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Virgil Sollozzo

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Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo is a fictional character in Mario Puzo's The Godfather. In the novel, it is said that he got his nickname because he has a nose like a Turkish scimitar and also because he does much of his business (growing poppy) in Turkey. In Francis Ford Coppola's film adaptation, he is portrayed by Al Lettieri.

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Sollozzo arrives in New York and enlists the aid of the Tattaglia family for his new heroin business. He then goes to the Corleone family to obtain money and protection from the police and courts. Vito Corleone refuses, however, stating that the drug business is bad for the neighborhoods. Sollozzo, assuming that Vito's eldest son and Corleone family underboss Sonny (James Caan) would be more receptive to the heroin trade, decides to murder Vito. At the same time, he abducts Corleone family consigliere Tom Hagen (Robert Duvall) and tells him to convince Sonny that he should accept the original deal and not avenge his father's death. Hagen promises to calm Sonny down, but warns of an inevitable reprisal by Luca Brasi, Vito's fanatically loyal bodyguard and hitman. Unbeknownst to Hagen, however, Sollozzo had anticipated this and already killed Brasi. Following Sollozzo's meeting with Hagen, Sollozzo is told by his men that they succeeded only in wounding Vito. (He had been shot once in the back, twice in the buttocks, once in the thigh, and once in the arm.) Sollozzo sends agents to the hospital to again try to kill Vito, where the guards are off duty on orders by McCluskey, a police captain on Sollozzo's payroll. This attempt also fails when Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), coincidentally visiting his father, realizes what is about to happen and fools the assassins (with help from Enzo the baker) into believing that Vito is still being guarded. Soon thereafter, Sollozzo seeks a meeting with Michael to resolve the hostilities. Under McCluskey's personal protection, Sollozzo meets with Michael in a restaurant. Although Michael is frisked before the meeting, a revolver had been planted behind the cistern of a toilet in the lavatory of the restaurant. Michael excuses himself and goes to the bathroom to retrieve the revolver. When he returns, for a brief moment, everything is normal; then Michael draws the gun and shoots Sollozzo in the forehead, killing him instantly. He quickly shoots McCluskey in the neck, and then again in the forehead.

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