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Constanzia "Connie" Corleone (previously Constanzia Corleone-Rizzi), is a fictional character from The Godfather by Mario Puzo. In the films, Connie is portrayed by Talia Shire, the sister of director Francis Ford Coppola.

In the novel and first film

Connie is the youngest child, and only daughter, of Don Vito Corleone and Carmella Corleone. She is the sister of Sonny, Fredo and Michael Corleone. In The Godfather, she marries Carlo Rizzi, a small-time hood from Nevadamarker and a friend of Sonny's. This choice (and the fact that Carlo is of northern Italian descent) greatly displeases her father, who only agrees to the marriage on the condition that they hold an old-style Sicilian wedding.

Carlo periodically abuses and cheats on Connie. She complains to her parents, but her father refuses to help, presumably to punish Connie. In truth, Vito is very upset at how Connie is being treated, but Italian tradition forbids a father — even one as powerful as Vito — from interfering in his daughter's marriage. However, her brothers grow to resent Carlo for the way he treats her, and Sonny has to be restrained from attacking Carlo.

One day Carlo gives Connie a particularly severe beating. Sonny gets wind of it when he visited Connie and finds her in tears and covered in bruises, and mercilessly beats Carlo up in the street, threatening to kill him if he ever lays a hand on Connie again. Carlo then schemes with her brother's and father's rivals, Philip Tattaglia and Emilio Barzini, to have Sonny killed. As part of the plan, Carlo once again beats Connie badly, this time in order to entice Sonny out for the ambush. Connie calls Sonny in a state of terror. Driven almost blind by rage, Sonny drives to Connie's house; while en route he is ambushed and assassinated. Later, Michael takes revenge by having Carlo killed (by Peter Clemenza) after standing as godfather to their second child. This angers Connie (who apparently didn't know about her husband's role in Sonny's death) and she resents Michael for some time afterward.

In the novel The Godfather, Connie at first berates Michael for Carlo's death but a week later apologizes to her brother, claiming she didn't really mean it. She marries less than a year later, not fulfilling the widow's mandate of respecting the memory of her late husband.

She has two sons by Carlo: Victor and Michael Francis. A brief glimpse in Mama Corleone's funeral scene is the only time that Victor appears in the trilogy. While Michael was standing as godfather to Michael Francis, the other heads of the Five Families are killed in a massive slaughter that re-establishes the Corleone family's reputation.

In other media

Her role in the films continues in the sequels, The Godfather, Part II, where she is shown to be the youngest of the four Corleone children, and in The Godfather, Part III.

In the years since Carlo's death, she has had a series of meaningless affairs and marriages just to spite Michael, even borrowing money and abandoning her children temporarily, but returns to the family after their mother dies, and becomes more involved in the family business. She even intercedes on Fredo's behalf after Michael disowns him for conspiring with Corleone rival Hyman Roth, pleading with Michael to forgive him. After Fredo's death, she is presumably unaware that Michael had him assassinated, as she later says that Fredo had drowned.

In The Godfather Part III, Connie becomes a much more active member of Michael's inner circle, and is perhaps the closest he had to a true consigliere in the film. She is instrumental in persuading Michael to take their nephew Vincent Mancini-Corleone under his wing and groom him as the new Don, and she orders Vincent to kill Joey Zasa. She also (reluctantly) poisons Don Altobello, her godfather, in retaliation for his attempted assault on the family.

Connie appears in Mark Winegardner's sequel novels The Godfather Returns and The Godfather's Revenge.

Family




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