- "I take after my grandfather, I got Sicilian blood."
- ―Dante Clericuzio[src]
Born to the favourite children of two great Mafia dynasties, Dante grew up initially unaware of the violent circumstances surrounding his father's death. He was initially raised by his grandfather Domenico Clericuzio, who hoped that the boy might one day become a powerful politician or even the President of the United States. However, when his mother fell into one of her trademark depressive fits, she revealed to him that his father had been murdered by Dante's uncles and Joseph De Lena. Consequently, Dante grew to hate his own family and the De Lenas, Cross De Lena in particular becoming a childhood rival.
As Dante grew up he became a problem-solver for the family, working under De Lena, who attempted to reign him in. However, after witnessing Dante's careless and sadistic behavior when eliminating Virginio Ballazzo and Tim Snedden, De Lena became concerned that Dante was too wild to control. Don Domenico, conscious of the boy's impatience, expressed doubts about plans to transfer to the legality of the interests of the family over to him and began to conceive a plan, without the knowledge of the family, that would remove Dante from the equation.
The Grand Plan
The plan was put into action sooner than the Don had expected, as Dante soon killed Pippi De Lena in revenge for his murder of Jimmy Santadio. He was aided in this endeavor by Detective Jim Losey, who had the blame put on a black thug named Hugh Marlowe. Cross discovered Dante's involvement, and together with Sicilian soldato Lia Vazzi, laid a trap for Dante and Losey. Cross shot his cousin and returned to the Don to face judgement, expecting to be killed. However, he only received an exile, not knowning that this had been Don Domenico's' plan all along.
Personality and traits
From a young age, Dante was a disturbed child (killing kittens on occasion), partly due to his mother's illness, and later grew up to be cruel and sadistic, described by Pippi De Lena as having "a bloody mouth". One of his few positive traits was his devotion to his ill mother, Rose-Marie, and the memory of his father Jimmy, which caused him to try and drown Claudia De Lena after she called him a bastard.