Characters in GTA III

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This is an overview of the major (and minor) characters in the missions and cutscenes of Grand Theft Auto III

Major characters


'Claude' is the playable protagonist of GTA III. He was left for dead after a bank heist with Catalina, resulting in his arrest by the police. Claude later escaped with 8-Ball when a bridge they were being transported on to prison, Callahan Bridge, was blown up. Building a reputation among crime bosses and rising in the ranks of the underworld, Claude eventually killed Catalina near the end of the storyline.

Claude's name is never disclosed in the game itself, as such, prior names given to him by fans included "the GTA III guy", "Fido" (as a nickname invented by Maria) and "Kid". Although it is revealed that his name can be found deep within GTA III. The name is only formally mentioned and suggested in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA:SA). In it, Claude established a love relationship with Catalina; the couple then left the fictional West Coast state of San Andreas for Liberty City, after losing in a car race with Carl "CJ" Johnson. Later, CJ receives several phone calls from Catalina, two of which references a person named "Claude." This suggests the main character of GTA III is in fact called "Claude," assuming Catalina is referring to him. Many fans may consider this a retcon, seeing as there is no evidence within GTA III's actual gaming aspect that shows the designers intended the character's name to be Claude.

While Carl Johnson could be seen as having to deal with adverse circumstances, (the death of his mother, the betrayal of various individuals, survival in the ghetto) Claude was arguably a much less morally redeemable character. He is given the job of cold-blooded assassination (that is, with no personal knowledge of the target) on a large number of occasions, and performs these with none of CJ's vocal reluctance. Also, while CJ's motivations were almost entirely personal, (avenging his mother's death, the removal of Tenpenny's control of him, and the security of his neighbourhood) it is implied that Claude's interest in underworld seniority is almost as strong as his desire for revenge upon Catalina.

Throughout the game, Claude has largely remained speechless and is never heard talking, remaining so during his brief cameo in San Andreas. This trait was referenced in GTA III, when suggests on the Chatterbox radio show that "Claude don't talk too much." In San Andreas, Carl Johnson also refers him as a "mute" and a "snake without a tongue".


'Catalina' is a notorious bank robber and Claude's former girlfriend, who had betrayed him during a bank heist, shooting him and leaving him for the police while she ran free with the profits, along with Miguel. Catalina would later be seen running a SPANK drug manufacturing and distribution business with a new partner in crime, Miguel. She would also betray Miguel, after Claude discovered them in a construction site; when Miguel attempted to get Claude to lower his gun, Catalina shot Miguel and jumped out of the building into a pile of boxes several stories below. Catalina was killed at the end of the game, as the helicopter she was riding in was shot down by a rocket propelled grenade launched by Claude.

Prior to GTA III, Catalina and Claude are known to have been on the move, committing robberies in multiple states, including the south, and the southwest, among others. On October, 2001, the FBI discovered that both Catalina and Claude may have arrived at Liberty City.

Catalina is of Dominican and Colombian descent and is a cousin of Cesar Vialpando, who is believed to be a Mexican and is a fellow associate of Carl Johnson.

Catalina was voiced by Cynthia Farrell.


'Miguel' is an apparent Colombian Cartel member and Catalina's partner after Claude. Miguel is frequently seen with Catalina while running the SPANK drug business in Liberty City. During a mission in which Donald Love requests Claude to retrieve a package from the airport, the package was found stolen by the Colombian Cartel and was being handed over to Catalina and Miguel. Claude eventually tracks them down, resulting in Miguel handing over the package and Catalina shooting Miguel, leaving him at the mercy of Asuka, then enraged by the killing of her brother. Miguel was then tortured into revealing information about Catalina's operations, and was soon killed by the Cartel, while they killed Asuka and kidnapped Maria.

Miguel was voiced by Al Espinosa.


'8-Ball' is a firearms and explosives specialist who owns three bomb shops throughout Liberty City. 8-Ball meets Claude shortly after the beginning of the storyline, when he and Claude escape from a police convoy. As a token of his appreciation, 8-Ball introduces Claude to Luigi Goterelli, an old friend of his, for work. 8-Ball remains a close associate of Claude throughout the game.

8-Ball can be seen with both hands bandaged from an injury during his appearances, leaving Claude to do most of the more intensive work (such as driving and shooting) when 8-Ball accompanies him. 8-Ball is believed to have sustained scaldings from hot fat accidentally poured onto his hands, during a scuffle with the police in a raid at his home, before he was arrested. However, Grand Theft Auto Advance reveals that he suffered such injuries from a gang ambush.

While the character of 8-Ball is only present in Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto Advance, and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, 8-Ball explosives shops can also be found in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

8-Ball was voiced by The Guru (rapper).

Luigi Goterelli

'Luigi Goterelli' aka '"The Snake"' is a co-manager (along with Micky) of a night club called "Sex Club 7" in the Red Light District of Portland Island, and is linked to the Leone Mafia Family. He uses this club as a base for his legion of prostitutes scattered throughout Portland. He is Claude's first boss in Liberty City, and gives him mundane jobs such as driving his girls around and chasing down minor gangsters who mess with his operation.

Luigi Goterelli was voiced by Joe Pantoliano.

Joey Leone

'Joey Leone' is a member of the Leone Mafia Family and the son of Don Salvatore Leone, who works as a mechanic and big-time criminal in Portland. In cutscenes he is constantly seen working on a BF Injection dune buggy which belongs to his favorite prostitute, Misty (made available after completing the Portland mission string, and parked in certains hours outside the apartment where Misty was picked up in the "Drive Misty For Me" mission). Joey tasks Claude to perform theft, assassinations and body disposal. In the process, Joey introduces his father's "Capo", Toni Cipriani, allowing Claude to perform further jobs with the Family. Joey is also mentioned in San Andreas when Carl Johnson meets Salvatore Leone in Las Venturas, stating that he had the pleasure of working with Joey while residing in Liberty City.

Joey is also believed to have been responsible for the killing of several Forelli Mafia members, which had in turn resulted in a Mafia war between the Leones and the Forellis.

Joey Leone was voiced by Michael Rapaport.

Toni Cipriani

'Toni Cipriani' is a member of the Leone Mafia Family, working as a capo (caporegime) for Salvatore Leone. Early missions with Cipriani were primarily focused on extorting protection money from a Triad-controlled laundromat, by destroying several of the business's delivery trucks. Coupled with a Triad attack during the transportation of the Family's high-ranked members to one of Don Salvatore's meetings, a full-blown war between the Mafia and the Triads occurred, and Claude was now an enemy to the Triads. The war led to the destruction of the Triad's fish factory, with Toni instructing Claude to deliver a garbage truck armed with a bomb to the factory.

Toni lives with his mother, Momma Cipriani, and is frequently seen in his family-run restaurant, Momma's Restaurante (or Cipriani's Ristorante, as seen in its sign at the restaurant), providing jobs for Claude. The constant nagging from his mother about him not being able to match up with his father and failing to meet up to her expectations had forced him to call the local chat radio station, Chatterbox FM, and complain about his mother's constant bickering.

Toni Cipriani is a likely spoof of Tony Soprano, the main character from The Sopranos. Aside their names, both characters also share ongoing problems with their mothers, who also ordered hits on them (Cipriani would face this predicament as the playable protagonist in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories).

Toni Cipriani was voiced by Michael Madsen.

Salvatore Leone

'Salvatore Leone' is the Don who controls the Leone Mafia Family. According to yjr official website, Salvatore was originally from Palermo, Sicily and came to be Don of the Family after a bloody power struggle in the mid-1980s.

Salvatore is introduced to Claude when he called a meeting with Joey Leone, Toni Cipriani, Luigi Goterelli; and Claude would be the limousine chauffeur who would bring the trio to Salvatore's mansion in Saint Mark's. Early missions instruct Claude to investigate the activities of Curly Bob, a member who appeared to be leaking information about the Leone's activities to the Colombian Cartel and, if found guilty, to kill him. Claude would later be tasked to destroy a tanker ship that was suspected to be a SPANK drug factory for the Cartel.

Salvatore is portrayed as increasingly paranoid and suspicious with everyone around him, as stated by Curly Bob and Salvatore's attempt to kill Claude with a trap, the latter done to try establishing a deal with the Colombian Cartel. Salvatore would be killed by Claude after leaving Luigi's club at a time, as instructed by Asuka Kasen to prove that Claude has finally broken ties with the Family.

Salvatore is indicated to have an unnamed brother, whom he claimed "the police associate Salvatore with." This revelation is never explored for the rest of the series.

Salvatore Leone was voiced by Frank Vincent.


'Maria Latore' (also referred to as 'Maria La Torra' by several sources) is Don Salvatore Leone's girlfriend (it's revealed that she's actually his wife in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories). She is introduced to Claude after Salvatore requests that Claude "look after her for the evening". Developing a liking for Claude, she would save Claude's life by preventing Claude from entering a death trap set up by Salvatore (before telling him they were both an item) and seek help from an associate, Asuka Kasen, to flee to Staunton Island. She would appear as a caller on Chatterbox FM to describe her feelings with Claude, but expresses doubt because Claude was seen as being uninterested to her, "always working and hanging out with the guys" instead.

Maria would still be seen with Asuka on occasions, including the period when Miguel was tortured and interrogated. Maria was then kidnapped by the Cartel and held ransom by Catalina. By the end of the storyline, Maria is rescued by Claude. Maria's fate remains unknown, however, when the screen portraying Claude and Maria (overwhelmed by excitement, talks continuously about Claude and herself) walking away fades to black, and a gunshot was heard. It is unknown whether the gunshot was meant to kill Maria due to her constant nagging while the credits rolled (though it remains implied).

Maria was voiced by Debi Mazar.

Asuka Kasen

'Asuka Kasen' is a co-leader of the Yakuza, who is called on by Maria to bring her and Claude to safety from the Leone Mafia Family after Salvatore's attempted assassination on Claude. She would provide further jobs to Claude, after killing Salvatore, as well as introduce him to her brother, Kenji Kasen.

Later in the game, Asuka can be seen torturing Miguel and instructing Claude to further destroy Catalina's SPANK drugs operation, as an act of revenge for the killing of her brother by an unknown "Colombian assassin". She would eventually be killed along with Miguel, by Catalina.

"Police records" in GTA III's official website indicated that Asuka had only arrived in the United States in 1991, ten years prior to GTA III. In the records, it is also revealed that Asuka assumed a leadership role in the Yakuza for her senior "torture, security and information retrieval" skills, despite the fact that it is unusual for Yakuza families to appoint female authorities.

It is strongly hinted that she is a bisexual dominatrix; at one point she ties up Maria and plays sadomasochism games with her. She exhibited similar behaviors in Grand Theft Auto Advance.

Asuka Kasen was voiced by Lianna Pai.

Kenji Kasen

'Kenji Kasen' is a co-leader of the Liberty City Yakuza (alternatively known as the "Waka-Gashira", as mentioned by Donald Love), who highly respects honor and is also the brother of Asuka Kasen. Kenji operates a casino in Downtown Staunton Island, where he provides jobs for Claude. He would be killed later in the game, during a meeting at a multistory car park, after Claude is asked by Donald Love to assassinate Kenji while posing as a Colombian Cartel member, in an effort to drive down local real estate prices with a gang war between the Yakuza and the Cartel.

GTA III's official website hinted that Kenji is considerably inferior in leadership skills than Asuka, as "many cite his 'funny way of speaking' as seriously undermining his authority." Indeed, Kenji can be heard swallowing his words whenever he speaks in game. Kenji moved to the United States in 1996, five years after Asuka.

Kenji Kasen was voiced by Les J.N. Mau.

Ray Machowski

'Ray Machowski' is a corrupt police officer in the Liberty City Police Department who works as an insider for the Yakuza. He is introduced to Claude while receiving a payment from Asuka for his previous job with the Yakuza.

Machowski is depicted as heavily cautious with his activities, and is willing to silence associates who attempted to expose any crime committed by either him or his partners. By the end of his presence in Liberty City, the CIA has begun investigating Machowski's links with the Colombian Cartel and the SPANK, forcing Machowski to flee the city and escape to Miami, Florida. In the process of working for Machowski, Claude is introduced to Donald Love, after helping to dispose embarrassing photographs of Love in a "morgue party".

Machowski makes a second appearance in Liberty City Stories, as a partner of Leon McAffrey. The game reveals that Machowski was initially uncomfortable working for criminals and taking bribes, suggesting that he had only turned corrupt recently.

Ray Machowski was voiced by Robert Loggia.

Donald Love

'Donald Love' is a media mogul and owner of Love Media, "the fastest growing US-run media conglomerate in the past five years". Operating from his apartment and office in south Bedford Point, Staunton Island, he primarily tasks Claude to complete jobs related to receiving a mysterious "package" delivered by plane. After successfully aiding in the return of the authenticated "package" to Love (by acting as a lure to the SWAT and police), he disappears, leaving behind an opened box in his apartment.

Love Media controls approximately "900 radio stations, 300 television stations, 4 networks, 3 satellites, (and) 10 senators", with the Love Media brand name, Love's announcements or related commercials evident in certain player accessed radio stations, including Grand Theft Auto III Radio Stations Head Radio, Flashback 95.6, Double Cleff FM, and Chatterbox FM. Love Media also owns the Liberty Tree, Liberty City's local newspaper. This has led some gamers to believe that Love is a play of real estate mogul Donald Trump.

Donald Love is believed to had only begun doing business in Liberty City from early-2001 onwards, indicating that Love Media was quick in founding or acquiring many companies in Liberty City within months (the time period of the Grand Theft Auto III is supposingly late 2001). This was done as a response to the return of Barry Harcross, a recently acquitted businessman and long time rival of Donald Love, to the city.

While little background information is known of Love, he is seen as a former apprentice of real estate mogul Avery Carrington, who appeared in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City as a boss for Tommy Vercetti; the most evident sign of his link with Carrington is his use of a phrase that was also heard from Carrington, when Love asks that Claude assassinate Kenji Kasen:

Nothing drives down real estate prices like a good old-fashioned gang war, apart from the outbreak of a plague, but that might be going too far in this case.

Donald Love makes a third appearance in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Love is portrayed as cannibalistic and possessing a fascination for human corpses, thus explaining his connection to the aforementioned "morgue party" in GTA III. However, several possible continuity errors are also noted: Love had apparently operated in Liberty City in 1998 (although he was seen working in a different office building) and already owns several radio stations and newspapers, contrary to what the aforementioned 2001 Liberty Tree articles claims.

Donald Love was voiced by Kyle MacLachlan.

Minor characters

Oriental gentleman

The unnamed "'oriental gentleman'" is a minor but key character in the game's storyline, who is also an important accomplice of Donald Love. Shortly before GTA III, he was arrested, after arriving in Liberty City on a private jet plane from an "unknown departure point somewhere in east Asia", for "failing to satisfy the INS that he had a valid reason for entering the country" and having no proper travel documents (including a passport and visa, "nor a platinum credit card to bribe his way through customs"). As a result, he was set to be delivered to a high security penitentiary before he is deported back later in October 2001.

Early in GTA III's storyline, the oriental gentleman boarded a police convoy to prison, along with Claude and 8-Ball, only to be targeted for kidnapping by Colombian Cartel commandos as the convoy crossed the Callahan Bridge (unintentionally allowing Claude and 8-Ball to escape). He was later held captive by the Cartel, as they attempted to hold him hostage for extortion money from Love. Under orders by Love, Claude would rescue the oriental gentleman.

The oriental gentleman is then tasked by Love to authenticate a mysterious delivery retrieved by Claude. He is also seen, in one cutscene, joining Love for a round of T'ai Chi.


'Mickey Hamfists' (as named in Liberty City Stories), or 'Micky', is a bodyguard for Luigi Goterelli, and the co-manager of Sex Club 7 (along with Luigi). Mickey always checks Luigi's visitors for him, and will simply deliver a written letter to them at times. He's also an enforcer for the Leone family and attends all of the "made" ceremonies. Nevertheless, "police records" from the official GTA III website described him as "a moron." Mickey also has prior convictions for assault, racketeering, and multiple involvements with narcotics.


'Misty' is a woman who works for Luigi Goterelli at the "Sex Club 7", and is Joey Leone's "regular girl". On two occasions, Claude is asked by Goterelli to drive her from one place to another, with the blatant message to "keep (his) eyes on the road and off Misty." She can be seen as an unofficial mascot of GTA III as she is featured prominently on the promotions and cover packaging for the game.

Misty was voiced by Kim Gurney.

Mike "Lips" Forelli

'Mike "Lips" Forelli' is a minor character who shows up briefly, when Joey Leone sends Claude to kill him, in an effort to teach the Forellis a lesson for not repaying debts. While Lips is eating at Marco's Bistro, (with a sign that says "eat 'till you explode") Claude attaches a bomb to his car. When Lips is finished eating, he leaves the restaurant and is killed in the explosion. This act of aggression from the Leone family towards the Forelli family sparks a war between the two Mafia families.

"Chunky" Lee Chong

'"Chunky" Lee Chong' is a member in the Triad who owns a noodle stand in the heart of Chinatown and is said to be pushing SPANK for the Colombian Cartel. When Joey Leone hears that "Chunky" Lee Chong is selling SPANK, he sends Claude to assassinate him. This incident would put relations between the local Triad and the Leone Mafia Family on ice.

Marty Chonks

'Marty Chonks' is the corrupt owner of the Bitchin' Dog Food company. His love for money causes him to perform various illegal activities, which leads him to call for Claude. Claude works as a bus boy, moving people from various parts of Portland back to the Bitchin' Dog Food factory, where Marty turns them into dog food. But throughout most of his time as an employee, Claude doesn't see Marty's face until his last mission for him, since he gets his orders through a payphone.

Eventually, Marty employs Claude to pick up his wife, Mrs. Chonks. After she is killed, Marty finds that she had a secret lover named Carlos to whom he happens to owe money. Marty figures he can overpower the man just as he had all the others, but Carlos brings a shotgun along with him, which he uses to kill Marty, and claims that he will be taking over Marty's dog food business. When the mission ends, the player is given the opportunity to see Marty's corpse and face before his body disappears, along with killing Carlos.

Marty Chonks' missions are likely spoofs to the 1989 film The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, given that the names of his missions and people he killed, in order, read "The Crook" (a bank manager), "The Thieves" (two burglars), "The Wife" (Mrs. Chonks) and "Her Lover" (Carl, whom Chonks fails to kill); the theme of human meat being used as food is also prevalent in both the missions and the film.

Actor Chris Phillips provided the voice of Marty Chonks. Not to be confused with User:Chris.

Momma Cipriani

'Momma Cipriani' (aka 'Ma Cipriani' in Liberty City Stories) is the faceless co-owner of Cipriani's Ristorante in the game. She is the mother of Toni Cipriani and is known to nag frequently to her son about him not meeting up to her husband's capabilities.

Momma Cipriani was voiced by Sondra James.

Curly Bob

'Curly Bob' is the bartender at Luigi's "Sex Club 7," who is seen ratting on the Leones for the Colombian Cartel in exchange for SPANK. Under orders by Salvatore, Curly would be killed if Claude witnesses him leaking information to the Cartel.

Curly Bob was voiced by Hunter Platin.


'McAffrey' is a corrupt policeman of unknown rank who attempts to turn state evidence for an undisclosed crime in exchange for an honorable discharge. McAffrey was under police protection when Claude arrives to burn his apartment, and was presumably killed when attempting to flee by car.

It is worth noting that in a later mission, "Plaster Blaster," Ray Machowski berates Claude for failing to kill a "witness" and orders him to finish the job. Claude succeeds in killing the witness the second time around, but because the man is in a full body cast, it is unclear whether the "witness" in question is McAffrey or Ray's more recent partner.

Although he is primarily a throwaway character in GTA III, McAffrey would reappear in Liberty City Stories with a larger role as an aide to Toni Cipriani, as well as having a first name, Leon.

Phil Cassidy, the One-Armed Bandit

'Phil Cassidy' (aka 'The One-Armed Bandit' in the game's credits) is a friend of Ray Machowski, believed to have fought alongside Machowski during a military conflict in Nicaragua (a possible reference to the United States' military intervention on Nicaragua during the 1980s). As a former soldier, Phil owns a business dubbed "Phil's Army Surplus" in Rockford, at the edge of Staunton Island, specializing in selling military-grade weaponry, as well as providing military vehicles from within its compound. Phil appeared briefly during a mission when Claude was required to protect Phil from a group of Colombian Cartel members, who have been attempting to extort weapons from Phil's business.

Phil is portrayed as having only one arm, losing his left arm for an unconfirmed reason, although it is suggested that he may have lost it in Nicaragua. At the end of the aforementioned mission between Phil with Claude and the Colombian Cartel, Phil jokingly stated to Claude that he would "still have his arm" if Claude "teamed up with [Phil] at Nicaragua." In Vice City, Phil loses his arm in a drunken explosive accident. This indicates his mention of Nicaragua is either a continuity error or he is covering up for the accident. However because of Phil's frequent drinking of "boomshine" up to the point where he lost his arm, it may be that Phil is not remembering events accurately.

Phil's last name, "Cassidy", only appears in GTA III's instruction manual map of Liberty City, and is later again used in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

Phil was voiced by Hunter Platin.

El Burro

Directed to meet him after completing "Van Heist"; introduced in: "Turismo"

'El Burro' is a member of the Hispanic Diablos gang who assigns Claude jobs from Portland Island, operating from a pay phone located in the Hepburn Heights housing projects. El Burro is believed to be running a pornography magazine publishing business, based on his phone calls and the magazines stacked in the player's Portland safe house upon completion of all of El Burro's missions.

El Burro was also featured previously as a character in Grand Theft Auto 1, and mentioned in dialog in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Actor Chris Phillips provided the voice of El Burro.

King Courtney

Directed to met him upon unlocking and entering Staunton Island; introduced in: "Bling-Bling Scramble"

'King Courtney' is a member of the Jamaican Yardies who assigns Claude jobs from Staunton island, operating from a payphone located near Liberty Campus. The primary focus of his jobs are mostly related to attacks against rival gangs, with one of these mission requiring that Claude turn his back against the Diablos by killing several of its members. The final "job" involved Claude being lured into a trap, where Catalina has dispatched vans of "SPANK-ed up madmen" suicide bombers to kill Claude, an act that subsequently fermented relationships between Claude and the Yardies.

King Courtney was voiced by Walter Mudu.


Directed to met him upon unlocking and entering Shoreside Vale; introduced in: "Uzi Money"

'D-Ice' is a member of the African-American Red Jacks gang who assigns Claude jobs from Shoreside Vale, operating from a payphone located in the Wichita Gardens housing projects. Several of its missions involved attacks and fights against a rival gang, the Purple Nines, which appeared to be supplied with SPANK and are pushing the drug onto the streets. Claude would eventually reduce the Purple Nines to only a few members at the time of the final battle between Claude with D-Ice's brother and the last of the Purple Nines.

D-Ice was voiced by Walter Mudu.


'Darkel' is a character dropped during the development of Grand Theft Auto III. Little is known about the character, except that he was to be a revolutionary urchin who vowed to bring down the city's economy. One mission involved stealing an ice cream van, using it to attract pedestrians, then blowing it up (this mission would eventually be given by El Burro instead in the final version of game to kill a group of gang members). Darkel was also originally expected to give out Rampage-esque missions. Little is disclosed about when or why Darkel was removed, although several Grand Theft Auto players believed that the removal of the character may had resulted from the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Darkel had his voice recorded for this part by Bill Fiore, but was obviously never used in game. However, the character remains listed in GTA III's manual's credits, as well as having a character texture retained in the game's data files.