|“||Did you just say no? You think I'm gonna put up with this punk again? I can still press charges against him for ruining my Camaro.||”|
–Gabe, in The Lightning Thief
Gabriel "Gabe" Ugliano was Percy Jackson's former disrespectful, abusive, and cruel stepfather in The Lightning Thief. Sally Jackson, Percy's mother, killed Gabe by turning him to stone using Medusa's Head.
Percy's mom, Sally Jackson, chose to marry him to protect Percy as Gabe had a pungent odour, which was described by Percy as "moldy garlic pizza wrapped in gym shorts", earning him the nickname, "Smelly Gabe". Grover Underwood later described him as a human who smelled so horrible that his scent would mask any demigod's scent from monsters. Gabe's scent would help protect Percy from monsters, as monsters can smell children of the Gods especially those of powerful gods like The Big Three. Since he was a son of Poseidon, one of the three most powerful gods (known as the Big Three), Percy's godly scent was much stronger than that of children of the lesser gods. Gabe was said to have been nice to Sally and Percy for "the first thirty seconds they had known him", and afterwards showed his true colors as a "world-class jerk".
He often abused Sally and treated her horribly. He hated Percy and doesn't seem to trust him. Percy often got into trouble with him. He played poker every day with his 'poker buddies'. Gabe's job was managing an electronics mega mart, although we never see or hear of him going to work. All Gabe seems to do is drink beer, eat guacamole, smoke cigars, play poker or blackjack, and be abusive to Sally and Percy.Montauk, Gabe thought she was kidding at first and only agreed if he didn't have to spend any money for them to leave. After seeing Sally and Percy off in his Camaro, he returns to his poker game. After they are attacked by the Minotaur, Grover tells Percy that Gabe's scent was so bad that it covered up Percy's demigod scent, even when he was gone for long periods of time. After they crash and Sally is taken captive, Gabe goes on a Barbara Walter's show and lies about Percy, saying he's a troubled, dangerous boy who destroyed his Camaro and killed his wife. Gabe squeezes out a few tears for the interview, and Percy later sees it on television, and it causes him no small amount of fury.
When Sally is released by Hades, she reappears in her apartment with Gabe. He is furious, because he has to return the money he got off her life insurance. He then makes her return to work, saying she has a month's salary to make up and she'd better get started. He is furious when Percy returns (Percy promised all of Los Angeles free appliances from Gabe's store) and says he's going to press charges against Percy for destroying his Camaro. Sally tries to defend Percy, but Gabe moves as if to slap her, and she falls silent.
Percy realizes that Gabe has been hitting his mother, and takes out Riptide but knows it won't work against Gabe; because "Gabe, by the loosest definition, was human." Gabe mocks him for the pen, and tells him he has five minutes before he calls the police.
Percy leaves to his room to pack, and his mother tries to convince him to stay, but Percy insists that it won't work out with Gabe there. He then tells his mother about Medusa's head (sent back to Percy by Poseidon). He said he wanted to "pop it right there onto the poker table". But, Percy feels wrong about it, and speaks to his mother; so his mother said she will always have that in case he hurts her again.
Sally convinces Percy to leave first, and let her save herself. Percy is worried about leaving his mother in Gabe's hands, but Sally's eyes harden when Gabe says a taunting good-bye to Percy, and Percy is convinced that he had left her in very capable hands after all.
Percy returns to camp, and receives a letter from his mom a week later. She says that Gabe has mysteriously disappeared (she had reported him missing to the police, but she said she didn't think they would ever find him, since she used Medusa's head to turn him to stone) and in a completely unrelated subject, Sally made her newest work of art, "The Poker Player." The art critics had agreed that the "art" was very lifelike and "a huge step forward in super-ugly neorealism." They said she should become an artist, but Sally declined so she could focus on writing. She says she destroyed the box of 'tools' he left her (Medusa's head) and that she had gotten so much money from selling the statue, that she had put down a deposit for a new apartment, made a payment on her first semester's tuition at NYU, and make a deposit at a good school for him, saying that he would be free to come home.
Percy mentions Gabe to Annabeth, saying that Tartarus smells like Gabe.
Gabe is said to sniff money out like a bloodhound, and is shown to have no respect for women, or anyone for that matter. He abuses his wife, and rules over her like she is his servant, which she puts up with in order to hide Percy from monsters, until she turns him to stone. He also seems to have been doing more than just talking about grief to his "grief counselor", Sugar, a blonde woman that is seen once, holding his hand on TV.
Gabe is said to be fat, looking like 'a tuskless walrus in thrift-store clothes', has a double-chin, and is bald but for three black hairs he has combed over his scalp. He is a heavy smoker of cigars, chews tobacco and drinks heavily, resulting in a very out of shape and aged appearance.
In the film, Gabe is portrayed by Joe Pantoliano. Gabe is shown to be much more violent towards Percy. Once Percy came back to warn Sally about what happened at the museum, Gabe came up to attack him, but Grover stepped in and knocked Gabe unconscious with his crutches, doing Percy a favor. Only then, were they able to leave. As a result, the part about staying at their beach cabin was cut.
At the end of the movie as the credits start rolling, Gabe was knocking on the door and Sally was telling him to pack all his stuff. When she left, Gabe wanted to drink beer so he took off the combination lock off the fridge after reading and ignoring the warning note from Percy saying to never open the fridge. When he opens the door, Medusa's head lights up and Gabe is turned to stone. Then the audience can hear the sound of cracking stone.
- He may be based off the King Polydectes who tried to marry Danae, the original Perseus' mother.
- But unlike the king, he succeeded in marrying his wife while the king never married Perseus' mother.
- Coincidentally, both Gabe and Polydectes met the same fate, both were petrified by Medusa's Head.
- His last name, "Ugliano", is a reference to how vile and putrid of a human being he is, and how his stink can ward off monsters.
- In The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical, Gabe’s petrified form is called “Bean Dip“ rather then “The Poker Player”.