- "When the boss says push the button on a guy, I push the button, see, Senator?"
- ―Willie Cicci at the senate hearings.[src]
An employee of the Genco Pura Olive Oil Company since 1942, Willie Cicci was in reality a top enforcer and hitman for the Corleone family. He was a high-ranking soldier in the regime of Peter Clemenza.
Cicci first achieved prominence in the family by helping to destroy one of the Tattaglia family's drug markets in Midtown, assisted by fellow enforcer on the rise, Aldo Trapani. He also prevented the Stracci family from taking back the Italia Warehouse, which had been won by the Corleones. Several key associates reported to him, including Lego Coalliere and the Don's son in law, Carlo Rizzi. Cicci was also one of the men hired by Pete Clemenza for protecting Sonny Corleone during the war.
Role in the warEdit
By 1955, Cicci had become prominent in the family and was well trusted enough to be assigned with the job of assasinating Don Carmine Cuneo on the day of Michael Rizzi's baptism in 1955. Cicci assassinated Don Cuneo in the revolving doors at an hotel after he got a haircut and shave at the hotel's barber shop while waiting for Cuneo to appear. He was also one of the men assigned to eliminate Salvatore Tessio following his betrayal. Cicci drove Tessio to his death but did not observe the execution itself.
The new regimeEdit
When Michael Corleone moved to Nevada, Cicci remained in New York, working for Peter Clemenza and later Frank Pentangeli, acting as his personal bodyguard and right-hand man. He went with Pentangeli to Anthony Corleone's first communion in Lake Tahoe and expressed his suspicions about the sudden death of Clemenza, who had supposedly died of a heart attack. After the party, Cicci went with Pentangeli to a meeting with the Rosato Brothers who then tried to kill Pentangeli but were interrupted by the appearance of a police officer. This resulted in a shootout between the gangsters and police officers, in which Cicci appeared to be shot in the middle of the road; after he unsteadily stood and fired his revolver, he was then struck by a car.
The Senate hearingsEdit
Cicci recovered and testified against Michael at the Senate hearings on organized crime. Cicci states that Michael not only killed Virgil Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey in 1946, but began making plans for a mass slaughter of the other New York Dons as early as 1950. Damning as Cicci's testimony was, he is unable to directly implicate Michael in any murders. He never received orders directly from Vito, Sonny or Michael; he said there were always "buffers" between the button men and the Don. His boss, Frank Pentangeli, was brought in as a surprise witness to corroborate Cicci's testimony; as a capo there is no insulation between Michael and himself. However, Frank was intimidated into silence and the hearings fell apart.
Personality and traitsEdit
A lank and lean retainer, Cicci's weaselly demeanour made other family members suspicious of him, particularly during the Five Families War in 1946. However, he was a loyal soldato for the most part, able to carry out orders swiftly and efficiently. When he was arrested and put on trial, he went out of his way to be deliberately unhelpful.
Real life sourcesEdit
Willie Cicci is based on Mafia turncoat Joe Valachi. Valachi was the first mafioso to publicly acknowledge the existence of the Mafia in front of a Senate committee, thereby breaking the code of Omertà.