Because we can never get enough peeks behind the curtain of sociopaths, monsters, and the deadly genius of the villains that walk among us, we’re giving a nod to the most famous, most frightening, and most notorious gangsters who made crime not only pay but gave it celebrity status.
Born: January 17, 1899, Brooklyn, New York
Died: January 25, 1947, Palm Island, Florida
AKA: Scarface, Snorky, the Big Guy, Big Al
Associations: Johnny Torrio, Jim Colosimo, Lucky Luciano, the Outfit, Bugs Moran
Born in Brooklyn, New York, to poor immigrant parents, Al Capone went on to become the most infamous gangster in American history. In 1920 during the height of Prohibition, Capone’s multi-million dollar Chicago operation in bootlegging, prostitution and gambling dominated the organized crime scene.
Capone was responsible for many brutal acts of violence, mainly against other gangsters. The most famous of these was the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in 1929, in which he ordered the assassination of seven rivals. Capone was never indicted for his racketeering but was finally brought to justice for income-tax evasion in 1931. After serving six-and-a-half years, Capone was released. He died in 1947 in Miami. Capone’s life captured the public imagination, and his gangster persona has been immortalized in the many movies and books inspired by his exploits.
AKA : Don Pablo (Lord Pablo), El Padrino (The Godfather), El Patrón (The Boss),El Señor (The Lord), El Mágico (The Magician), El Pablito (little Pablo), El Zar de la Cocaína (The Tsar of Cocaine), Coque de Mi Rey (My Coke King) and Polla Blanca (White Dick)
Pablo Escobar was born on December 1, 1949, in the Colombian city of Rionegro, Antioquia. His family later moved to the suburb of Envigado.
Escobar came from a modest family: His father worked as a peasant farmer while his mother was a schoolteacher. From an early age, Escobar packed a unique ambition to raise himself up from his humble beginnings.
He reportedly began his life of crime early, stealing tombstones and selling phony diplomas. It wasn’t long before he started stealing cars, then moving into the smuggling business.
Escobar’s early prominence came during the “Marlboro Wars,” in which he played a high-profile role in the control of Colombia’s smuggled cigarette market. This episode proved to be a valuable training ground for the future narcotics kingpin.
Pablo Emilio Escobar Gaviria became a Colombian drug trafficker who eventually controlled over 80 percent of the cocaine shipped to the U.S., earning him the rank of one of Forbes Magazine’s 10 wealthiest people in the world.
Escobar entered the cocaine trade in the early 1970s, collaborating with other criminals to form the Medellin Cartel. He earned popularity by sponsoring charity projects and soccer clubs, but later, terror campaigns that resulted in the murder of thousands turned public opinion against him.
James (Whitey) Bulger
AKA: Whitey, Jim or Jimmy, Boots.
Bulger was not only a Bostonian mob boss, but an FBI informant who spent much of his time on the run from the feds. He would have been the top dog of the Most Wanted list, had it not been for a certain chap known as Osama Bin Laden. After years underground, he was caught in 2011 at the age of 81, proving the adroit capabilities of modern crime investigators to capture octogenarians.
James died in a West Virginia prison after being pummeled with a padlock that was stuffed inside a sock by 2 Inmates
Stephanie St. Clair (Queenie)
AKA: Queenie, Madam Queen, Madam St. Clair, Queen of the Policy Rackets.
Born: December 24, 1897, probably on French Guadeloupe
Died: December 1969, Central Islip, New York
AKA: Queenie, Madam Queen, Madam St. Clair, Queen of the Policy Rackets
Associations: Bumpy Johnson, Dutch Schultz, Lucky Luciano
“Queenie” to many on the wonderful isle of Manhattan, this classy lady brought a sense of French refinement and African savvy to the underworld. Though herself a criminal in Harlem, she often brought down corrupt police officers by using the system to her advantage. A deadly adversary, she kept many smaller-minded crime bosses out of Harlem with brilliant, brutal tactics and her enforcer, Bumpy.