Ancelotti was born in Naples, Italy and began his life in crime at the end of World War II when he ran black market rackets supplying contraband to American troops stationed in Naples at the age of 15.
Life in Liberty City
He immigrated to Liberty City in 1950 where he ran loan shark, fencing, and extortion rackets out of the Alderney Fruit Market. In 1951, he was arrested for being in possession of stolen property and again four years later for loan sharking. In 1960, the LCPD arrested him for racketeering. He became the Don of the Ancelotti Family in 1978, following the death of his uncle. He was again arrested in 2003, again for racketeering.
Events of GTA IV
In 2008, the Ancelotti Family's power was severely weakened, as the family's underboss Charles Matteo and capos Anthony Spoleto and Frank Garone were killed by Niko Bellic on orders of the Pegorino Family and the Irish Mob, the Pegorinos' hired muscle.
Additionally, Niko kidnapped Giovanni's daughter Grace for the Irish Mob and took her to a safehouse in Leftwood. Giovanni, who at first didn't believe she was kidnapped when the Irish Mob told her so and instead thought she was just holed up with 'some guy'. However, when Niko made a picture of Grace with a gag in her mouth, Giovanni immediately sent "Gay" Tony Prince and his bodyguard Luis Lopez to find out where Grace was held. The two followed Patrick McReary, a high-ranked member of the Irish Mob, in a helicopter, who eventually stopped at the safehouse and Tony texts the location of the safehouse to Giovanni. Then, Giovanni sent some of his goons to the warehouse to rescue her, but the attempt failed as Niko managed to shake the attackers of and bring Grace to a safehouse in Northwood, Liberty City. Eventually, Giovanni arranged for Grace to be traded by the diamonds of Tony. Tony, who wasn't being given much of a choice, went to Charge Island with Luis and traded the diamonds for Grace, who was brought back to Giovanni by Tony.
After the trade for Gracie with the diamonds, Giovanni had a sit down with Russian gangster Ray Bulgarin, who was the actual owner of the diamonds, and they agreed that they are owed one more body for the whole diamond situation, the body being either Anthony "Gay Tony" Prince, or Luis Lopez.
Rocco Pelosi and his uncle Vince, two members of the family, met with Luis, telling him that the family preferred to be working with Luis over Tony and told him that Giovanni and Bulgarin would back down if he'd kill Tony. Luis was to make his decision at Tony's club, Maisonette 9, and after he arrived there, he shot Vince instead of Tony. Luis planned to kill Rocco too, but was told not too by Tony as Rocco was a made man. Luis and Tony then defended the club from attacking Russians. Luis later went on to kill Bulgarin and all of his goons at Funland and in Bulgarin's own private jet.
He never physically appears in any GTA game, although playing quite a big part in the Grand Theft Auto IV story.
Giovanni is Italian for the English given name John, it is unknown whether he changed his name or kept it as Giovanni while he came to America, as he is only called "Old Man Ancelotti" by Grand Theft Auto IV.
Coincidentally, Don Jon Gravelli also took over his respective family in 1978 following his uncle's death. It is unknown why both men have the same backstory.