Al Capone

Alphonse Gabriel Capone (/ˈæl kəˈpoʊn/;[2] Italian: [ˈal kaˈpoːne]; January 17, 1899 – January 25, 1947), sometimes known by the nickname "Scarface", was an American gangster and businessman who attained notoriety during the Prohibition era as the co-founder and boss of the Chicago Outfit. His seven-year reign as crime boss ended when he was 33.

Capone was born in New York City, to Italian immigrants. He was a Five Points Gang member who became a bouncer in organized crime premises such as brothels. In his early twenties, he moved to Chicago and became a bodyguard and trusted factotum for Johnny Torrio, head of a criminal syndicate that illegally supplied alcohol—the forerunner of the Outfit—and was politically protected through the Unione Siciliana. A conflict with the North Side Gang was instrumental in Capone's rise and fall. Torrio went into retirement after North Side gunmen almost killed him, handing control to Capone. Capone expanded the bootlegging business through increasingly violent means, but his mutually profitable relationships with mayor William Hale Thompson and the city's police meant he seemed safe from law enforcement.

Capone apparently reveled in attention, such as the cheers from spectators when he appeared at ball games. He made donations to various charities and was viewed by many as "modern-day Robin Hood". However, the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre, in which seven gang rivals were murdered in broad daylight, damaged Chicago's and Capone's image, leading influential citizens to demand government action and newspapers to dub Capone "Public Enemy No. 1".

The federal authorities became intent on jailing Capone and prosecuted him in 1931 for tax evasion. During a highly publicized case, the judge admitted as evidence Capone's admissions of his income and unpaid taxes during prior (and ultimately abortive) negotiations to pay the government taxes he owed. He was convicted and sentenced to 11 years in federal prison. After conviction, he replaced his defense team with experts in tax law, and his grounds for appeal were strengthened by a Supreme Court ruling, but his appeal ultimately failed. Capone showed signs of neurosyphilis early in his sentence and became increasingly debilitated before being released after almost eight years of incarceration. On January 25, 1947, Capone died of cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke.

Al Capone
Al Capone in 1930
Al Capone in 1930
Born
Alphonse Gabriel Capone

January 17, 1899
DiedJanuary 25, 1947 (aged 48)
Palm Island, Florida, U.S.
Resting placeMount Carmel Cemetery[1]
Hillside, Illinois, U.S.
Other namesScarface, Big Al, Big Boy, Public Enemy No. 1
OccupationGangster, bootlegger, racketeer, boss of Chicago Outfit
Known forBoss of the Chicago Outfit, and the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre
Spouse(s)
Mae Coughlin (m. 1918)
Children1
Criminal chargeTax evasion
Penalty11-year sentence in Atlanta U.S. Penitentiary and Alcatraz
Signature
Al Capone Signature

Early life and education

Al Capone mother
Alphonse Gabriel "Al" Capone with his mother, Teresa

Al Capone was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 17, 1899.[3] His parents were Italian immigrants Gabriele Capone (1865–1920) and Teresa Capone (née Raiola; 1867–1952). His father was a barber and his mother was a seamstress, both born in Angri, a town in the Province of Salerno.[4][5]

Gabriele and Teresa had nine children: Alphonse "Al" Capone; Vincenzo Capone, who later changed his name to Richard Hart and became a Prohibition agent in Homer, Nebraska; Raffaele James Capone, AKA Ralph "Bottles" Capone, who took charge of his brother's beverage industry; Salvatore "Frank" Capone, Ermina Capone, who died at the age of one, Ermino "John" Capone, Albert Capone, Matthew Capone, and Mafalda Capone (who married John J. Maritote). Ralph and Frank worked with him in his criminal empire. Frank did so until his death on April 1, 1924. Ralph ran the bottling companies (both legal and illegal) early on, and was also the front man for the Chicago Outfit for some time until he was imprisoned for tax evasion in 1932.

The Capone family immigrated to the United States, after first moving to nearby Fiume in Austria-Hungary in 1893. From that port city they traveled on a ship to the U.S., where they settled at 95 Navy Street, in the Navy Yard section of downtown Brooklyn. Gabriele Capone worked at a nearby barber shop at 29 Park Avenue. When Al was 11, the Capone family moved to 38 Garfield Place in Park Slope, Brooklyn.[3]

Capone showed promise as a student, but had trouble with the rules at his strict parochial Catholic school. His schooling ended at the age of 14, after he was expelled for hitting a female teacher in the face.[6] He worked at odd jobs around Brooklyn, including a candy store and a bowling alley.[7] During this time, Capone was influenced by gangster Johnny Torrio, whom he came to regard as a mentor.[8]

Career

Capone initially became involved with small-time gangs that included the Junior Forty Thieves and the Bowery Boys. He then joined the Brooklyn Rippers, and then the powerful Five Points Gang based in Lower Manhattan. During this time, he was employed and mentored by fellow racketeer Frankie Yale, a bartender in a Coney Island dance hall and saloon called the Harvard Inn. Capone inadvertently insulted a woman while working the door at a Brooklyn night club and was slashed by her brother Frank Gallucio. The wounds led to the nickname "Scarface" which Capone loathed.[9][10][11] When he was photographed, he hid the scarred left side of his face, saying that the injuries were war wounds.[10][12] He was called "Snorky" by his closest friends, a term for a sharp dresser.[13]

Marriage and family

Capone married Mae Josephine Coughlin at age 19 on December 30, 1918. She was Irish Catholic and earlier that month had given birth to their son Albert Francis "Sonny" Capone (1918–2004). Capone was under the age of 21, and his parents had to consent in writing to the marriage.[14] By all accounts, the two had a happy marriage despite his gang life.[15]

Chicago

At about 20 years of age, Capone left New York for Chicago at the invitation of Johnny Torrio, who was imported by crime boss James "Big Jim" Colosimo as an enforcer. Capone began in Chicago as a bouncer in a brothel, where he contracted syphilis. Timely use of Salvarsan probably could have cured the infection, but he apparently never sought treatment.[16] In 1923, he purchased a small house at 7244 South Prairie Avenue in the Park Manor neighborhood on the city's south side for US$5,500.[17] In the early years of the decade, his name began appearing in newspaper sports pages where he was described as a boxing promoter.[18] Torrio took over Colosimo's crime empire after Colosimo's murder on May 11, 1920, in which Capone was suspected of being involved.[6][19][20]

Torrio headed an essentially Italian organized crime group that was the biggest in the city, with Capone as his right-hand man. He was wary of being drawn into gang wars and tried to negotiate agreements over territory between rival crime groups. The smaller North Side Gang led by Dean O'Banion (also known as Dion O'Banion) was of mixed ethnicity, and it came under pressure from the Genna brothers who were allied with Torrio. O'Banion found that Torrio was unhelpful with the encroachment of the Gennas into the North Side, despite his pretensions to be a settler of disputes.[21] In a fateful step, Torrio either arranged for or acquiesced to the murder of O'Banion at his flower shop in October 1924. This placed Hymie Weiss at the head of the gang, backed by Vincent Drucci and Bugs Moran. Weiss had been a close friend of O'Banion, and the North Siders made it a priority to get revenge on his killers.[22][23][24]

Al Capone was a frequent visitor to RyeMabee in Monteagle, Tennessee "when he was traveling between Chicago and his Florida estate in Miami."[25]

Boss

Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone, 02-1931 - NARA - 541927
Unemployed men outside a soup kitchen opened by Al Capone in Chicago during the Depression, February 1931

In January 1925, Capone was ambushed, leaving him shaken but unhurt. Twelve days later, Torrio was returning from a shopping trip when he was shot several times. After recovering, he effectively resigned and handed control to Capone, age 26, who became the new boss of an organization that took in illegal breweries and a transportation network that reached to Canada, with political and law-enforcement protection. In turn, he was able to use more violence to increase revenue. An establishment that refused to purchase liquor from him often got blown up, and as many as 100 people were killed in such bombings during the 1920s. Rivals saw Capone as responsible for the proliferation of brothels in the city.[24][26][27][28]

Capone indulged in custom suits, cigars, gourmet food and drink (his preferred liquor was Templeton Rye from Iowa),[29] and female companionship. He was particularly known for his flamboyant and costly jewelry. His favorite responses to questions about his activities were: "I am just a businessman, giving the people what they want"; and, "All I do is satisfy a public demand." Capone had become a national celebrity and talking point.[9]

He based himself in Cicero, Illinois after using bribery and widespread intimidation to take over town council elections, and this made it difficult for the North Siders to target him.[9][30] His driver was found tortured and murdered, and there was an attempt on Weiss's life in the Chicago Loop. On September 20, 1926, the North Side Gang used a ploy outside the Capone headquarters at the Hawthorne Inn, aimed at drawing him to the windows. Gunmen in several cars then opened fire with Thompson submachine guns and shotguns at the windows of the first-floor restaurant. Capone was unhurt and called for a truce, but the negotiations fell through. Three weeks later, Weiss was killed outside the former O'Banion flower shop North Side headquarters. The owner of Hawthorne's restaurant was a friend of Capone's, and he was kidnapped and killed by Moran and Drucci in January 1927.[31][32]

Capone became increasingly security-minded and desirous of getting away from Chicago.[32][33] As a precaution, he and his entourage would often show up suddenly at one of Chicago's train depots and buy up an entire Pullman sleeper car on a night train to Cleveland, Omaha, Kansas City, Little Rock, or Hot Springs, where they would spend a week in luxury hotel suites under assumed names. In 1928, Capone paid $40,000 to beer magnate August Busch for a 14-room retreat at 93 Palm Avenue on Palm Island, Florida in Biscayne Bay between Miami and Miami Beach.[9] He never registered any property under his name. He did not even have a bank account, but always used Western Union for cash delivery, not more than $1,000.[34] In an effort to clean up his image, Capone donated to charities and sponsored a soup kitchen in Chicago during the Depression.[35][36]

Political alliances

The protagonists of Chicago's politics had long been associated with questionable methods, and even newspaper circulation "wars", but the need for bootleggers to have protection in city hall introduced a far more serious level of violence and graft. Capone is generally seen as having an appreciable effect in bringing about the victories of Republican William Hale Thompson, especially in the 1927 mayoral race when Thompson campaigned for a wide open town, at one time hinting that he'd reopen illegal saloons.[37] Such a proclamation helped his campaign gain the support of Capone, and he allegedly accepted a contribution of $250,000 from the gangster. In the 1927 mayoral race, Thompson beat William Emmett Dever by a relatively slim margin.[38][39] Thompson's powerful Cook County political machine had drawn on the often-parochial Italian community, but this was in tension with his highly successful courting of African Americans.[40][41][42]

Capone continued to back Thompson. Voting booths were targeted by Capone's bomber James Belcastro in the wards where Thompson's opponents were thought to have support, on the polling day of April 10, 1928, in the so-called Pineapple Primary, causing the deaths of at least 15 people. Belcastro was accused of the murder of lawyer Octavius Granady, an African American who challenged Thompson's candidate for the African American vote, and was chased through the streets on polling day by cars of gunmen before being shot dead. Four policemen were among those charged along with Belcastro, but all charges were dropped after key witnesses recanted their statements. An indication of the attitude of local law enforcement to Capone's organization came in 1931 when Belcastro was wounded in a shooting; police suggested to skeptical journalists that Belcastro was an independent operator.[43][44][45][46][47]

The 1929 Saint Valentine's Day Massacre led to public disquiet about Thompson's alliance with Capone and was a factor in Anton J. Cermak winning the mayoral election on April 6, 1931.[48]

Saint Valentine's Day Massacre

Florida-Miami-Al Capones Mansion-1922-1
The entrance of Al Capone's mansion in Miami, Florida, located in 93 Palm Avenue. Capone bought the estate in 1927 and lived there until his death in 1947.

Capone was widely assumed to have been responsible for ordering the 1929 Saint Valentine's Day Massacre in an attempt to eliminate Bugs Moran, head of the North Side Gang. Moran was the last survivor of the North Side gunmen; his succession had come about because his similarly aggressive predecessors Vincent Drucci and Hymie Weiss had been killed in the violence that followed the murder of original leader Dean O'Banion.[9][49][50]

To monitor their targets' habits and movements, Capone's men rented an apartment across from the trucking warehouse and garage at 2122 North Clark Street, which served as Moran's headquarters. On the morning of Thursday, February 14, 1929,[51][52] Capone's lookouts signaled gunmen disguised as police officers to initiate a "police raid". The faux police lined the seven victims along a wall and signaled for accomplices armed with machine guns and shotguns. Photos of the slain victims shocked the public and damaged Capone's reputation. Within days, Capone received a summons to testify before a Chicago grand jury on charges of federal Prohibition violations, but he claimed to be too unwell to attend.[53]

Capone was primarily known for ordering other men to do his dirty work for him. One story, however, has Capone, having discovered that three of his men—Scalise, Anselmi, and Giunta—were conspiring against him with a rival gangster, Joe Aiello, reportedly arranging for the conspirators to dine with him and his bodyguards.[54] After a night of drinking, Capone beat the men with a baseball bat and then ordered his bodyguards to shoot them, a scene that was included in the 1987 film The Untouchables.[55] Deirdre Bair, along with writers and historians such as William Elliot Hazelgrove, have questioned the veracity of the claim.[55][56] Bair questioned why "three trained killers could sit quietly and let this happen", while Hazelgrove stated that Capone would have been "hard pressed to beat three men to death with a baseball bat" and that he would have instead let an enforcer perform the murders.[55][56] But despite claims that the story was first reported by author Walter Noble Burns in his 1931 book The One-way Ride: The red trail of Chicago gangland from prohibition to Jake Lingle,[55] Capone biographers Max Allan Collins and A. Brad Schwartz have found versions of the story in press coverage shortly after the crime. Collins and Schwartz suggest that similarities among reported versions of the story indicate a basis in truth and that the Outfit deliberately spread the tale to enhance Capone's fearsome reputation.[57]:xvi, 209-213, 565 George Meyer, an associate of Capone's, also claimed to have witnessed both the planning of the murders and the event itself.[58]

Trials

Al-capone-cell
Capone's cell at the now closed Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, where he spent about nine months starting in May 1929

On March 27, 1929, Capone was arrested by FBI agents as he left a Chicago courtroom after testifying to a grand jury that was investigating violations of federal prohibition laws. He was charged with contempt of court for feigning illness to avoid an earlier appearance.[59] On May 16, 1929, Capone was arrested in Philadelphia, PA for carrying a concealed weapon. On May 17, 1929, Capone was indicted by a grand jury and a trial was held before Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge John E Walsh. Following the entering of a guilty plea by his attorney, Capone was sentenced to a prison term of one year.[60] On August 8, 1929, Capone was transferred to Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary. A week after his release in March 1930, Capone was listed as the number one "Public Enemy" on the unofficial Chicago Crime Commission's widely publicized list.[61]

Al Capone in Florida
Mug shot of Capone in Miami, Florida, 1930

In April 1930, Capone was arrested on vagrancy charges when visiting Miami Beach; the governor had ordered sheriffs to run him out of the state. Capone claimed that Miami police had refused him food and water and threatened to arrest his family. He was charged with perjury for making these statements, but was acquitted after a three-day trial in July.[62] In September, a Chicago judge issued a warrant for Capone's arrest on charges of vagrancy, and then used the publicity to run against Thompson in the Republican primary.[63][64] In February 1931, Capone was tried on the contempt of court charge. In court, Judge James Herbert Wilkerson intervened to reinforce questioning of Capone's doctor by the prosecutor. Wilkerson sentenced Capone to six months, but he remained free while on appeal of the contempt conviction.[65][66]

Tax evasion

Assistant Attorney General Mabel Walker Willebrandt recognized that mob figures publicly led lavish lifestyles yet never filed tax returns, and thus could be convicted of tax evasion without requiring hard evidence to get testimony about their other crimes. She tested this approach by prosecuting a South Carolina bootlegger, Manley Sullivan.[67] In 1927, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Sullivan that the approach was legally sound: illegally earned income was subject to income tax; Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. rejected the argument that the Fifth Amendment protected criminals from reporting illegal income.[68]

The IRS special investigation unit chose Frank J. Wilson to investigate Capone, with the focus on his spending. The key to Capone's conviction on tax charges was proving his income, and the most valuable evidence in that regard originated in his offer to pay tax. Ralph, his brother and a gangster in his own right, was tried for tax evasion in 1930. Ralph spent the next three years in prison after being convicted in a two-week trial over which Wilkerson presided.[69] Capone ordered his lawyer to regularize his tax position. Crucially, during the ultimately abortive negotiations that followed, his lawyer stated the income that Capone was willing to pay tax on for various years, admitting income of $100,000 for 1928 and 1929, for instance. Hence, without any investigation, the government had been given a letter from a lawyer acting for Capone conceding his large taxable income for certain years. In 1931, Capone was charged with income tax evasion, as well as with various violations of the Volstead Act (Prohibition) at the Chicago Federal Building in the courtroom of Judge James Herbert Wilkerson.[70] U. S. Attorney George E. Q. Johnson agreed to a deal that he hoped might result in the judge giving Capone a couple of years, but Judge Wilkerson had been aware of the deal all along and refused to allow Capone to plead guilty for a reduced sentence. On the second day of the trial, Judge Wilkerson overruled objections that a lawyer could not confess for his client, saying that anyone making a statement to the government did so at his own risk. Wilkerson deemed that the 1930 letter to federal authorities could be admitted into evidence from a lawyer acting for Capone.[71][72][73]

Capone’s criminal record in 1932
Capone's FBI criminal record in 1932, showing most of his criminal charges were discharged/dismissed

Much was later made of other evidence, such as witnesses and ledgers, but these strongly implied Capone's control rather than stating it. The ledgers were inadmissible on grounds of statute of limitations, but Capone's lawyers incompetently failed to make the necessary timely objection; they ran a basically irrelevant defense of gambling losses.[74] Judge Wilkerson allowed Capone's spending to be presented at very great length. There was no doubt that Capone spent vast sums but, legally speaking, the case against him centered on the size of his income. Capone was convicted on October 17,[75][76] and was sentenced a week later to 11 years in federal prison, fined $50,000 plus $7,692 for court costs, and was held liable for $215,000 plus interest due on his back taxes.[77][78][79] The contempt of court sentence was served concurrently.[80][81][82][83] New lawyers hired to represent Capone were Washington-based tax experts. They filed a writ of habeas corpus based on a Supreme Court ruling that tax evasion was not fraud, which apparently meant that Capone had been convicted on charges relating to years that were actually outside the time limit for prosecution. However, a judge interpreted the law so that the time that Capone had spent in Miami was subtracted from the age of the offences, thereby denying the appeal of both Capone's conviction and sentence.[84][85]

Imprisonment

Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary - Cell 181 - Al Capone
Cell 181 in Alcatraz where Capone was imprisoned

Capone was sent to Atlanta U.S. Penitentiary in May 1932, aged 33. Upon his arrival at Atlanta, the 250-pound (110 kg) Capone was officially diagnosed with syphilis and gonorrhoea. He was also suffering from withdrawal symptoms from cocaine addiction, the use of which had perforated his nasal septum. Capone was competent at his prison job of stitching soles on shoes for eight hours a day, but his letters were barely coherent.[86] He was seen as a weak personality, and so out of his depth dealing with bullying fellow inmates that his cellmate, seasoned convict Red Rudensky, feared that Capone would have a breakdown. Rudensky was formerly a small-time criminal associated with the Capone gang, and found himself becoming a protector for Capone.[86] The conspicuous protection of Rudensky and other prisoners drew accusations from less friendly inmates, and fueled suspicion that Capone was receiving special treatment. No solid evidence ever emerged, but it formed part of the rationale for moving Capone to the recently opened Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary off the coast of San Francisco.[86][87] On June 23, 1936, Capone was stabbed and superficially wounded by James C. Lucas.[88]

At Alcatraz, Capone's decline became increasingly evident as neurosyphilis progressively eroded his mental faculties.[9][89][90][91] He spent the last year of his sentence in the prison hospital, confused and disoriented.[92] Capone completed his term in Alcatraz on January 6, 1939, and was transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution at Terminal Island in California to serve out his sentence for contempt of court.[93] He was paroled on November 16, 1939.[94]

Chicago aftermath

The main effect of Capone's conviction was that he ceased to be boss immediately on his imprisonment, but those involved in the jailing of Capone portrayed it as considerably undermining the city's organized crime syndicate. Far from being smashed, the Chicago Outfit continued without being troubled by the Chicago police, but at a lower level and without the open violence that had marked Capone's rule. Organized crime in the city had a lower profile once Prohibition was repealed, already wary of attention after seeing Capone's notoriety bring him down, to the extent that there is a lack of consensus among writers about who was actually in control and who was a figurehead "front boss".[48] Prostitution, labor union racketeering, and gambling became moneymakers for organized crime in the city without incurring serious investigation. In the late 1950s, FBI agents discovered an organization led by Capone's former lieutenants reigning supreme over the Chicago underworld.[95]

Failing health and death

After Capone was released from prison, he was referred to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for the treatment of paresis (caused by late-stage syphilis). Hopkins refused to admit him based solely on his reputation, but Union Memorial Hospital accepted him. Capone was grateful for the compassionate care that he received and donated two Japanese weeping cherry trees to Union Memorial Hospital in 1939. A very sickly Capone left Baltimore on March 20, 1940, after a few weeks inpatient and a few weeks outpatient, for Palm Island, Florida.[96][97][98]

In 1946, his physician and a Baltimore psychiatrist performed examinations and concluded that Capone had the mentality of a 12-year-old child.[99] Capone spent the last years of his life at his mansion in Palm Island, Florida, spending time with his wife and grandchildren.[100] On January 21, 1947, Capone had a stroke. He regained consciousness and started to improve, but contracted bronchopneumonia. He suffered a cardiac arrest on January 22, and on January 25, surrounded by his family in his home, Capone died after his heart failed as a result of apoplexy.[101][102] He wаs originally buried at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Chicago. In 1950, Capone's remains, along with those of his father and brother Salvatore, were moved to Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.[103]

Death certificate of Al Capone

Al Capone's death certificate January 25, 1947

Al Capone's grave

Grave of Al Capone in Mount Carmel Cemetery, Hillside, Illinois

Victims

According to Guy Murchie Jr. from the Chicago Daily Tribune, 33 people died as a consequence of Al Capone.

Num Victim Date of death Reason
1 Joe Howard May 7, 1923 Tried hijacking Capone-Torrio beer and was a braggart.[104]
2 Dean O'Banion November 10, 1924 Ran North Side liquor business and declared, "To hell with the Sicilians!"[104]
3 Thomas Duffy April 27, 1926 Suspected of treachery by Capone.[104]
4 James J. Doherty
5 William H. McSwiggin Happened to be with Duffy and Doherty that night.[104]
6 Earl Hymie Weiss October 11, 1926 O'Banion's successor on the North Side and out to get Capone.[104]
7 John Costenaro January 7, 1927 Planning to testify against Capone in a conspiracy trial.[104]
8 Santo Celebron
9 Antonio Torchio May 25, 1927 Imported from New York to kill Capone.[104]
10 Frank Hitchcock July 27, 1927 Bootlegger enemy that Johnny Patton wanted out of the way.[104]
11 Anthony K. Russo August 11, 1927 Imported from St. Louis to kill Capone.[104]
12 Vincent Spicuzza
13 Samuel Valente September 24, 1927 Imported from Cleveland to kill Capone.[104]
14 Harry Fuller January 18, 1928 Hijacked Capone's beer and liquor.[104]
15 Joseph Cagiando
16 Joseph Fasso
17 "Diamond Joe" Esposito March 21, 1928 Did not want to support Capone on election day.[104]
18 Ben Newmark April 23, 1928 Tried to organize a rival gang; bodyguard of Capone tried to conceal his own treachery by carrying out the murder of Newmark.[104]
19 Francesco Uale (Frank Yale) July 1, 1928 Double-crossed Capone when serving as rum-running manager.[104]
20 Frank Gusenberg February 14, 1929 Were in the Moran gang hangout during the St. Valentine's Day Massacre.[104]
21 Pete Gusenberg
22 John May
23 Al Weinshank
24 James Clark
25 Adam Heyer
26 Dr. Reinhardt Schwimmer
27 Albert Anselmi May 8, 1929 Part of Joseph Giunta’s plan to assassinate Capone.[104]
28 John Scalise
29 Joseph Giunta (Juno) Was planning on assassinating Capone.[104]
30 Frankie Marlow June 24, 1929 Refused to pay a debt of $250,000.[104]
31 Julius Rosenheim February 1, 1930 Informant to the police and newspapers on Capone's activities.[104]
32 Jack Zuta August 1, 1930 Spied on and double-crossed Capone.[104]
33 Joe Aiello October 23, 1930 Rival gang leader and ally of Bugs Moran.[104]

In popular culture

Capone is one of the most notorious American gangsters of the 20th century and has been the major subject of numerous articles, books, and films. Particularly, from 1925 to 1929, shortly after Capone relocated to Chicago, he enjoyed status as the most notorious mobster in the country. Capone cultivated a certain image of himself in the media, that made him a subject of fascination.[105][106] His personality and character have been used in fiction as a model for crime lords and criminal masterminds ever since his death. The stereotypical image of a mobster wearing a blue pinstriped suit and tilted fedora is based on photos of Capone. His accent, mannerisms, facial construction, physical stature, and parodies of his name have been used for numerous gangsters in comics, movies, music, and literature.

Literature

  • Capone is featured in a segment of Mario Puzo's The Godfather as an ally of New York mob boss Salvatore Maranzano in which he sends two "button men" at the mob boss' request to kill Don Vito Corleone; arriving in New York, the two men are intercepted and brutally killed by Luca Brasi, after which Don Corleone sends a message to Capone warning him not to interfere again, and Capone apparently capitulates.[107]
  • Capone appears in Hergé's comic book Tintin in America, one of only two real-life characters in the entire The Adventures of Tintin series.[108]
  • A reincarnated Capone is a major character in science fiction author Peter F. Hamilton's Night's Dawn Trilogy.
  • Capone's grandniece Deirdre Marie Capone wrote a book titled Uncle Al Capone: The Untold Story from Inside His Family.[109]
  • Al Capone is the inspiration for the central character of Tony Camonte in Armitage Trail's novel Scarface (1929),[110] which was adapted into the 1932 film. The novel was later adapted again in 1983 with the central character of Tony Montana.
  • Jack Bilbo claimed to have been a bodyguard for Capone in his book Carrying a Gun for Al Capone (1932).[111]
  • Al Capone is mentioned and met by the main character Moose in the book Al Capone Does My Shirts.

Film and television

Capone has been portrayed on screen by:

Actors playing characters based on Capone include:

Music

  • Prince Buster, Jamaican ska and rocksteady musician, had his first hit in the UK with the single "Al Capone" in 1967.[117]
  • The British pop group Paper Lace's 1974 hit song "The Night Chicago Died" mentions that "a man named Al Capone, tried to make that town his own, and he called his gang to war, with the forces of the law".[118]
  • British rock band Queen referenced Al Capone in the opening of their 1974 song "Stone Cold Crazy", which was covered in 1990 by the American rock band Metallica.[119]
  • In 1979, The Specials, a UK ska revival group, reworked Prince Buster's track into their first single, "Gangsters",[120] which featured the line "Don't call me Scarface!"
Al Kapone
Sketch of Al Capone made by Partizan fans in Belgrade, Serbia.
  • Al Capone is referenced heavily in Prodigy's track "Al Capone Zone", produced by The Alchemist and featuring Keak Da Sneak.[121]
  • "Al Capone" is a song by Michael Jackson. Jackson recorded the song during the Bad era (circa 1987), but it wasn't included on the album. The song was released in September 2012 in celebration of the album's 25th anniversary.
  • Brazilian musician Raul Seixas has a song entitled "Al Capone", included in his 1973 debut album Krig-ha, Bandolo!.
  • Multiple hip hop artists have adopted the name "Capone" for their stage names including: Capone, Mr. Capone-E and Al Kapone.
  • The R&B Vocal Group The Fantastic Four recorded a song entitled "Alvin Stone:(the Birth & Death Of A Gangster)" in 1975 from their album of the same name. The main protagonist was a gangster with a name very similar to Al Capone [122]

Sports

  • Fans of Serbian football club Partizan are using Al Capone's character as a mascot for one of their subgroups called "Alcatraz", named after a prison in which Al Capone served his sentence. Also, in honour of Capone, a graffiti representation of him exists in the center of Belgrade.
  • Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight Nikita Krylov is nicknamed "Al Capone". Coincidentally, he had his first UFC win in Chicago.[123]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Mount Carmel". Oldghosthome.com. Archived from the original on 2004-09-03.
  2. ^ "the definition of al capone". Dictionary.com. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
  3. ^ a b Schoenberg, Robert L. (1992). Mr. Capone. New York, New York: William Morrow and Company. pp. 18–19. ISBN 0-688-12838-6.
  4. ^ Super User. "Al Capone, il gangster americano piu' famoso del mondo era di origini angresi". letrescimmiette.info. Retrieved August 27, 2015.
  5. ^ Kobler, John (1971). Capone. Da Capo Press. p. 23. ISBN 0-306-80499-9.
  6. ^ a b "Notorious Crime Files: Al Capone". The Biography Channel. Biography.com. Archived from the original on July 27, 2011. Retrieved 2010-11-12.
  7. ^ Kobler, 27.
  8. ^ Kobler, 26.
  9. ^ a b c d e f The Five Families. MacMillan. p. .
  10. ^ a b Kobler, 36.
  11. ^ Bardsley, Marilyn. "Scarface". Al Capone. Crime Library. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved 2008-03-29.
  12. ^ Kobler, 15.
  13. ^ "Mobsters and Gangsters from Al Capone to Tony Soprano", Life (2002).
  14. ^ Luciano J. Iorizzo. Al Capone: A Biography. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 26.
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Further reading

  • Capone, Deirdre Marie. Uncle Al Capone: The Untold Story from Inside His Family. Recap Publishing LLC, 2010. ISBN 978-0-982-84510-3.
  • Collins, Max Allan, and A. Brad Schwartz. Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago. New York: William Morrow, 2018. ISBN 978-0062441942.
  • Helmer, William J. Al Capone and His American Boys: Memoirs of a Mobster's Wife. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-253-35606-2.
  • Hoffman Dennis E. Scarface Al and the Crime Crusaders: Chicago's Private War Against Capone. Southern Illinois University Press; 1st edition (November 24, 1993). ISBN 978-0-8093-1925-1.
  • Kobler, John. Capone: The Life and Times of Al Capone. New York: Da Capo Press, 2003. ISBN 0-306-81285-1.
  • MacDonald, Alan. Dead Famous: Al Capone and His Gang. Scholastic.
  • Michaels, Will. "Al Capone in St. Petersburg, Florida" in Hidden History of St. Petersburg. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2016. ISBN 9781625858207.
  • Pasley, Fred D. Al Capone: The Biography of a Self-Made Man. Garden City, New York: Garden City Publishing Co., 2004. ISBN 1-4179-0878-5.
  • Schoenberg, Robert J. Mr. Capone. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1992. ISBN 0-688-12838-6.

External links

Al Capone (film)

Al Capone is a 1959 biographical crime drama film directed by Richard Wilson, written by Malvin Wald and Henry F. Greenberg, and released by Allied Artists. It starred Rod Steiger as Al Capone.

Steiger reportedly refused the producers' first offer to star in this film because he thought the initial screenplay inappropriately romanticized Capone and criminality. In an interview Steiger said, "I turned the picture down three times." According to TCM, he agreed to play the role only after the producers agreed to rewrite. The finished film was noted for its deglamorized portrayal of the subject.

Al Capone Does My Shirts

Al Capone Does My Shirts is a historical fiction novel for young adults by author Gennifer Choldenko. In this story, Moose Flanagan and his family move from Santa Monica to Alcatraz Island. The move was caused by the father's new job positions as an electrician and as a guard in the well known Alcatraz prison. The book was named as a Newbery Honor selection and in 2007 it received the California Young Reader Medal. It has two sequels, Al Capone Shines My Shoes and Al Capone Does My Homework.

Antonio Lombardo

Antonio "Tony the Scourge" Lombardo (November 23, 1891 – September 7, 1928) was an American mobster. He was advisor, or consigliere, to Al Capone and later President of the Unione Siciliana.

Big Jim Colosimo

Vincenzo Colosimo (Italian: [vinˈtʃɛntso koˈlɔziːmo]; February 16, 1878 – May 11, 1920), known as James "Big Jim" Colosimo or as "Diamond Jim", was an Italian-American Mafia crime boss who emigrated from Calabria, Italy, in 1895, and built a criminal empire in Chicago based on prostitution, gambling, and racketeering. He gained power through petty crime and by heading a chain of brothels. From about 1902 until his death in 1920, he led a gang that became known after his death as the Chicago Outfit. Johnny Torrio was an enforcer whom Colosimo imported in 1909 from New York and who seized control after his death. Al Capone, a Torrio henchman, allegedly was directly involved in the murder.

Black Hand (Chicago)

Black Hand extortion was a criminal tactic used by gangsters based in major cities, in the United States. In Chicago Black Hand extortion began around 1900 and had all but faded away by 1920, and the "Mafia" replaced it. The Mafia was initially organized by Johnny Torrio, and somewhat organized by Al Capone.

Black Handers in Chicago were mostly Italian men from Calabria and Sicilian men who would send anonymous extortion notes to their victims emblazoned with a feared old country symbol: the "Black Hand". The Black Hand was a precursor to organized crime (Mafia); although it is still a tactic practiced by the Mafia and is still used in organized crime. Black Hand blackmail was also common in New York and New Orleans. Victims would pay up, or be beaten, shot, or have their place of business bombed. The Black Hand was causing difficulties for mob boss Big Jim Colosimo a former Black hand gangster and owner of brothels throughout Chicago, it was a problem that brought Johnny Torrio to Chicago, a member of New York's Five Points Gang who became the famous successor of Big Jim Colosimo. Johnny Torrio preceded and mentored Al Capone as the organized crime ruler of Chicago. Torrio came to Chicago to fix the problem of the Black Hand; it was certainly an ironic one: Colosimo's life was being threatened by Black Hand gangsters who demanded cash to insure his physical safety.

Bugs Moran

Adelard Cunin (; August 21, 1893 – February 25, 1957), better known as George "Bugs" Moran, was a Chicago Prohibition-era gangster. He was incarcerated three times before his 21st birthday. Seven members of his gang were gunned down in a warehouse in the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre of February 14, 1929, supposedly on the orders of his rival Al Capone.

Chicago Outfit

The Chicago Outfit (also known as the Outfit, the Chicago Mafia, the Chicago Mob, the South Side Gang, or The Organization) is an Italian-American organized crime syndicate based in Chicago, Illinois, which dates back to the 1910s. It is part of the American Mafia originating in Chicago's South Side.

The Outfit rose to power in the 1920s, under the control of Johnny Torrio and Al Capone and the period was marked by bloody gang wars for control of the distribution of illegal alcohol during Prohibition. Since then, the Outfit has been involved in a wide range of criminal activities, including loansharking, gambling, prostitution, extortion, political corruption, and murder. Following Capone's conviction for income tax evasion (in 1931), the Outfit was run by Paul Ricca. From 1943 until his death in 1972, he shared power with Tony Accardo, who became the sole power in the Outfit upon Ricca's death. Accardo was one of the longest sitting bosses of all time right up until his death in the early 1990s.

The Outfit did not have a monopoly on organized crime in Chicago, but was by far the most powerful, violent, and largest criminal organization in the Midwest. The Outfit's influence, at its peak, stretched as far as California and Florida. Higher law enforcement attention and general attrition has led to the Outfit's gradual decline since the late 20th century. From 1997 to 2018, the Chicago Outfit was believed to be led by John DiFronzo before his death.

Eliot Ness

Eliot Ness (April 19, 1903 – May 16, 1957) was an American Prohibition agent, famous for his efforts to bring down Al Capone and enforce Prohibition in Chicago, Illinois, and the leader of a famous team of law enforcement agents from Chicago, nicknamed The Untouchables. His co-authorship of a popular autobiography, The Untouchables, which was released shortly after his death, launched several television and motion picture portrayals that established Ness's posthumous fame as an incorruptible crime fighter.

Frank Capone

Frank Capone (July 16, 1895 – April 1, 1924) was a Chicago mobster who participated in the attempted takeover of Cicero, Illinois by his brother Al Capone's criminal organization. Frank's other brother, Ralph Capone, worked in the businesses with Al and him.

Frankie Yale

Francesco Ioele (Italian pronunciation: [franˈtʃesko ioˈɛːle]; January 22, 1893 – July 1, 1928), better known as Frankie Uale or Frankie Yale, was a Brooklyn gangster and second employer of Al Capone ].

Gangster

A gangster is a criminal who is a member of a gang. Some gangs are considered to be part of organized crime. Gangsters are also called mobsters, a term derived from mob and the suffix -ster.

Gangs provide a level of organization and resources that support much larger and more complex criminal transactions than an individual criminal could achieve. Gangsters have been active for many years in countries around the world.

Some gangsters, such as Al Capone have become infamous. Gangsters are the subject of many novels and films, particularly from the period between 1920 and 1990.

Hymie Weiss

Henry Earl J. Wojciechowski, also known as Hymie Weiss (January 25, 1898 – October 11, 1926), was an American mob boss who became a leader of the Prohibition-era North Side Gang and a bitter rival of Al Capone. He was known as 'the only man Al Capone feared'.

Johnny Torrio

Johnny Torrio (born Donato Torrio, Italian pronunciation: [doˈnaːto toˈrrjo]; January 20, 1882 – April 16, 1957) was an Italian-born American mobster who helped to build a criminal organization, the Chicago Outfit, in the 1920s; it was later inherited by his protégé, Al Capone. He also put forth the idea of the National Crime Syndicate in the 1930s and later became an unofficial adviser to the Genovese crime family.

He gained several nicknames but was mostly known as "The Fox" for his cunning and finesse. Widely considered one of the most influential personalities in American organized crime, Torrio impressed authorities and chroniclers for his business acumen and diplomatic skills.

The US Treasury official Elmer Irey considered him "the biggest gangster in America" and wrote, "He was the smartest and, I dare say, the best of all the hoodlums. 'Best' referring to talent, not morals." Virgil W. Peterson of the Chicago Crime Commission stated that his "talents as an organizational genius were widely respected by the major gang bosses in the New York City area." Crime journalist Herbert Asbury affirmed: "As an organizer and administrator of underworld affairs Johnny Torrio is unsurpassed in the annals of American crime; he was probably the nearest thing to a real master mind that this country has yet produced".

Master P

Percy Robert Miller (born April 29, 1970), also known by his stage name Master P, is an American rapper, actor, businessman, record executive, philanthropist, and former basketball player. He is the founder of the record label No Limit Records, which was relaunched as New No Limit Records through Universal Records and Koch Records, then again as Guttar Music Entertainment, and currently, No Limit Forever Records. He is the founder and CEO of P. Miller Enterprises and Better Black Television, which was a short-lived online television network. In 2013, Forbes estimated Miller's net worth at nearly $350 million, which put him as the third-richest figure in hip hop at the time.

Miller initially gained fame in the mid-1990s with the success of his hip hop music group TRU as well as his fifth solo rap album Ice Cream Man, which contained his first single "Mr. Ice Cream Man". Miller gained further popularity in 1997 after the success of his platinum single "Make 'Em Say Uhh!". In total, Miller has gone on to release 5 studio albums.

Aside from music, Miller has also embarked on a career in acting, starring in numerous movies, including I Got the Hook Up, Soccer Mom, Gone in 60 Seconds, Toxic, and Foolish. Miller has also worked in television, starring in the sitcom Romeo! alongside his son Romeo Miller from 2003 to 2006.

Miller was signed to two separate NBA contracts in the late 1990s, playing for both the Charlotte Hornets and Toronto Raptors during the 1998 and 1999 pre-season respectively. Miller currently owns his own basketball league, Global Mixed Gender Basketball (GMGB).

Ralph Capone

Ralph "Bottles" Capone, Sr., (January 12, 1894 – November 22, 1974) was a Chicago mobster and an older brother of Al Capone and Frank Capone. Ralph Capone got the nickname "Bottles" not from involvement in the Capone bootlegging empire, but from his running the legitimate non-alcoholic beverage and bottling operations in Chicago. Further family lore suggests that the nickname was specifically tied to his lobbying the Illinois Legislature to put into law that milk bottling companies had to stamp the date that the milk was bottled on the bottle. He was most famous for being named by the Chicago Crime Commission "Public Enemy Number Three" when his brother Al was "Public Enemy Number One".

Sizzle (1981 film)

Sizzle is a 1981 American TV movie.

The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults

The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults is a two-hour live American television special that was broadcast in syndication on April 21, 1986.

Hosted by Geraldo Rivera, the special centered on the opening of a secret vault in the Lexington Hotel once owned by noted crime lord Al Capone, which turned out to be empty except for debris. The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults is available in its entirety on Geraldo's website.

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre (film)

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre is a 1967 gangster film based on the 1929 Chicago mass murder of seven members of the Northside Gang (led by George "Bugs" Moran) on orders from Al Capone. It was directed by Roger Corman and written by Howard Browne.

The film stars Jason Robards as Al Capone, George Segal as Peter Gusenberg, David Canary as Frank Gusenberg and Ralph Meeker as George "Bugs" Moran.

Orson Welles was originally supposed to play Capone, but Twentieth Century Fox vetoed the deal, fearing that Welles was "undirectable." The film's narration has a style similar to that of Welles but was narrated by renowned Hollywood voice actor Paul Frees.

A young Bruce Dern plays one of the victims of the massacre, and Jack Nicholson has a bit part as a gangster. Also featured are Jan Merlin as one of Moran's lieutenants and veteran Corman actor Dick Miller as one of the phony policemen involved in the massacre.

The Untouchables (film)

The Untouchables is a 1987 American gangster film directed by Brian De Palma, produced by Art Linson, written by David Mamet, and based on the book of the same name (1957). The film stars Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De Niro, and Sean Connery, and follows Eliot Ness (Costner) as he forms the Untouchables team to bring Al Capone (De Niro) to justice during Prohibition. The Grammy Award-winning score was composed by Ennio Morricone and features period music by Duke Ellington.The Untouchables premiered on June 2, 1987 in New York City, and went into general release on June 3, 1987 in the United States. The film grossed $106.2 million worldwide and received generally positive reviews from critics. It was nominated for four Academy Awards; Connery won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

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