- "Thirty, forty grand. In small bills cash, in that little silk purse. Madon’, if this was somebody else’s wedding, sfortunato!"
- ―Paulie Gatto[src]
Born in New York City to Corleone family buttonman Richie Gatto and his wife Ursula, Paulie was in the same sixth grade class as Michael Corleone and attended the wedding of Michael's brother Sonny. He became a protégé and trusted soldato under Peter Clemenza, receiving a percentage from the bookies on the East Side, and a union payroll. He receives from Clemenza medical documents required for exemption from military service, in which it is falsely stated that Paulie has been subjected to electroshock treatment for mental illness. He was also known to supplement his income with stick-ups, something that was against family rules, but allowed by his caporegime.
- "I want you to take care of that sonofabitch right away. Paulie sold out the old man, that stronz. I don't want to see him again. Make that first thing on your list, understand?"
- ―Sonny Corleone to Peter Clemenza[src]
Paulie was one of the men who took revenge on Kevin Moonan and Jerry Wagner, the men who assaulted Amerigo Bonasera's daughter, Maria, severely beating the two punks and becoming increasingly respected in the family. He later sold out to Virgil Sollozzo and called in sick three times in one month, leaving only Fredo to protect the Don. On the third day the Don was nearly assassinated while buying fruit. In hopes of avoiding detection, Sollozzo's people called Paulie several times from a pay phone across the street from the Genco Pura Olive Oil Company's headquarters. However, Paulie didn't know that the family had several phone company employees on the payroll, one of whom alerted Sonny.
When Sonny found out, he ordered Clemenza to have Paulie – "that stronz" (Italian for «turd»), as Sonny called him–killed on the spot. Clemenza considered Paulie's treachery to be a personal affront, and was only too happy to arrange Paulie's execution.
Clemenza, Rocco Lampone and Paulie took a drive to find a place to "go to the mattresses," as well as picking up some of Clemenza's wife's favourite cannoli. Clemenza had already selected Rocco as his new protégé.
While out in the countryside, Clemenza asked Paulie to pull over so he could "take a leak". While he was doing so, Rocco executed Paulie with three shots to the head. Paulie's role as soldato and driver to Don Corleone was filled by Rocco.
Later Clemenza reported to Sonny that he would never see Paulie again.
When Sollozzo learned of his informant's death he was unconcerned, having already eliminated the Corleone's biggest asset, Luca Brasi.
Personality and traits
Paulie Gatto was smart and cunning and knew how to get a job done, but he also had a greedy side, which is what Sollozzo exploited. If he had not turned traitor he probably would have risen through the ranks quickly.
In the video game
In the video game, Paulie's treachery was witnessed when, during a subsequent firefight at The Roost, he disappeared, leaving Clemenza to fend for himself. For Paulie's execution, Rocco was replaced by Aldo Trapani. However, Paulie was alerted to his impending execution by the sound of Aldo's gun cocking, and he fled the car into a shipping yard. Aldo chased Paulie and shot and killed him. Aldo was then given Paulie's apartment in Brooklyn Heights to use as a safehouse.
Behind the scenes
- He was portrayed by John Martino and voiced by Tony Alcantar in the game.
- Originally, Paulie was going to be played by Robert De Niro, but he was traded to another production for Al Pacino. Ironically, this meant that De Niro would now be able to appear in his Oscar-winning performance as the young Vito before he became the Don of the Corleone Family in The Godfather Part II.
- In The Godfather Part II, on the chart used during the Senate Hearing, Paulie's name is mispelled, Pauu.