- "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 to a marshy field just outside New York where 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. 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. The creation of this regime did not go unnoticed, as Tom Hagen discovered this operation soon after, realising that he was being phased out. Rocco, along with Al Neri, was also let in on Michael's secret plan to wipe out the other New York Dons. As part of this plan, Rocco and another hitman later killed Phillip Tattaglia, and his men played a role in the wave of murders that cemented Michael's power.
The Move to NevadaEdit
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. 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. 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 whilst fleeing the scene.
Personality and traitsEdit
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 whilst driving for Don Vito, causing Rocco to become a caporegime under Michael's command.
In the video gameEdit
- "These things happen, nobody's perfect."
- ―Rocco Lampone[src]
In the video 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 and Giovanni Armanno. These deaths serve crippling blows to the other families, and helps further Lampone's career, which has been somewhat crippled after his gambling obsession has left him in debt to Aldo Trapani and several other junior members of the Corleone family. As such, he is banned from family boxing clubs for his own safety.
He and and Aldo Trapani also shoot Phillip 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 scenesEdit
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.