10 Most Famous Gangsters in the World
Mario Puzo's book The Godfather - and the corresponding film trilogy - is a title which millions of people are familiar with. It's true that it has brought the world of violent crime, drug cartels and gangsters into our homes, but Vito Corleone is just a figment of the author's imagination.
Or is he? Gangsters are a very real part of our history - in fact, they still shape many of our towns and cities today. In some cases, there's a lot of fact behind the fictional Dons. Many stories which fill our pages and screens are based on real-life events of people who roamed the streets of the most dangerous cities in the world. Filled with murder, smuggled alcohol, power struggles and sharp minds, there's a sordid background to the gangsters whose names we recognize. Are you ready to delve into the lives of some of the most powerful, successful and downright brutal gangsters the world has ever seen?
Born: September 5, 1847, Kearney, Missouri, United States
Jesse James was perhaps one of the first famous gangsters that the world ever saw. He was around at the time of the "Wild West" and the American Civil War. From Missouri, he was a guerilla fighter alongside his brother during the conflict, and later became part of the infamous James-Younger gang. This tough guy was an outlaw, who took part in robberies of banks, stagecoaches and trains - this made him one of the legends of his time, and one of the most famous gangsters of all time.
Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel
Born: February 28, 1906, Williamsburg, New York City, New York, US
Gangster Names: Bugsy
Benjamin Siegel, who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, earned his nickname of "Bugsy" due to his unpredictable nature. He was very powerful, co-founding Murder, Incorporated with Meyer Lansky, and working for the Luciano crime family. His main areas of expertise were with bootlegging and being a hitman. However, he left an indelible mark on the world - and not just for his criminal activity.
The Flamingo was one of the first casinos to be built on the Strip in Las Vegas, and Siegel helped to build it. As a result, he had many high-profile friends and acquaintances, such as Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable and Cary Grant. He was a gangster hiding in plain sight; he certainly was a man with two distinct sides to him! He still had enemies, though, and one ended up murdering him in 1947. His death remains unsolved to this day - a real life whodunnit.