Constanzia Corleone Rizzi, usually known as Connie Corleone, is a fictional character from The Godfather by Mario Puzo. In the films, Connie is portrayed by Talia Shire, who is the sister of director Francis Ford Coppola.
Connie was born in 1923 as the youngest child, and only daughter, of Don Vito Corleone and Carmella Corleone. She is the sister of Sonny, Fredo and Michael Corleone. She married Carlo Rizzi, a smalltime hood from Nevada. This choice (and the fact that Carlo is of northern Italian descent) greatly displeased her father, who only agreed to the marriage on condition that they hold an old-style Sicilian wedding.
Rizzi regularly abused and cheated on Connie to demonstrate his power over the Corleones. She complained to her parents, but her father refused to help, presumably to punish Connie. In truth, Vito was very upset at how Connie was being treated, but Italian tradition at the time forbade a father--even one as powerful as Vito--from interfering in his daughter's marriage. When she complained to Sonny, he beat Carlo until Connie begged him off.
A few months later, however, Carlo gave Connie a particularly severe beating. Sonny got wind of it, and beat up Carlo mercilessly in the street, threatening to kill him if he ever laid a hand on Connie again. An enraged Carlo then schemed with her brother's and father's rivals, Philip Tattaglia and Emilio Barzini, to have Sonny killed. As part of the plan, Carlo once again beat Connie badly, this time in order to ambush Sonny. Connie called Sonny in a state of terror, and he drove to Connie's place; while en route he was ambushed and assassinated. Later, Michael took revenge by having Carlo killed (by Peter Clemenza) after standing as godfather to their second child. This angered Connie (who apparently didn't know about her husband's role in Sonny's death) and she resented him for many years afterward.
In the novel The Godfather, Connie at first berated Michael for Carlo Rizzi's death but a week later apologized to her brother, claiming she didn't really mean it. She married less than a year later, not fulfilling the widow's mandate of respecting the memory of her late husband.
Her role in the films continues in the sequels, The Godfather, Part II, where she is shown to be the youngest of the four Corleone children, and in The Godfather, Part III.
In the years since Carlo's death, she had a series of meaningless affairs and marriages just to spite Michael, even borrowing money and abandoning her children temporarily, but returned to the family after their mother died, and becomes more involved in the family business. Toward the end of Part II, she is seen kissing her brother's hand.
She had two sons by Rizzi, Victor and Michael Francis. A brief glimpse in Mama Corleone's funeral scene is the only time that Victor appears in the trilogy. While Michael was standing as godfather to Michael Francis, the other heads of the Five Families are killed in a massive slaughter that reestablishes the Corleone family's reputation.
In Part III Connie became a much more active member of Michael's inner circle, and was perhaps the closest he had to a true consigliere in the film. She was instrumental in persuading Michael to take their nephew Vincent under his wing and groom him as the new Don, and it was she who ordered Vincent to kill Joey Zaza. She also poisoned Don Altobello, her godfather, in retaliation for his attempted assault on the family, though it caused her visible grief to do so.
In The Godfather Part III it is indicated that she thinks Fredo has drowned, not murdered on Michael's orders. Some critics thought this lacked credibility given that Connie was fully aware of Michael's ruthlessness, especially after Carlo's death. It can, however, be argued that she was simply in denial, or that it was perhaps her way of telling Michael that she forgave him for what he did.
Connie appears in Mark Winegardner's sequel novels The Godfather Returns and The Godfather's Revenge.