Gianni Russo was a handsome 25-year-old mobster with no acting experience when he walked onto the set of The Godfather and entered Hollywood history. He played Carlo Rizzi, the husband of Connie Corleone, who set her brother Sonny—played by James Caan—up for a hit. Russo didn't have to act—he knew the mob inside and out: from his childhood in Little Italy, where Mafia legend Frank Costello took him under his wing, to acting as a messenger for New Orleans mob boss Carlos Marcello during the Kennedy assassination, to having to go on the lam after shooting and killing a member of the Colombian drug cartel in his Vegas club.
Along the way, Russo befriended Frank Sinatra, who became his son's godfather, and Marlon Brando, who mentored his career as an actor after trying to get Francis Ford Coppola to fire him from The Godfather. Russo had passionate affairs with Marilyn Monroe, Liza Minelli, and scores of other celebrities. He went on to become a producer and starred in The Godfather: Parts I and II, Seabiscuit, Any Given Sunday and Rush Hour 2, among many other films.
Hollywood Godfather is a no-holds-barred account of a life filled with violence, glamour, sex—and fun.
GIANNI RUSSO has appeared in more than thirty movies, been involved in the production of several others, and appeared in numerous TV shows. His most well-known roles include parts in The Godfather: Parts I and II; Goodnight, My Love; Lepke; Laserblast; Chances Are; The Freshman; Side Out; Another You; Super Mario Bros.; Any Given Sunday; The Family Man; Seabiscuit; and Rush Hour 2. His life-long association with organized crime has made him a witness to Mob history. He is also a singer, whose shows are sold out across the country.
PATRICK PICCIARELLI is a retired NYPD Lieutenant, Vietnam veteran and private investigator. He is the author of Street Warrior: The True Story of the NYPD's Most Decorated Detective and the Era That Created Him, and other books. He resides in Pennsylvania.
A singular figure in the annals of the American underworld, Johnny Rosselli’s career flourished for an extraordinary fifty years, from the bloody years of bootlegging in the Roaring Twenties--the last protégé of Al Capone—to the modern era of organized crime as a dominant corporate power. The Mob’s “Man in Hollywood,” Johnny Rosselli introduced big-time crime to the movie industry, corrupting unions and robbing moguls in the biggest extortion plot in history. A man of great allure and glamour, Rosselli befriended many of the biggest names in the movie capital—including studio boss Harry Cohn, helping him to fund Columbia Pictures--and seduced some of its greatest female stars, including Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe. In a remarkable turn of events, Johnny himself would become a Hollywood filmmaker—producing two of the best film noirs of the 1940s.
Following years in federal prison, Rosselli began a new venture, overseeing the birth and heyday of Las Vegas. Working for new Chicago boss Sam Giancana, he became the gambling mecca’s behind-the-scenes boss, running the town from his suites and poolside tables at the Tropicana and Desert Inn, enjoying the Rat Pack nightlife with pals Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. In the 1960s, in the most unexpected chapter in an extraordinary life, Rosselli became the central figure in a bizarre plot involving the Kennedy White House, the CIA, and an attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro. Based upon years of research, written with compelling style and vivid detail, Handsome Johnny is the great telling of an amazing tale.
Bill Bonanno was born into a world of respect, tradition, and honor. The son of legendary mafioso Joe Bonanno, Bill was a "made" member of the Mafia by the time he was in his early twenties. He was rumored to be the model for The Godfather's Michael Corleone and was the subject of Gay Talese's best-selling Honor Thy Father.
Now retired, Bill is finally ready to give an eyewitness account of his life as a high-ranking captain in the Bonanno crime family, one of America's most powerful Mafia syndicates. He takes you inside the mob at its peak, when New York's Five Families-Bonanno, Gambino, Colombo, Lucchese, and Genovese-not only dominated local businesses, but also controlled national politics. For the first time, Bill Bonanno discloses the machinations behind his marriage to Rosalie Profaci (niece of the powerful don Joe Profaci), and even that cemented the alliance between the two Families with all the pomp and circumstance of a royal wedding. From the truth about the mysterious disappearance of his father to a startling disclosure about he mob's participation in the Kennedy assassination, Bill Bonanno lays bare the inner workings of his chaotic, violent, and surprisingly human world with unparalleled detail and insight.
Bound By Honor not only recounts Bill Bonanno's tumultuous life, but also is an engrossing chronicle of organized crime. Bonanno's story provides a remarkable glimpse into all of the intriguing personalities of the underworld of yesterday to today, from Bugsy Siegel to John Gotti.
This book is a must for readers of Mario Puzo, Gay Talese, Nicholas Pileggi, and others who have written abut the Mafia, but who have never been in the eye of the storm in quite the same way as Bill Bonanno in Bound By Honor.
Natale’s reign atop the Philadelphia and New Jersey underworlds brought the region’s mafia back to prominence in the 1990s. Smart, savvy, and articulate, Natale came up in the mob and saw first-hand as it hatched its plan to control Atlantic City’s casino unions. Later on, after spending 16 years in prison, he reclaimed the family as his own after a bloody mob war that left bodies scattered across South Philly. He forged connections around the country, invigorated the family with more allies than it had in two decades, and achieved a status within the mob never seen before or since until he was betrayed by his men and decided to testify against them in a stunning turn of events.
Using dozens of hours of interviews with Natale along with research and interviews with FBI agents, this book delivers revelatory insights into seminal events in American mob history, including:
- The truth about Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance
- The murder of Jewish mob icon Bugsy Siegel
- The identity of the man who created modern-day Las Vegas
With the full cooperation of Natale, New York Daily News reporter Larry McShane and producer Dan Pearson uncover the deadly reign of the last great mob boss of Philadelphia, a tale that covers a half-century of mob lore—and gore.
In Gotti’s Rules, George Anastasia, a prize-winning reporter who spent over thirty years covering crime, offers a shocking and very rare glimpse into the Gotti family, witnessed up-close from former family insider John Alite, John Gotti Jr.’s longtime friend and protector. Until now, no one has given up the kind of personal details about the Gottis—including the legendary “Gotti Rules” of leadership—that Anastasia exposes here. Drawing on extensive FBI files and other documentation, his own knowledge, and exclusive interviews with insiders and experts, including mob-enforcer-turned-government-witness Alite, Anastasia pokes holes in the Gotti legend, demystifying this notorious family and its lucrative and often deadly machinations.
Anastasia offers never-before-heard information about the murders, drug dealing, and extortion that propelled John J. Gotti to the top of the Gambino crime family and the treachery and deceit that allowed John A. “Junior” Gotti to follow in his father’s footsteps. Told from street level and through the eyes of a wiseguy who saw it all firsthand, the result is a riveting look at a family whose hubris, violence, passion, and greed fueled a bloody rise and devastating fall that is still reverberating through the American underworld today.
Gotti’s Rules includes 8 pages of black-and-white photographs.
Russell miraculously healed, and rather than press charges, he maintained his cover. Soon he had a stroke of good luck when he saved a man from an attack by two street thugs. The man he saved turned out to be Andy Gerardo, one of the ranking captains of the Genovese crime family. Quickly earning the trust of his new friend, Russell would orchestrate one of the biggest Mafia takedowns of all time.
Urged by his police handlers, Russell used his cover story---an ex-cop fired for excessive force who now made his living from an oil-delivery business---and street skills to assimilate into the Genovese crime family in New Jersey, ultimately leading to more than fifty arrests of mobsters, corrupt prison officials, and even a state senator. Straddling the thin line between collecting evidence and participating in the very crimes he was leaking to the cops, Russell consistently placed himself at risk—especially when his police handlers disregarded his wishes and his well-being, conducting premature raids on the gangsters. With his marriage suffering and his family in danger, Russell took extraordinary steps to ensure his financial security and safety, demanding better terms from the police and allowing a film crew to document the final moments of the epic bust for a documentary that was later sold to HBO.
A real-life version of The Sopranos, Undercover Cop immerses readers in the colorful yet harrowing trials of a standout cop who faced the mob on his own terms, crippled organized crime in New Jersey, and forever redefined undercover law enforcement.
Mafioso Enriquez gives an insider′s view of how he devoted his life to the cause--the Mexican Mafia, La Familia Mexicana, also known as La Eme--only to find betrayal and disillusionment at the end of a bloody trail of violence that he followed for two decades.
And now, award-winning investigative journalist Chris Blatchford, with the unprecedented cooperation of Rene Enriquez, reveals the inner workings, secret meetings, and elaborate murder plots that make up the daily routine of the Mafia brothers. It is an intense, never-before-told story of a man who devoted his life to a bloody cause only to find betrayal and disillusionment.
Based on years of research and investigation, Chris Blatchford has delivered a historic narrative of a nefarious organization that will go down as a classic in mob literature.
Richard Kuklinski was Sammy the Bull Gravano's partner in the killing of Paul Castellano, then head of the Gambino crime family, at Sparks Steakhouse. Mob boss John Gotti hired him to torture and kill the neighbor who accidentally ran over his child. For an additional price, Kuklinski would make his victims suffer; he conducted this sadistic business with coldhearted intensity and shocking efficiency, never disappointing his customers. By his own estimate, he killed over two hundred men, taking enormous pride in his variety and ferocity of technique.
This trail of murder lasted over thirty years and took Kuklinski all over America and to the far corners of the earth, Brazil, Africa, and Europe. Along the way, he married, had three children, and put them through Catholic school. His daughter's medical condition meant regular stays in children's hospitals, where Kuklinski was remembered, not as a gangster, but as an affectionate father, extremely kind to children. Each Christmas found the Kuklinski home festooned in colorful lights; each summer was a succession of block parties.
His family never suspected a thing.
Richard Kuklinski is now the subject of the major motion picture titled "The Iceman"(2013), starring James Franco, Winona Ryder, Ray Liotta, and Chris Evans.
2,000 arrests. 100 off-duty arrests. 6,000 assists. 15 shootings. 8 shot. 4 kills. These are not the performance statistics of an entire NYPD unit. They are the record that makes Detective 2nd Grade Ralph Friedman a legend.
Friedman was arguably the toughest cop ever to wear the shield and was the most decorated detective in the NYPD’s 170-year history. Stationed at the South Bronx’s notorious 41 Precinct, known by its nickname “Fort Apache,” Friedman served during one of the city’s most dire times: the 1970s and ‘80s, when fiscal crisis, political disillusionment, an out-of-control welfare system, and surging crime and drug use were just a few of its problems.
Street Warrior tells an unvarnished story of harrowing vice and heroic grit, including Friedman’s reflections on racial profiling, confrontations with the citizens he swore to protect, and the use of deadly force.