Showing posts with label Tommy Lucchese. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tommy Lucchese. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Hollywood and the Mafia

Bollywood's connections with the underworld are common knowledge. There is a certain level of romanticism attached to the lives of the mafiosi and their molls. But, the fact remains that even Hollywood greats like ol' blue eyes Frank Sinatra and the original bombshell Marilyn Monroe were rumored to have underworld links. Here's a look at some of the folklore:

The ChairmanFrank 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.


MarilynMarilyn 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 SiegelBugsy 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 TurnerLana 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
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 BingSteve 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.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The Life and Times of a Mafia Insider - Tough Guy: A Memoir by Louis Ferrante

Hear the words "Mafia boss" and you think: olive-skinned with dark, slightly bloodshot eyes and a sharp suit. Louis Ferrante fulfils some of those preconceptions.

He is New York Italian, powerfully built, and was wearing a black shirt when interviewed for HARDtalk by Sarah Montague.

He worked for John Gotti of the infamous Gambino crime family, which pulled off some of the most lucrative heists in American history. But he is younger than you would think, given that he ran his own "crew" and did nine years in jail before deciding to change his life and become a writer.

Ferrante's moment of truth came when a prison guard at the Brooklyn Metropolitan Detention Center described him and his kind as "animals".

Two months in solitary forced him to ponder the question: was he an animal? If so, why was he one? "I thought about the people I'd victimised... and I realised I did deserve to be in a zoo," he recalls.

For the first time in his life he started reading books, looking deeper into himself and searching for some answers. He set himself the challenge to read the entire prison library.

"Prison was the greatest thing that happened to me, because it gave me time to look inside myself, the solitude that I needed to take a closer look at everything around me; to analyse myself."

He educated himself and converted to Judaism.

Given his experience behind bars, Ferrante believes the prison services should be about giving inmates the opportunity to change their lives. But before his own transformation, Ferrante's "greatest aspiration" was always to be a member of the Mafia.

He started off as a kid, sawing the tops of meters to get the coins, and hijacked his first truck as a teenager, using a gun.

"I was 17 years old. I liked girls. I liked to drive fast cars. I liked hamburgers and French fries.

"And I'd just realised that I liked to hijack trucks".

A common misconception about the Mafia is that you have to have a genetic link to a "family" in order to be a member. Not so, says Ferrante. The most famous Mob bosses were not born into "the Life".

Lucky Luciano, Thomas Lucchese, Carlos Marcello and Vito Genovese all started out as petty thieves, graduating to bigger crimes as the years passed. So did John Gotti and so did Ferrante.

Whether he is accurately described as a "boss" is debatable.

His memoir, Tough Guy, more modestly describes him as a "Mafia insider". But he was on the list being passed around the five Mafia families and was on the verge of being "made" when he was arrested for racketeering.

"I had a dozen good men under me... I was already equal to a made man, since I answered directly to the heads of my family."

In a legitimate business he would be considered middle management.

At the height of his criminal career Ferrante had the trappings of wealth. "I'd drop $10,000 at the tables in Atlantic City, pick up a $500 tab at a steakhouse, and hand out hundreds to anyone with a story."

He made his money robbing trucks, selling on bent goods bought with fake credit cards made from stolen numbers, dealing with anything from high quality white goods to government bonds.

In an early mistake he robbed a truck load of cheap underwear. "I was stuck with 500 boxes of brassieres I couldn't sell as slingshots".

But mostly his jobs were highly lucrative.

His book enables you to check what you think you know about the New York Italian underworld with reality.

You have to be Italian to be "made"? True.

Under no circumstances do you take your beef with another gangster to his home, involving his family. Also true.

He consorted with characters like Bert the Zip, Tony the Twitch and Barry the Brokester, who always maintained he could not pay you because he was broke.

Bobby Butterballs he leaves us to work out for ourselves.

He maintains that there is honour amongst thieves:

"Jimmy and I had no contract, no lawyers, no bill of sale; a handshake sealed the deal. Try that in the straight world".

And he would have you believe that he was a nice cuddly gangster. He maintains he never murdered anyone. But that was perhaps more by luck than judgement.

Ferrante glosses over quite how much he injured people, and he admits in his book that he beat someone up and left him not knowing whether he was alive or dead.

Collecting money, he says, was easy for him. "I collected $20,000 from a guy who owned a dress company in a garment centre. I threatened to hang him out the window. He paid, even though his office was on the first floor."

When HARDtalk presenter Sarah Montague asked him how he asserted himself in prison he used elliptical phrases like: I would have to "declare myself" or "express myself".

Writing his life story cannot have been an easy decision. The Mafia are not keen on insiders discussing their modus operandi.

He has changed the names to protect the innocent and conceal the guilty, and says as a matter of honour he has never ratted on his former associates.

Thanks to Bridget Osborne

Crime Family Index