Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Frank Sinatra, actor-singer:
Special agents from the CIA and FBI had kept tabs him on the since 1947 when he took a four-day trip to Havana. He had painted the town red with a gaggle of powerful Cosa Nostra members. Sinatra's other rumored criminal associates included Joseph and Rocco Fischetti, who were cousins of Al Capone and reigning Chicago boss Sam Giancana. When Giancana had been arrested in 1958, the police found Sinatra's private telephone number in Giancana's wallet.
In the summer of 1959, Sinatra allegedly hosted a nine-day, round-the-clock party at the Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City where Chicago wise guys rubbed elbows with top East Coast mobsters, including Vito Genovese and Tommy Lucchese. Charges like these plagued Frank Sinatra throughout his life, and he repeatedly and vehemently denied having any association with the mafia.
Marilyn Monroe, actress:
The extensive influence the Chicago mafia had over Hollywood is best illustrated in 1948 when Chicago Mafia boss Tony Accardo had told John Rosselli to force powerful Columbia Pictures' president Harry Cohn into signing then-unknown actor Marilyn Monroe to a lucrative multi-year contract. The usually highly combative Cohn quickly complied without opposition, mainly because Cohn had obtained control of Columbia through mob funds and influence provided by both Accardo and Rosselli.
Bugsy Siegel, mobster:
Siegel had a number of mistresses, including actor Ketti Gallian and Wendy Barrie With the aid of DiFrasso and actor friend George Raft, Siegel gained entry into Hollywood's inner circle. He is alleged to have used his contacts to extort movie studios. He lived in extravagant fashion, as befitting his reputation. The highly fictionalized motion picture Bugsy was based on his life with Warren Beatty in the title role.
Lana Turner, actor:
After acting in 'Johnny Eager', a mafia flick, Lana began her own involvement with a real life mobster, Johnny Stompenado, a crew member for the Hollywood mob organisation headed then by Mickey Cohen. Stompenado had confronted several of Turner's screen co-stars, including a celebrated tiff with Sean Connery.
Mickey Cohen, mobster:
He begun his mafia career as a thug for Vegas boss Ben Siegel before moving to Hollywood. Cohen inherited Siegel's racing interests and operated a small haberdashery in Los Angeles that served as a front for a book making enterprise. Always high profile, he dressed lavishly and flaunted his money and friendships with Hollywood heavy-weights.
Steve Bing, producer:
Best know for being the father of Elizabeth Hurley's son Damian, Bing's friends are said to include Dominic 'Donny Shacks' Montemarano, a felon and one time capo in the mafia.
Thanks to After Hrs.
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
The dossiers, complete with black-and-white photos, chronicle the backgrounds of wiseguys ranging from mob bosses Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, Sam Giancana and "Crazy Joe" Gallo to lesser lights like Al Capone's two-bit hoodlum brothers.
The files read like single-page snapshots of the mobsters' lives - their aliases and detailed physical descriptions, from distinguishing scars, tattoos and facial tics to styles of dress, home addresses, arrest histories and family trees - and even the names of mistresses.
Also revealed are the legitimate businesses they owned and their preferred leisure haunts - racetracks, prizefights, nightclubs and favorite restaurants - as well as an overview of the criminal status each man held within the larger Mafia firmament.
The 944 pages of material - featured in the book "Mafia: The Government's Secret File on Organized Crime,"from HarperCollins - was mined from the raw intelligence gathered by agents of the U.S. Treasury Department's Bureau of Narcotics, a forerunner of today's Drug Enforcement Administration.
The cavalcade of hoods includes two men named Frank Paul Dragna, the son and nephew of one-time Los Angeles Mafia kingpin Jack Dragna.
The first Frank is known as "One Eye," the second "Two Eye," to distinguish the cousin with the glass right eye.
Entrants are listed by state, and New York, with more than 350 wiseguys, overwhelmingly leads the pack. A multitude of others resided in California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey and Michigan. There are groupings of gangsters from Canada, France and Italy, as well.
The index cross-references each racketeer by nickname, many of them hilarious.
There's "The Old Man" (there are, actually, three), "The Bald Head," "Hunchback Harry," "Schnozzola" (he has a large nose), "Mickey Mouse" (he has large ears), "Slim," three people dubbed "Cockeyed," as well as four "Fats" and a "Fat Artie," "Fat Freddie," "Fat Sonny" and "Fat Tony" for good measure.
There's "Big Al," "Big Frank" (two), "Big Freddy," "Big John," "Big Larry," "Big Mike" (two), "Big Nose Larry," "Big Pat," "Big Phil," "Big Sam," "Big Sol," "Big Yok" - even a "Mr. Big."
Thanks to Phillip Messing
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The epic battle between a determined police chief and a dangerous mobster inflames 1940s Los Angeles in TNT's eagerly anticipated television event Mob City (formerly known as Lost Angels). This powerful drama comes to TNT from Frank Darabont (The Walking Dead), who wrote and directed the pilot and serves as executive producer on the series.
Based on the critically acclaimed book L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America's Most Seductive City, by John Buntin, Mob City opens in post-war Los Angeles, home to glamorous movie stars, powerful studio heads and returning war heroes. But it's also a city caught between a powerful and corrupt police force and an even more dangerous criminal network determined to make L.A. its West Coast base.
Los Angeles Police Chief William Parker (Neal McDonough -- Captain America, Desperate Housewives)) has made it his mission to free the city of criminals like Ben "Bugsy" Siegel (Ed Burns -- Entourage) and Mickey Cohen (Jeremy Luke -- Don Jon), the ruthless king of the Los Angeles underworld. Parker also won't hesitate to go after anyone from his own police force who sells out honor and duty for the sake of a big payout. To carry out his sweep of organized crime, Parker sets up a new mob task force within the LAPD. Headed by Det. Hal Morrison (Jeffrey DeMunn -- The Walking Dead, The Shawshank Redemption), the task force includes Det. Joe Teague (Jon Bernthal -- The Walking Dead), an ex-Marine who holds his cards close to his chest.
Mob City's exceptional ensemble cast also includes Gregory Itzin (24), Robert Knepper (Prison Break), Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) and Alexa Davalos (Clash of the Titans, The Mist).
Mob City is produced by TNT Originals, with Darabont, Michael De Luca (The Social Network) and Elliot Webb (Alpha House) serving as executive producers.
Premieres Wednesday, December 4 at 10/9c on TNT.
Saturday, January 05, 2013
“I thought it would be a fun old-school gangster picture with a cast I have great admiration for,” Penn says on what drew him to the film. “And upon meeting director Ruben Fleischer, I was sold.”
Set in Los Angeles, 1949, “Gangster Squad” revolves around ruthless, Brooklyn-born mob king Mickey Cohen who runs the show in this town, reaping the ill-gotten gains from the drugs, the guns, the prostitutes and—if he has his way—every wire bet placed west of Chicago. And he does it all with the protection of not only his own paid goons, but also the police and the politicians he has under his thumb. It’s enough to intimidate even the bravest, street-hardened cop…except, perhaps, for the small, secret crew of LAPD outsiders led by Sgt. John O’Mara (Josh Brolin) and Sgt. Jerry Wooters (Ryan Gosling), who come together to try to tear Cohen’s world apart.
Mickey Cohen may be an underworld figure, but his very public image and commanding presence make him a man not to be crossed…in business or pleasure. He goes beyond merciless; any breach is a betrayal for which one pays the ultimate price. But he also has the undeniable charisma that comes with great power.
According to producer Dan Lin, “Cohen, in real life, was over the top. He was a gangster, but a Hollywood gangster. He was funny, he loved talking to reporters and, in public, he really wanted to entertain people, as if he were one of the movie stars he was always trying to woo. Of course, in private, he was doing dark, evil things.”
Fleischer cites, “When I imagined bringing the movie to the screen, the one character that everything seemed to hinge on was Cohen, the villain, this larger-than-life personality. I immediately thought of Sean Penn, so having him in the role was huge. Mickey is such a dynamic, memorable, menacing character and Sean has the gravitas, the intensity and the humor to pull it off.”
Though only remotely familiar with the real man, Penn says that for his interpretation of the character, “I tried to ignore the literal. The real Mickey Cohen so resembled Al Capone, who I thought De Niro had done so indelibly in ‘The Untouchables,’ that I felt, for a wide audience who largely would not have been aware of Mickey Cohen, mimicking Cohen in looks or behavior would have been unnecessarily burdened with baggage. I thought it was interesting to approach it and let it grow from just a few pieces of Cohen’s background. He was a prize fighter, but the style of fighting was more primitive than today, and Cohen was more primitive in many ways.”
“Sean really brought to life this guy who, in reality and in our somewhat fictionalized account of him, has a huge ego and is very colorful,” producer Kevin McCormick relates. “Cohen had his own publicists, spreads in Life Magazine, owned his own haberdashery and never wore the same suit twice, and had a collection of beautiful, statuesque ladies on his arm all the time. Sean’s interpretation of the man is fascinating. In the heyday of gangster movies, those guys were always such seductive characters, and I think Sean has that same ability to mesmerize us.”
“There’s something very appealing about the way Sean plays Mickey Cohen,” co-star Josh Brolin echoes. “Watching him during a scene, I couldn’t help but like him, even though my character despises him and everything he stands for. Sean really brought out the charm in him, even when he was doing something deadly.”
“Gangster Squad” is distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
At least that's the assessment of experts who monitor groups like the Russian Mafia in Los Angeles County.
"They take advantage," said Los Angeles County sheriff's Sgt. Larry Hastings. "The more money that's out there; if there's some type of scam they can get into, they'll go after it. If there's an angle they'll work it."
Hastings heads a squad specifically tasked with taking on organized crime. In recent years the men and women who work for him report a surge in Russian gangsters throughout the region.
"It used to be they were just on the Westside," Hastings said. "Now pretty much we are getting stuff all over. It's spread everywhere."
There's nothing new about gangsters profiting in an economic downturn. During the Great Depression, Al Capone ran rackets in Chicago, while Lucky Luciano ran them in New York and Mickey Cohen took care of business here in Los Angeles.
Those crime families, primarily Italian, are known in law enforcement as La Cosa Nostra or LCN. Their profits derived primarily from vice - bootlegging, prostitution, drugs, gambling and extortion. And, as they gained notoriety, made LCN members were glamorized in Hollywood, lived like celebrities and became huge targets for law enforcement, Hastings said.
A Godfather called the shots and his capos and lieutenants carried out the orders.
Advertisement But the new organized crime groups, while expert in all the old-school tricks, present a problem for law enforcement. Their structure is not well defined. They fly under the radar. There is no Godfather.
"It's really difficult to explain," Hastings said. "They are loosely organized and spread all over. They are not like street gangs or LCN."
Instead of cozying up to Hollywood types, Russian mobsters get close to politicians and successful businessmen, Hastings said. The new rackets are complicated fraud scams that target credit cards, ATM machines, and the fountains of government money intended for health care, welfare and a variety of other social needs.
As more and more money pours out of Washington, experts believe crime groups formed in Soviet prisons under Stalin are ready to put on a full-court press.
There's little doubt the Russian mob will use all the tricks at its disposal, according to Gerald Caiden, a USC professor of public policy, who is an expert in organized crime.
"These guys know how to diddle the system," Caiden said. "They'll figure out a way to get swing loans from (the government) using fake addresses and any other means they can."
Caiden believes Russian scam artists are primarily responsible for the collapse of our Social Security system. "It's awful what these guys have done," Caiden said.
Bottom line: a sagging economy, billions of new government dollars pouring into the system and a ruthless group intent on profiteering can only mean more trouble for already overburdened law enforcement agencies tracking these thugs.
"They are about making money," Hastings said. "What's happening now is not going to hurt them."
Thanks to Frank Giradot
Monday, October 22, 2007
Johnny Roselli was the mob's ambassador-without-portfolio, corrupting the film industry's unions in Hollywood and becoming the go-to guy in Las Vegas and Miami. After testifying before a Senate committee and emerging as a player in the mob's long-rumored involvement in JFK's assassination, his body washed up off Miami.
Meyer Lansky was the mob's gambling czar and set up casinos in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Hot Springs, Ark., New Orleans, Las Vegas, Florida and Cuba. Refused citizenship in Israel, he retired to Miami. Immortalized by actor Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth in "The Godfather II."
Vito Genovese sought to dethrone Lucky Luciano as capo di tutti capi; conspired to assassinate mob rival Frank Costello, leading to the ill-fated mob conference in Apalachin, N.Y., that put the Mafia under the eye of investigators. Died in federal prison after mob cohorts reportedly set him up on a heroin rap.
Paul Castellano, Gambino's heir, ran meat and poultry businesses and lived sumptuously in a Todt Hill, S.I., mansion known as "The White House." Dapper Don John Gotti supposedly orchestrated his Dec. 16, 1985, assassination outside a Manhattan steakhouse.
Frank Costello was a Tammany Hall fixer and diplomat whose gravel-voiced persona supposedly was the inspiration for Marlon Brando's Don Corleone in "The Godfather." Lived on Park Avenue and in Sands Point, L.I.; retired after Vito Genovese's failed assassination bid in May 1957.
Carmine Galante, a feared hit man and dope dealer, assumed the reins of the Bonanno crime family in the '70s; was gunned down at an Italian restaurant in Bushwick, Brooklyn, where his bullet-riddled body lay crumpled on the ground, a cigar still hanging from his mouth.
Mickey Cohen, head of Los Angeles gambling rackets, maintained a host of powerful friends, including Frank Sinatra - who once appealed to him to get mobster Johnny Stompanato to stop dating Ava Gardner. Depicted by Harvey Keitel in the 1991 film "Bugsy" and by Paul Guilfoyle in 1997's "L.A. Confidential."
Carlo Gambino infiltrated the garment industry while heading the country's largest and most powerful mob family, yet managed to avoid the limelight - and the scrutiny of cops - by living quietly at 2230 Ocean Parkway in Gravesend, Brooklyn. Died of a heart attack in 1976.
James Ralph "Bottles" Capone was the lesser-known and benignly named brother of the Windy City's uber-gangster, Al "Scarface" Capone. Lived with a sister at Martha Lake, near Mercer, Wis., and was said to have had numerous arrests - but no felony convictions. He reputedly owned a vending machine business in western Chicago.
Charles "Lucky" Luciano, considered a visionary in mob history, helped engineer the five-family crime structure in New York City. Given 30 years for running brothels, he served only a decade behind bars, with the proviso that he be deported to Italy.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Currently under development, Stompanato is a movie based on the true-life love affair of actress Lana Turner and gangster Johnny Stompanato.
While Sharon Stone had been associated with this project on and off, Catherine Zeta-Jones has recently been chosen to play Lana Turner. Supposedly, after the announcement that Catherine Zeta-Jones was cast as Lana Turner, a miffed Sharon Stone threw a fit. According to Stone, the late Turner tapped her as the actress to portray the screen legend's life. Whether that is true or not, I was never a fan of Sharon Stone at all. The biopic will detail the notorious murder of Turner's gangster boyfriend Johnny Stompanato (played by Keanu Reeves at the hands of Turner's daughter. Stone was attached to the film for years with projects falling through left and right. The bosses for the project wanted a younger actress, hence casting the 36-year-old Zeta-Jones over Stone. Scarlett Johansson is in talks to take the role of the daughter.
Stompanato was a small time hood who became the body guard for Mickey Cohen, the head of the West Coast "Mickey Mouse" mob. Cohen was the protege of Bugsy Siegal and took over Siegal's Hollywood operations after Siegal was whacked. Throughout their relationship, Stompanato was physically abusive to Turner, including beating her on the night of the Oscar's in 1958 where Turner was nominated for best actress. It was this abuse that led to Turner's daughter to defend her mother.
Friday, October 06, 2006
Once home to New York's huge immigrant Italian population and a hot-bed of mafia activity, Little Italy still draws crowds fascinated by mob life.
Now a popular tourist destination, there is little in Little Italy to back its violent history and visitors are unlikely to encounter anything more unusual than the smell of fresh garlic wafting from family-owned restaurants. But a recent exhibition, "Made In America, the Mob's Greatest Hits," gave fans of fictional mobsters Tony Soprano and Vito Corleone a taste of what the community used to be like with curator Artie Nash in talks to take the show elsewhere.
The exhibition housed in a small museum in Little Italy, featured a collection of original photographs and arrest warrants of some of the most notorious Mafiosos, including Al Capone and Charles "Lucky" Luciano. Luciano was the Italian-U.S. mobster behind the explosion in the international heroin trade on whom the character of Vito Corleone in "The Godfather" was loosely based.
Nash, curator of the exhibition, spent the best part of 15 years putting the collection together piece by piece, from both police department sources and from the estates of some of the most famous figures in organized crime. "I am mainly fascinated by the relationship that the American public have had with organized crime. It really has, over the last 75 years, permeated our popular culture to such a great degree," Nash told Reuters.
The mob enjoyed its hey-day during the backbreaking years of the Great Depression and Prohibition in the 1920's and 30's, when gangs all over the country carved out an existence in bootlegging, drug-dealing, blackmail and racketeering.
New York and Chicago were home to some of the most active branches of the mob and violent rivalries between different Mafia "families" often resulted in bloodshed.
Hollywood and the media have contributed in large part to glamorizing the life of the mobster, often depicted as fiercely loyal foot soldiers who struggled to protect their families.
The exhibit has attracted a wide variety of visitors, including students, high-ranking police officers, and even some current crime figures, Nash said.
Actor Leonardo Di Caprio even took a tour of the collection to check out the real "Gangs of New York," the 2002 Martin Scorsese film in which he played a gangster in the blood-soaked turf wars set in the 19th century in the notorious "Five Points" slum in what is now downtown Manhattan.
Popular items include a fedora worn by "Crazy Joe" Gallo, a ruthless Brooklyn-born killer, the day he was shot on Mulberry Street and a collection of silk pajamas from the lavish wardrobe of diminutive dapper Los Angeles don, Mickey Cohen.
The collection also features a series of gruesome photos of the victims of "Murder Inc," a crime organization that carried out hundreds of hits on behalf of the Mafia in the 1920's.
Public interest in the Mafia has been revived in recent years by hit TV drama "The Sopranos" and real-life events such as the trial of accused mob boss John Gotti, son of the late John J. Gotti, former head of New York's Gambino family.
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