouncing him in front of his wife, Kay. In the novel, Connie, quickly recovers from Carlo's demise, apparently relieved to be rid of an abusive, philandering husband. Days later, she apologizes to Michael for her outburst and assures Kay that Michael is blameless. Kay initially believes both Connie and Michael, but later learns her husband did have Carlo killed, along with the other Mafia heads.

The Godfather Part IIEdit

In The Godfather Part II, set three years later, Connie is still angry at Michael, and has several meaningless affairs just to spite him. On the day of Michael's son Anthony's First Communion, she shows up at Michael's house and asks for money so she can marry Merle Johnson, a man Michael disapproves of. Michael refuses, and Connie storms off. At the end of the film, Connie returns for her mother's funeral and makes peace with Michael. She intercedes on Fredo's behalf after Michael disowns him for conspiring with Corleone rival Hyman Roth, pleading with Michael to forgive him. Michael publicly appears to forgive Fredo, but later has him killed. Connie later says that Fredo had drowned, unaware or willfully ignorant of the truth. After Michael and Kay divorce, Connie helps care for Michael's children. In a flashback at the end of the film, it is revealed that Sonny introduced her to Carlo in 1941 during Vito's birthday party.

The Godfather Part IIIEdit

In The Godfather Part III, set 20 years later, Connie has become one of Michael's closest advisors. She encourages Michael to bring Sonny's illegitimate son Vincent Mancini into the Corleone family and support him in his feud with Joey Zasa. When Michael suffers a diabetic stroke following an attempt on his life, Connie and Michael's assassin Al Neri give Vincent the approval to kill Zasa, who was complicit in the attack. Michael is furious that she gave an order behind his back, but she maintains that it was necessary to strike fear into his enemies. Connie travels with the Corleone family to Palermo, Sicily to watch Anthony's operatic debut. She tells Vincent to prepare a counterattack if Michael is killed. She then stands at Michael's side when he retires and names Vincent his successor. She attends the opera, along with the entire Corleone family. On discovering that her godfather Don Altobello is the mastermind of the plot against their family, she kills him by giving him a gift of poisoned cannoli. Connie is distraught when her niece Mary is killed by an assassin who intended to kill Michael.[3]

CharacterEdit

Connie is Vito's only daughter and has been described as his favorite child, next to Michael. Connie attempts to have her family accept Carlo in the first film, and was, at least initially, devastated by his murder, despite the abuse he inflicted.[4] Talia Shire described her character as "'a pain-in-the-ass, whiny person' in the shadow of all-powerful men."[5]

In other mediaEdit

Connie appears as a supporting character in Mark Winegardner's sequel novels The Godfather Returns and The Godfather's Revenge.

Family treeEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (December 18, 2006). "Talia Shire". Variety. New York City: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  2. ^ Simon, Alex (November 22, 2008). "Talia Shire Remembers the Family Business". The Hollywood Interview. Retrieved May 25, 2018.
  3. ^ Maslin, Janet (December 25, 1990). "The Corleones Try to Go Straight In 'The Godfather Part III'". The New York Times. New York City: New York Times Company.
  4. ^ A Study Guide for Mario Puzo's "The Godfather". Farmington Hills, Michigan: Gale, Cengage Learning. 2016. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-4103-4692-6.
  5. ^ Seal, Mark (March 1, 2009). "The Godfather Wars". Vanity Fair. New York City: Condé Nast. Retrieved February 25, 2018.