The history of American organized crime is a long and sorted novel with all of the murder, mischief, and mayhem that an imagination can conjure. Over time, the exploits of a gangster and his gangster life has been romanticized by films and television. The reasons for the public’s fascination with lives of crime are as varied as the crimes themselves. It could be easily argued that the ‘anti-hero’ from dramatic entertainment has its roots in the gangster, or better yet, the outlaw with the heart of gold. It has spoken to people from the hallowed days of the ‘Robin Hood’ legend, until Tony Soprano, and beyond. Romanticism aside, the dark underbelly of crime, specifically organized crime is that murder is a hallmark tool of the trade. There is no human resource department in the mob, often promotions are a by-product of eliminating the man in your way, permanently. With that being said, Idiots Guide has taken some time to list 5 of the more notable mob hits in American history…
The Crazy ‘5’ Mob Hits…
#5. Albert Anastasia / Murdered: October 25, 1957 / Age: 55
In a turn reminiscent of Shakespearian irony, Albert Anastasia aka the ‘Lord High Executioner’ and founder of ‘Murder, Inc.’ (An association that was responsible for over 700 murders), met his end while seated in a midtown barber’s chair, murdered under the shining rays of morning daylight. At the time of his violent and untimely death, Mr. Anastasia was the acting boss of what would later become the Gambino crime family (of John Gotti fame). On the morning of October 25, 1957 (approximately 10:00 a.m), Mr. Anastasia was in a comfortably seated position, in the process of receiving an expensive haircut and shave. The swanky Park Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan would turn into a bloodbath within seconds, as suddenly two men with scarves obscuring their faces, rolled into the barbershop and immediately began spraying Albert Anastasia with bullets. A lightning quick hail of machine gun rounds that applied a final exclamation point on the murder book life of a hardened gangster. A life built on the illicit stilts of murder and mayhem, came crashing down on the newly blood stained, meticulously polished barbershop tile floor.
#4. Benjamin ‘Bugsy’ Siegel / Murdered: June 20, 1947 / Age: 41
On the night of June 20, 1947, Bugsy Siegel was seated in the living room of his girlfriends (Virginia Hill) Beverly Hills bungalow reading the latest edition of the Los Angeles Times. Then suddenly the quiet of the Southern California evening was shattered by the rapid fire coming from a .30 caliber M1 carbine rifle, through the window, unleashing a fury of bullets into Siegel’s body. Siegel’s body was turned into a revolting form of human swiss cheese. He suffered two head shots, either of which would have proved fatal, the remainder of bullets were symbolically excessive. There were many people with the proper amount of cynical motive to eliminate Mr. Siegal. However to date, no person or persons has ever been implicated and/or charged in this unsolved murder. More than a few salacious minded rumors have surfaced over the years claiming that Siegel was on the losing end of a love triangle, or rectangle. Suggesting that his murder may have come at the behest of the lover of his best friend’s wife, whom he was involved with…a truck driver. You follow all of that? Is it true? Who knows? All things are possible in love and war. What is undeniable is that Bugsy Siegel was one of the greatest, most influential gangsters of his or any era. Regardless, he was murdered by someone for some reason, on the evening of June 20th in the year of our lord, 1947.
#3. Carmine Galante / Murdered: July 12, 1979 / Age: 69
The fact of the matter is that Carmine Galante was not a well liked figure in the mafia world. He was known for being ruthless and greedy, and as a result, found himself murdered in broad daylight, with a lit cigar still hanging from his mouth. Many top members of the five New York crime families were disgusted at Galante’s narcotics rackets, not for any moral reasons, simply because he refused to share in the enormous profits. Galante was also overconfident to the point of self-delusion, once being quoted as saying “No one will ever kill me, they wouldn’t dare.” Wrong answer, Carmine. By the middle of 1979, the Mafia Commission had sanctioned Galante’s retirement…from life. On the afternoon of July 12, 1979, Galante was lighting a cigar just after a big lunch at ‘Joe and Mary’s’ Knickerbocker Avenue restaurant. He was seated in an open patio with Bonanno family capo Leonard Coppola, and the restaurant owner Giuseppe Turano, when suddenly three ski mask donning men ran into the patio area of the restaurant, and unleashed bullets from a mixture of shotguns and handguns. Galante was killed instantly, as were Turano, and Coppola. Interestingly, Galante’s ‘bodyguards’ Baldassare Amato and Cesare Bonventre did nothing to stop the ambush and had left the scene, unharmed. Something wasn’t exactly ‘Kosher’ with that, wouldn’t you say?
#2. Paul ‘Big Paul’ Castellano / Murdered: December 16, 1985 / Age: 70
Upon the death of Gambino family patriarch Carlo Gambino in October of 1976, Paul Castellano assumed the reigns as the ‘Boss’. This started a series of events that would end with his murder some nine years later. The Gambino became effectively split into two rivaling factions. The Gambino family was now a family of the ‘have’s’ and ‘have not’s’, with the ‘have not’s’ being led by the John Gotti faction. Castellano was routinely accused of playing favorites and cutting out certain members of the family (Gotti’s crew) from the most lucrative deals and/or scams. He was also seen as an elitist blowhard who preferred legitimate business over true mob business. John Gotti developed a deep hatred of Castellano and behind the scenes gathered support for his permanent removal from the face of the earth. Gotti was successful in retaining the appropriate allies and the plan was set. On the evening of December 16, 1985, Castellano was being driven to Sparks Steak House in Midtown Manhattan by underboss Tommy Bilotti. Waiting for them was a hit team that unloaded several dozen rounds into both Castellano and Bilotti as they exited their car. They were both killed instantly. John Gotti and Sammy ‘The Bull’ Gravano witnessed the murders from inside of a parked car across the street. They drove right by the dead bodies on their way to leading the Gambino family. A venture that history would go on to prove as less than fruitful, with John Gotti basically destroying the family.
#1. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre / Date: February 14, 1929
Al Capone didn’t earn his legendary reputation by selling vacuum cleaners, he was a ruthless gangster who ruled by murder and intimidation. Case in point, the notoriously famous ‘St. Valentine’s Day Massacre’ which was masterminded by Capone. This prohibition era mass murder of no less than seven members of the ‘North Side Irish Gang’ came as a result of a turf war between the Irish American’s, and the South Side Italian’s who worked under the auspices of Al Capone. It was a power-play to assume control of the entirety of Chicago organized crime. On the morning of February 14, 1929, at approximately 10:30 a.m, seven members of the ‘Moran Gang’ were lined up against a brick wall and cut to pieces with hundreds of machine gun rounds from the ubiquitous ‘Thompson Submachine Gun’ inside an otherwise empty garage located at 2122 North Clark Street on Chicago’s North Side. There were four shooters, two of which were disguised as policemen. Ironically, the true intended target Bugs Moran, was not present at the massacre, having been running late that day. The carnage was such that it horrified the nation, and brought much heat on Capone and his associates. Sadly, such violence was commonplace in 1920’s prohibition era America…