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Charles 'Lucky' Luciano Charles 'Lucky' Luciano
by The Ovi Team
2017-06-17 10:40:11
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June 17th 1936; Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano was found guilty on 62 counts of compulsory prostitution. Charles "Lucky" Luciano was one of the most famous gangsters in the U.S. during most of the 20th century, credited with turning syndicated crime into a nation-wide organization based on legitimate business models. Born in Sicily, he and his family moved to New York City in 1906. At an early age he established himself as a creative thug on the Lower East Side and eventually worked his way up to being a top aide to crime boss Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria. In the 1920s Masseria was involved in a prolonged turf war with rival crime boss Salvatore Maranzano. Luciano, who by this time had earned the nickname "Lucky" (supposedly by surviving a brutal attack on his life), made a deal with Maranzano and arranged for Joe the Boss to be assassinated in 1931. Luciano then arranged for the murder of Maranzano and became the biggest boss in New York City. With the help of childhood friend Meyer Lansky and strongman Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, Luciano then restructured organized crime. Together they created an organization that had a board of directors that focused on profits instead of traditional ethnic loyalties.

Luciano became a celebrity, living in high style and having celebrity pals such as actor George Raft and singer Frank Sinatra. His gangster fame caught up with him in 1936, when special prosecutor (and later New York's governor) Thomas E. Dewey charged Luciano with 62 counts of compulsory prostitution. Luciano was convicted and sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison. In February of 1946 Governor Dewey struck a deal that released Luciano from prison and deported him to Italy (the legend is that during World War II Luciano used his contacts to help the U.S. government fight the Nazis). Luciano, who had never lost his position as crime boss, even in prison, popped up in Cuba in 1947 and was again deported to Italy by U.S. officials. As he aged, his influence in the world of organized crime waned, but his celebrity status as one of the most flamboyant and creative criminals in modern history remained. He died of a heart attack in 1962.

 

 


    
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Emanuel Paparella2011-06-18 14:50:54
Unfortunately, it was the likes of “Lucky” Luciano and Al Capone and other infamous gangsters (made “famous” by the film industry) that have tarnished the good name of the several million Italian immigrants and their descendants in America, the vast majority of whom were and are hard working honest people who have made an enormous contribution to American culture. One could list thousands of names from the best internationally known. Let me simply provide a few here as they came to mind: Arturo Toscanini, Frank Stella, Antonio Meucci (inventor of the telephone), Charles Bonaparte (founder of the FBI), Major John Belli (quartermaster General of the US army from 1792 to 1794), Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua (Archbishop of Philadelphia), John Di Gioia (President of Georgetown University), L. Jay Oliva (President of New York University), A. Bartlett Giammatti (President of Yale University), John Ciardi, Pietro di Donato, Lawerence Farlinghetti, Barbara Grizzuti, Mario Puzo (author of The Godfather), Nancy Pelosi, Mario Cuomo, Samuel Alito (Supreme court), Anthony Scalia (Supreme Court), Gian Carlo Menotti. Among the actors and entertainers come to mind Francis Coppola, Nicholas Cage, Nicholas Torturro, Caruso, Lanza, Isabella Rossellini, Robert De Niro, Danny De Vito, Liza Minelli, Danny Aiello, Ben Gazzara, Paul Sorvino, Ernst Bergnine,Victor Mature, Al Pacino, Frank Sinatra, Frank Capra, Quentin Tarantino.

Finally, here is an historical anecdote: on the Nixon secret tapes later made public one overhears Richard Nixon saying to one of his aids “I never met an Italian who was honest.” A few years later he met two honest Italian-Americans: Anthony Rodino, the congressman who started the proceedings for impeachment of Richard Nixon, and John Sirica, the federal judge who presided over those proceedings.


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