- "Difficult. Not impossible."
- ―Rocco Lampone[src]
Once a soldier who was sent home from the front with a Purple Heart after having his leg crippled due to a shattered kneecap in 1943, Lampone began his career in organized crime as an associate in Peter Clemenza's regime, having been hired due to a shortage of young men. He was initially used as Clemenza's contact in the black-market garment centre, as well as working with Government officials who provided food stamps during the war. His success in these fields led Lampone to become a 'trouble-shooter' for the family.
When Sonny Corleone ordered the death of Paulie Gatto for setting the Don up to be assassinated, Clemenza decided it would be a perfect chance for Rocco to "make his bones". They drove around the city searching for a location to "go to the mattresses", picked up a box of cannoli for Signora Clemenza, before driving to a marshy field just outside Brooklyn. Here, Rocco killed Paulie with three shots in the back of the head, after which time Clemenza instructed Lampone to "Leave the gun. Take the cannolis." Soon afterward, Rocco was inducted into the Corleone family as a full-fledged soldato, with Clemenza as his sponsor.
Rocco rose quickly in the Corleone family, particularly when he helped to eliminate the safety-valve capos in the rival Families during the war. He acted as chauffeur for the elderly Vito Corleone, a role also previously filled by Paulie Gatto. On the advice of Don Vito, Michael Corleone hired him to build a secret regime in case of emergency, and in preparation for Michael's ascension to the role of Don (as well as to eliminate key members of the other families in secrecy. The creation of this regime did not go unnoticed, as Tom Hagen discovered this operation soon after, realizing that he was being phased out. Rocco, along with Al Neri, were also let in on Michael's secret plan to wipe out the other New York Dons. As part of this plan, Rocco later killed Philip Tattaglia, and his men played a role in the wave of murders that cemented Michael's power.
The move to Nevada
After the family's move to Nevada and the betrayal of Salvatore Tessio, Rocco served as one of the capos of the family's Nevada faction along with Al. Together Rocco and Neri made up the Corleone hit squad, the Corleone version of Murder Inc. He was also a kind of consigliere for Michael after the death of Peter Clemenza. He was also head of security for the Lake Tahoe compound. He was, however, unable to prevent the attempted assassination of Michael by two mobsters hired by his rival Hyman Roth and allowed in by unwitting fellow conspirator Fredo Corleone.
When the time came to take revenge on Roth, it was Rocco who opined that assassinating him would be "difficult, not impossible", and was personally entrusted with the hit, a decision seen as somewhat questionable, given the almost suicidal nature of the mission. It is possible that Michael laid some of the blame of his near assassination on Rocco, and sent him on this particular mission as a result. Disguised as a reporter, Rocco successfully approached Roth at Miami International Airport and shot him in the stomach, but despite the ensuing panic and confusion, he was in turn shot by federal agents while fleeing the scene.
Personality and traits
A tough and no-nonsense man of few words, Lampone has been described as 'not the sharpest tool in the shed, but certainly the bluntest' and a ruthless and detached operator. He advanced himself subtly, gaining his reputation while driving for Don Vito, causing Rocco to become a caporegime under Michael's command.
In the video games
- "These things happen, nobody's perfect."
- ―Rocco Lampone to Aldo Trapani[src]
In The Godfather: The Game, Rocco gains merit by assisting in the rescue of Tom Hagen, the family consigliere. Rocco acts as a reserve capo during the Five Families War, ordering the deaths of Luigi Fusco, Michael Costa, Kelly Berry, Nicholas Klaus and Giovanni Armanno. These deaths serve crippling blows to the other families, and helps further Lampone's career.
He and Aldo Trapani also shoot Philip Tattaglia at the St. Sebastian Hotel, after leading a search from the Embassy Club in Brooklyn. He would later attend Trapani's initiation as Don, along with Dominic Corleone and Jimmy DeNunzio.
Behind the scenes
- In the drafts for The Godfather Part III Rocco was included as a character and still being Michael Corleone's caporegime, indicating that his shooting at the airport was intended to only wound him.
- He was portrayed by Tom Rosqui in the films and voiced by Michael Dobson in The Godfather: The Game.