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Charles Luciano

(“Lucky” Luciano, born Salvatore Lucania)
mobster
Born: 11/11/1897
Birthplace: Lecara Friddi, Sicily, Italy

One of the most powerful mafia bosses of the 20th century, Luciano teamed with Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel to form a national crime syndicate by 1934, and was known as the “Boss of Bosses”. Luciano's rise through the underworld began as a lieutenant in Joe Masseria's crime family in New York City. Through bootlegging, prostitution, and drug trafficking Luciano built up wealth and stature in the mafia community. In 1931 he ended a gang war between Masseria and his rival Salvatore Maranzano by having them both killed, then took over himself as the main boss in New York. Luciano was jailed in 1936 for numerous crimes, but was allowed to be deported for assisting the government during World War II in the Allied invasion of Sicily, and for quelling dock sabotage throughout the east coast of the U.S. Luciano died of a heart attack at an airport in Naples in 1962 as he prepared to meet an American producer interested in making a movie based on his life of crime. Luciano's life is romantically portrayed in movies such as Lucky Luciano (1974), Gangster Wars (1981), Mobsters (1991), Billy Bathgate (1991), and Hoodlum (1997).

Died: 1/26/1962

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