Don Giuseppe 'Joe' Zaluchi (1900-1977) ("Joe Z") is a fictional character in the novels The Godfather (Film), The Godfather Returns, and The Godfather's Revenge. He is the boss of the Detroit syndicate. He is based on real-life Detroit crime boss Joseph "Joe Z" Zerilli. The character also appeared in film version of The Godfather portrayed byLouis Guss.
Growing up poor in Sicily, he and his family went to America to have a better life. They moved to Detroit in the early 1900s. It was there that Zaluchi made his fortune. He settled there and started a family. He owned a business, and started paying protection to the feared Purple Gang. After he saw that the purple gang was causing chaos in Detroit, he took matters into his own hands. He went to New York to negotiate with a rising Vito Corleone. Vito himself pulled some strings to get some people in Detroit to help Zaluchi.
In 1930, after having more political influence, men, and allies, Zaluchi wiped out the Purple gang. After a year of fighting, in 1931, Zaluchi became the don of Detroit. Corleone sent him alcohol from Canada, and Zaluchi made a big profit. After that, he started extending his power in Detroit. They owned one of the horse-racing tracks in Detroit. He also owned a good part of the gambling in Detroit. Under him, there were rarely any murders in Detroit.
During the Five Families war of the 1940s, he was an ally of the Corleone family. He served as sort of a mediator in the meeting of the Five Families. In 1955, a satchel was sent to him and he used it to sabotage the flight of Tony Molinari, Frankie Falcone, and Nick Geraci. However he was never connected to any of these. He remains one of the Corleone families greatest allies.