William "Billy" Brewster Van Arsdale III was the heir to the Van Arsdale Citrus fortune and the husband of Francesca Corleone.
William Brewster Van Arsdale III, called Billy, was born in New York in 1935 to William Van Arsdale II. His family made a fortune selling citrus juice for many businessmen, including Vito Corleone. He had one brother George, and was raised by a family servant, a Negro woman who committed suicide after her son was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan.
Billy and Francesca
Billy met Vito Corleone's granddaughter and Sonny Corleone's daughter, Francesca in 1955, while attending Florida State University. They were married a couple of years later, when Francesca became pregnant after a rendezvous. Unbeknownst to Francesca, Billy had been threatened by the Corleone family into marrying his pregnant girlfriend- his legs had been broken in a "skiing accident". After their marriage, in which her uncle Michael Corleone walked Francesca down the aisle, the couple moved to Washington, DC, and Billy began working for attorney general Daniel Shea. Francesca had a premature birth, and the baby, Carmela, only lived for a day, devastating Francesca. She later gave birth to William Brewster Van Arsdale IV, whom they called "Sonny" after Francesca's late father. In hopes of rising at the attorney general's office, Billy had secretly been collecting evidence against the Corleone family throughout his and Francesca's entire relationship.
By 1961, Billy had began an extramarital affair with one of Daniel Shea's secretaries. Francesca initially thought that he would not have sex with her because she was pregnant at the time. By early 1962, Francesca learned of her husband's infidelity and spying against her family. Distraught, she followed him in her car one night and purposefully hit him, cutting him in half.
To protect Francesca, Billy's mistress was eventually framed by the Corleone family and convicted of second-degree murder for his death.
Behind the scenes
Billy Van Arsdale is an exclusive character to The Godfather Returns. In a deleted scene of The Godfather Part II, Francesca Corleone asks for permission from her uncle Michael Corleone to marry Gardner Shaw.