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|Joseph De Lena|
|Behind the scenes|
|Portrayed by||Joe Mantegna|
- "Human beings are flawed, son. We age, we forget, our sight fails. Flies can see better than we do. Can't you see nothing?"
- ―Joseph De Lena[src]
Joseph 'Pippi' De Lena was the Clericuzio family "Hammer" until his death.
The son of Domenico Clericuzio's beloved sister, Joseph made his bones at the age of seventeen armed only with a garotte, a feat considered impressive even for an elder mafioso. In his youth, he flirted with Rose Marie Clericuzio but was forced to break her heart when the Don warned him off.
The main killer in the Santadio war, during which time he murdered Jimmy Santadio under the orders of Don Clericuzio, Joseph De Lena also served as caporegime overseeing the Bronx enclave and was the family's recruiter, travelling to Sicily and interviewing prospective associates and soldatos for the family and bringing them to the United States.
He later married a showgirl named Nalene Jessup, fathering a son, Cross, and a daughter, Claudia. Gronevelt stood as best man. The Don disapproved of the match as it was a marriage made impetuosly, as Nalene was only eighteen at the time. The marriage lasted for ten years, before slowly declining, resulting in a divorce when Joseph was arrested for murder. Claudia was sent to live with her mother while Cross stayed with his father and slowly learned the ways of their life whilst Joseph served as a caporegime (termed a bruglioni, a "baron", synonimous with being a captain, someody who performs middle management jobs for the family") in the Clericuzio Las Vegas interests.
- "You fucking Santadio..."
- ―Joseph De Lena[src]
As he grew older, Don Clericuzio decided that Joseph would continue to serve merely as an advisor to his son, while the Don's grandson Dante would be pushed to the forefront. He was informed to watch over Dante on his rise to power, but expressed his concern over the young man's bloodthirsty nature after observing him murder Virginio Ballazzo, who had broken the omerta, and later Tim Snedden, a business rival of the family's.
He was later killed by Dante as an act of vendetta for the killing of Dante's father Jimmy Santadio.
- "Hey, I was looking out for you. I was teaching you how to survive. It was the only way I knew. You're half of me, Cross, maybe not your better half, but I love you son. You got to know that."
"Yeah, I know, pop. I know. I love you too. I love you too."
- ―Joseph and Cross De Lena[src]
Cross eventually killed Dante to avenge his father, and was summarily exiled by Don Clericuzio, not knowing it had been the Don's plan all along. When Cross returned to the United States to help support the family following the Don's death, he began to dream his father was advising him from beyond.
Personality and traitsEdit
Joseph was known for being a calm, level headed, patient capo with the cunning to plan a hit perfectly, he was adept with all kinds of weapons, firearms and his speciality was the garrotte. Outside of business he was warm, personable and his company was enjoyed by all.