Born and raised in the Sicilian village of Corleone, Tommasino first got in touch with Vito when the latter was expanding operations of his Genco Pura Olive Oil Company. The two cut a deal in which Vito would distribute Tommasino's olive oil.
When Vito returned to the village of Corleone in 1922 looking to exact revenge on Don Ciccio for the latter's role in the murder of his parents and brother, Tommasino assisted him in his scheme, seeking Don Ciccio's role for himself. They went to Don Ciccio's estate, ostensibly to get his blessing for their venture. They succeeded in killing Don Ciccio, but in the midst of their escape, Tommasino was severely wounded by a blast from a lupara shotgun, fired by one of Don Ciccio's bodyguards. The blast crippled him from the waist down, and, though he could stand for short periods, he was mostly confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Despite this, Tommasino succeeded Don Ciccio as the local Mafia Don of the town of Corleone, and maintained his strong friendship with Vito.
When Vito's son Michael Corleone murdered drug lord Virgil Sollozzo and corrupt NYPD Captain Mark McCluskey in the late 1940s, he was immediately dispatched to Sicily and placed under Tommasino's care. Tommasino ensured that Michael was safe from both the police and his enemies, and put him up in the house of his uncle Dr. Taza.
At this time, Tommasino was having trouble with the 'gavones' in Palermo, the new regime of Dons who had no respect for the old order and were initiating wave after wave of vendettas. While dealing with this new problem, the Don was absent for much of the time Michael spent there.
However, he did give his blessing for Michael to marry Apollonia Vitelli in 1947, and it was largely his friendship with the groom that convinced Signor Vitelli to allow his daughter to be courted. Despite Tommasino having to use a wheelchair at Michael's wedding, he is still able to haul himself upright whilst leaning on the door of his car.
Shortly after the murder of Michael's elder brother Sonny, Tommasino got word that Michael had been marked for death. Determining that Corleone was far too dangerous for Michael, he made plans to have Michael and Apollonia moved to a villa in Siracusa. However, Tommasino's man, Fabrizio, turned out to be a traitor and attempted to assassinate Michael with a car bomb and killed Michael's new wife instead. Shortly afterward, things calmed down enough that Michael was able to return to the United States. Despite this unfortunate incident, Tommasino maintained a close friendship with the Corleones.
- "Your enemies always get strong on what you leave behind"
- ―Don Tommasino[src]
In 1980, Michael returned to Sicily to seek the elderly Tommasino's advice about making contacts in the Vatican, in order to aid in his takeover of the Italian conglomerate Immobiliare. Tommasino informed Michael about Cardinal Lamberto, as well as the corruption in the Vatican, masterminded by Licio Lucchesi.
However, that same year, Tommasino was shot to death by the hitman Mosca of Montelepre, who had been hired by Don Altobello to assassinate Michael. Mosca had disguised himself as a Roman Catholic priest and was walking down the road with an associate of his who was dressed similarly. Tommasino pulled up in his car and offered Mosca a ride, but instantly recognized him for who he was. His cover blown, Mosca shot Tommasino dead with a lupara hidden in his robe.
Tommasino's death made Michael attempt to repent of his former life and hand over the family and the responsibility that went with it, to Vincent Mancini.
Behind the scenes
- Three different actors have played Tommasino in the three feature films. In The Godfather, as a middle-aged man, he was portrayed by Corrado Gaipa. In The Godfather Part II, a much younger Tommasino was portrayed by Mario Cotone. And in The Godfather Part III, as an elderly man, he was portrayed by Vittorio Duse, as Gaipa had died the year before.
- Actor Corrado Gaipa actually used a wheelchair in real life which is why Don Tommasino is seen in a wheelchair in The Godfather.
Notes and references
|Don of Corleone|