Carlo Gambino

Eyridiki Sellou | May 7, 2024

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Carlo Gambino (August 24, 1902 - October 15, 1976) was an Italian-American crime boss of the Gambino crime family. After the Apalachin Reunion in 1957, and the arrest of Vito Genovese in 1959, Gambino took control of the U.S. Mafia Commission until his death from a heart attack on October 15, 1976. During more than 50 years in organized crime, he served only 22 months in prison on a tax evasion charge in 1937.

Gambino was born in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, on August 24, 1902, into a family that belonged to a Sicilian mafia gang of Passo di Rigano. He had two brothers, Gaspare Gambino, who was not involved with the mafia, and Paolo Gambino who was part of the Gambino crime family. His parents were Italian immigrants Tommaso Gambino and Felice Castellano.

Gambino entered the United States on December 23, 1921 in Norfolk, Virginia, as a stowaway on the SS Vincenzo Florio. He then joined his cousins, the Castillos, in New York. He worked for a small trucking company owned by his uncle's family.

Gambino then moved to a modest home located at 2230 Ocean Parkway in Brooklyn. His Long Island residence, located at 34 Club Drive in Massapequa, served as his summer home. The two-story brick house, surrounded by a low fence with marble statues in the front yard was at the end of a dead-end road in Harbor Green Estates, overlooking South Oyster Bay. In 1932, Gambino married one of his cousins, Catherine Castellano, sister of Paul Castellano. They had three sons - Thomas, Joseph (March 28, 1936 - February 20, 2020) and Carlo (born 1934), and a daughter, Phyllis Gambino Sinatra (September 22, 1927 - February 19, 2007).

Gambino was part of the criminal organization led by Joe Masseria. In 1930, Gambino was arrested in Lawrence, Massachusetts as a dangerous person. That charge was dropped, but he was arrested a month later in Brockton, Massachusetts, on a larceny charge. A warrant was issued for his arrest when he failed to appear in court. Four years later, he was arrested in Manhattan as a fugitive and was returned to Brockton, where the larceny charge was dropped when he made restitution of $1,000.

By the early 1930s, Masseria's main rival was rival boss Salvatore Maranzano, who had come from Sicily to run the Castellammarense gang. Their rivalry eventually escalated into the bloody Castellammarense war. Masseria and Maranzano were called "Mustache Petes": older, traditional Mafia bosses who started their criminal careers in Italy. They believed in upholding the "Old World Mafia" principles of "honor", "tradition", "respect", and "dignity". These bosses refused to work with non-Italians, and were skeptical of working with non-Sicilians. Some of the more conservative bosses worked only with men who had roots in their own Sicilian village.

The war was not going well for Masseria and Lucky Luciano saw an opportunity to change banks. In a secret deal with Maranzano, Luciano agreed to plot Masseria's death in exchange for receiving Maseria's gaffes and becoming second in command to Maranzano. On April 15, 1931, Masseria was assassinated at the Nuova Villa Tammaro restaurant in Coney Island, Brooklyn. With Maranzano's approval, Luciano took control of Masseria's gang and became Maranzano's lieutenant, ending the Castellammmarenses' war.

With Masseria gone, Maranzano reorganized the Italian-American gangs in New York into the Five Families headed by Luciano, Profaci, Gagliano, Vincent Mangano and himself. Maranzano called a meeting of crime bosses in Wappingers Falls, New York, where he declared himself capo di tutti capi ("boss of all bosses"). Maranzano also reduced the gambling dens of rival families in favor of his own. Luciano apparently accepted these changes but was just biding his time before taking Maranzano out. Although Maranzano was slightly more open than Masseria, Luciano had come to think of Maranzano as even more greedy and devious than Masseria had become.

By September 1931, Maranzano realized that Luciano was a danger and hired Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll, an Irish gangster, to kill him. However, Lucchese alerted Luciano that he was on death row. On September 10, Maranzano ordered Luciano, Genovese and Costello to his office at 230 Park Avenue in Manhattan, where he was murdered.

Then in 1931, Luciano called a meeting in Chicago with several bosses, where he proposed the formation of a Commission to serve as the governing body of organized crime. Designed to settle all disputes and decide which families controlled which territories, the Commission was called Luciano's greatest innovation. Luciano's goals with the Commission were to quietly maintain his own power over the other families, and to prevent future gang wars. The other chiefs approved of the idea of the Commission.

After Masseria's death, Gambino and his cousins became soldiers of the family led by Vincent Mangano. Despite being a major mobster in his own right, Albert Anastasia was nominally the underboss of the Mangano family. During Mangano's 20 years at the helm, he had taken a dim view of Anastasia's close ties to Luciano and Costello. Particularly the fact that they obtained Anastasia's services without first seeking her permission. This and other business disputes led to a heated, almost physical rivalry between the two mobsters.

Gambino was arrested in 1937 and spent 22 months in prison at the Lewisburg for tax evasion in connection with a distillery in Philadelphia.

Mangano's brother Philip was found dead near Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn on April 19, 1951. He was murdered along with his brother on Anastasia's orders in Brooklyn in 1951. Vincent Mangano's body was never found and he was pronounced dead 10 years later on October 30, 1961, by the family court in Brooklyn. No one was ever arrested for the Mangano murders but it was widely assumed that Anastasia had murdered them.

During the mid-1950s, Genovese decided to target Frank Costello. However, Genovese also needed to get rid of Costello's most powerful ally on the Commission, Albert Anastasia, the head of the Anastasia crime family. Genovese was soon conspiring with Gambino, Anastasia's underboss, to get Anastasia out of the way.

In early 1957, Genovese decided to carry out an attack on Costello. Genovese ordered Vincent Gigante to assassinate Costello, and on May 2, 1957, Gigante shot and wounded Costello outside the apartment building where he lived. The surviving Costello was persuaded to relinquish power to Genovese and retire. A doorman identified Gigante as the gunman, however, in 1958, Costello testified that he was unable to recognize his assailants. Gigante was acquitted of the attempted murder charges.

Without Costello, Genovese and Gambino allegedly ordered Anastasia's murder. Gambino gave the contract to Joe Profaci, who allegedly gave it to the Gallo gang, led by Joseph "Crazy Joe" Gallo, Anastasia was murdered on October 25, 1957, in the barbershop of the Park Sheraton Hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Gambino then became the new head of the Anastasia crime family, which was renamed the Gambino crime family.

Gambino appointed Joseph Biondo as deputy chief, however, by 1965, he replaced him with Aniello Dellacroce.

In November 1957, immediately after the murder of Anastasia, after taking control of the Luciano de Costello crime family, Genovese wanted to legitimize his new power by holding a national meeting of the Cosa Nostra. Genovese chose commission member and Buffalo, New York boss Stefano "The Undertaker" Magaddino, who in turn chose northeastern Pennsylvania crime boss Joseph Barbara and his underboss Russell Bufalino to oversee all arrangements for the Apalachin Meeting. Cuba was one of the topics under discussion at Apalachin, particularly gambling and drug trafficking interests on the island. International narcotics trafficking was also an important topic on the agenda. The interests of the New York fashion industry and gambling dens, such as usury to business owners and control of the district's freight trucks, were other important topics on the Apalachin agenda.

On November 14, 1957, powerful mobsters from the United States and Italy met at Barbara's property in Apalachin, N.Y. The agenda included resolving illegal gambling and narcotics issues, primarily in the New York area. State Patrolman Edgar D. Croswell had become aware that Barbara's son was booking rooms at local hotels as well as delivering a large quantity of meat from a local butcher shop to Barbara's home. After Croswell's suspicions were aroused, he decided to keep an eye on Barbara's home. When the state police discovered many luxury cars parked at Barbara's home, they began noting the license plates. Finding that many of these cars were registered to known criminals, state police reinforcements began arriving on the scene and set up a police siege. When the mobsters discovered the police presence, they began fleeing the scene both by car and on foot. Many mobsters escaped through the woods surrounding Barbara's property. Gambino is believed to have attended the meeting but was not one of the mobsters arrested. Police stopped a car driven by Bufalino, whose passengers included Genovese and three other men leaving the property. Bufalino said he had come to visit his sick friend, Barbara. Genovese said he was there for a barbecue and to discuss business with Barbara.

Luciano and Gambino allegedly helped pay part of the $100,000 to a Puerto Rican drug dealer to falsely implicate Genovese in a drug deal. On April 17, 1959, Genovese was sentenced to 15 years in the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary, where he died on February 14, 1969.

On January 26, 1962, Luciano died of a heart attack at Naples International Airport. Three days later, 300 people attended his funeral in Naples, and his body was paraded through the streets in a horse-drawn carriage. His body was paraded through the streets of the city in a horse-drawn carriage. With the permission of the U.S. government, Luciano's relatives took his body back to New York for burial. He was buried in St. John's Cemetery. More than 2,000 people attended his funeral. Luciano's longtime friend Gambino gave his eulogy.

After Genovese's imprisonment, Gambino took control of the Commission. Gambino despised drugs even though heroin and cocaine were very lucrative. He thought these, too, would attract too much attention. The punishment for a family member who dealt drugs, Gambino-style, was death.

In the 1960s, the Gambino family had 500 soldiers and more than a thousand associates. In 1962, Carlo Gambino's oldest son, Thomas Gambino, married Tommy Lucchese's daughter Frances. More than 1,000 guests attended the wedding at which Carlo Gambino presented Lucchese with a $30,000 gift. In exchange, Lucchese gave Gambino part of his joint at Idlewild Airport (now called John F. Kennedy International Airport). Lucchese exercised control over airport security and all airport unions, the Commission, and much of organized crime in New York.

In 1963, Joseph Bonanno, the head of the Bonanno crime family, made plans to assassinate several Commission rivals, the Gambino bosses, Tommy Lucchese, and Stefano Magaddino, as well as Frank DeSimone. Bonanno sought the support of Joseph Magliocco and Magliocco agreed. Not only was he upset that he was denied a seat on the Commission, but Bonanno and Profaci had been close allies for more than 30 years before Profaci's death. Bonanno's audacious goal was to take control of the Commissioni and make Magliocco his right-hand man. Magliocco was assigned the task of killing Lucchese and Gambino, and gave the contract to one of his top men, Joseph Colombo. However, the opportunistic Colombo revealed the plan to his targets. The other bosses quickly realized that Magliocco could not have been the one who planned this. Remembering how close Magliocco and Bonnano (and before the former, Profaci) were, as well as their close ties by marriage, the other bosses concluded that Bonanno was the mastermind. The Commission summoned Bonanno and Magliocco to explain themselves. Fearing for his life, Bonanno went into hiding in Montreal, leaving Magliocco to face the Commission. Frightened and in poor health, Magliocco confessed his role in the plan. The Commission spared his life but forced him to retire as head of the Profaci family and pay a $50,000 fine. As a reward for ratting out his boss, Colombo received the family.

Deportation proceedings were initiated by the Immigration and Naturalization Service as early as 1953, but did not move forward for several years due to Gambino's heart condition and constant hospitalizations. In 1970, he was indicted on charges of conspiracy to hijack an armored car carrying $3 million and was arrested on March 23, 1970, released after posting a $75,000 bond, and was never brought to trial because of his health. He was released after posting $75,000 bail, and was never brought to trial due to his health. that same year, the Supreme Court stayed a 1967 order he had appealed to have him deported because he had entered the country illegally. when the government wanted to carry out the order, Gambino was taken to a hospital because he had suffered a heart attack.

On June 28, 1971, Colombo was shot three times by Jerome A. Johnson, one in the head, at the second Italian Unity Day rally at Columbus Circle sponsored by the Italian-American Civil Rights League; Johnson was immediately shot and killed by Colombo's bodyguards. Colombo was paralyzed by the shooting and later died in 1978.

Although many in the Colombo family blame Joe Gallo for the shooting, police eventually concluded that Johnson acted on his own after Gallo was questioned. Since Johnson had spent time a few days earlier at a Gambino club, one theory was that Gambino staged the shooting. Colombo refused to listen to Gambino's complaints about the League and allegedly punched Gambino in the face during an argument. However, the Colombo family leadership was convinced that it was Gallo who ordered the killing after he left the family. Gallo was killed on April 7, 1972.

After Genovese's death, Gerardo Catena became the new official boss. However, Catena was indicted and imprisoned in 1970. Thomas Eboli was then the apparent head of the family for the next two years although he wanted to be the real head of the Genovese crime family. To achieve this, Eboli borrowed $4 million from Commission president and head of the rival Gambino family, Carlo Gambino, to finance a new drug trafficking operation. However, law enforcement soon shut down Eboli's gambling dens and arrested most of his gang. Gambino and his underboss Aniello Dellacroce allegedly went to Eboli to get his money back but Eboli did not have it. Gambino then allegedly ordered the murder of Eboli for non-payment. However, it is believed that Gambino actually wanted to replace Eboli with his ally Frank "Funzi" Tieri, and that he used the drug trafficking operation to plant Eboli. On July 16, 1972, Eboli left his sweetheart's apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn and walked to his chauffeur-driven Cadillac. As he sat down in the parked car, a gunman in a switchback shot him five times, wounding him in the head and neck and killing him instantly. Ebolo died instantly. No one was charged with the murder.

Gambino died at his home in Massapequa in the early hours of Friday, October 15, 1976 at the age of 74}} having watched the previous night's telecast of the Yankees winning the American League Championship. The official cause was natural causes and his death was not unexpected due to a recent history of heart ailments. His funeral was held at the Cusimano & Russo Funeral Home on the weekend of October 16-17. His funeral mass was held on Monday, October 18 at Our Lady of Grace Church in Brooklyn. Gambino was buried in his family's private room in the Cloister Building at Saint John Cemetery in Queens. Gambino's funeral was attended by several hundred people with undercover police and FBI agents outside. His funeral procession consisted of 13 limousines and a dozen private cars and a flower wagon.


Contrary to expectations, Gambino had established Paul Castellano as his successor over his underboss Dellacroce. Gambino seemed to believe that his crime family would benefit from Castellano's focus on white-collar business. Dellacroce, at the time, was busted for tax evasion and was unable to contest Castellano's succession.

Castellano's succession was confirmed at a meeting on November 24, with Dellacroce present. Castellano arranged for Dellacroce to remain as underboss directing traditional Cosa Nostra activities such as extortion, robbery and usury. While Dellacroce accepted Castellano's succession, the agreement in effect split the family into two rival factions.


  1. Carlo Gambino
  2. Carlo Gambino
  3. ^ a b c August 24, 1902, is a birth date most commonly used,[1] however, September 1, 1902, is a birth date that has also been cited.[2]
  4. a b August 24, 1902, es la fecha de nacimiento más utilizada,[1]​ sin embargo, 1 de septiembre de 1902 es una fecha que también ha sido citada.[2]​
  5. Mustain, Gene. Capeci, Jerry. Mob star: the story of John Gotti (англ.)
  6. Talese, Gay. Honor Thy Father Архивная копия от 8 июня 2020 на Wayback Machine (p. 295) (англ.)
  7. Capeci, Jerry. Frank Perdue Meets The Godfather (July 5, 1983) New York Magazine (pg.28-29) (англ.)
  8. John H. Davis: Mafia Dynasty: The Rise and Fall of the Gambino Crime Family. HarperCollins, New York 1993, ISBN 0-06-016357-7, S. 27.
  9. Nicholas Gage: Carlo Gambino, a Mafia Leader, Dies in His Long Island Home at 74. In: The New York Times. 16. Oktober 1976, ISSN 0362-4331 ( [abgerufen am 17. Dezember 2021]).
  10. Carlo Gambino | American crime boss | Britannica. Abgerufen am 17. Dezember 2021 (englisch).
  11. Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia (p. 15)
  12. Jerry Capeci: Frank Perdue Meets The Godfather In: New York Magazine, 5. Juli 1983, S. 28–29

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