Al Capone Al Capone is one of the most famous gangsters in the world. Born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1989, he was the fourth child out of nine children born to his parents who emigrated from Naples, Italy. Capone's trouble started in the sixth grade when he was expelled from school for retaliating and hitting his teacher back after she had hit him. Capone then joined the James Street Gang, a tough gang of young teenagers, run by Johnny Torrio. Torrio himself would soon become a founding member of the Chicago Mob. The James Street gang was a part of the much larger (and less youthful) Five Points Gang where Capone later graduated to.
Al Capone was hired by Torrio as a bouncer at a seedy dive bar and brothel in Brooklyn. During this time Al insulted a patron and was attacked by the patron's brother, Frank Galluccio, and Capone's left check got slashed.
This led to his nickname Scarface. Often, Al Capone would tell reports that his scar was a reminder of his service in France in the "Last Battalion", during world war I, but Capone never fought in France.
In 1919, after being in trouble with the law in New York, Capone moved to Chicago. John Torrio, who was working the brothel in the windy city, needed his help. At the time Torrio was having problems with his uncle, Big Jim Colissimo, who didn't want to get involved with the booze rackets that prohibition would bring. Capone and Torrio sent to New York for a team of hit men and removed Colissimo from the equation. Together, Capone and Torrio started to take charge of Chicago. Gangs that didn't toe the line went to war with them. The fight with The O'Banion Gang from Chicago's north side was the most famous of these wars. The O'Banion Gang put John Torrio in the hospital in 1925. Finally a month later when Torrio got out, he gave it all to Capone, and took 30 million dollars with him back to Brooklyn, where he retired.
At the age of 26, Al Capone became the leaded of one of the worlds largest crime families. The Capone mob numbered over 1000, most of them cold blooded killers. He was a murderer, pimp, extortionist, and bootlegger, but the public loved him. Capone was seen in the company of movie stars, big business people, and political figures. What the public wanted, booze, prostitution and gambling, is what he restricted the outfits activities to. If the people are given what they want, they are not going to stop you. When seen at public events, Al Capone was cheered while president Herbert Hoover was booed.
Capone surrounded himself with his most trusted mobsters. Trust was everything. If you couldn't trust your bodyguards, you would end up whacked. Capone's trust was placed with his men and the trust was returned equally. Capone became known as the man that could be counted on in any event. Even so, Al had to be careful. Many attempts were made to kill him. On one occasion, The O'Banion Gang sent a whole motorcade of gun happy mobsters past his Cicero Headquarters. Thousands of rounds were fired into the headquarters building but Capone escaped without a scratch Capone eventually dealt with his enemies. His most famous personal retribution involved the killing of three of his own men, John Scalise, Albert Ansemi and Hop Toad Giunta. Al found out that these men were conspiring to have him eliminated. He invited them to a banquet and after the meal he bashed their heads all over the dinner table with a club.
Just prior to this, Capone orchestrated one of the most famous hits of all time, the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Capone was not impressed with the hit, even thought it was very successful. The massacre of the seven north side mobsters was all over the newspapers and the public's attitude towards gangsters started to change. The public wasn't interested in any wholesale slaughter. The hit also focused the efforts of the law enforcement community on Al Capone. However, Capone had a perfect alibi when the murders were taking place. He was at his Miami condo talking with a local district attorney on the phone at the time. Even though Capone was unable to be connected to any of the murders he carried out himself, or ordered someone else to take care of, the Internal Revenue Service managed to get him on tax evasion charges and put him away for 11 years.
Capone's time in prison was spent at the federal penitentiary in Atlanta and later on the island prison of Alcatraz in San Francisco's harbour. Time in Alcatraz was not easy for Capone. With enticements of money, he could gain favours from some inmates, but others were not so taken by the mighty Al Capone. Many attempts were made on his life in Alcatraz. He was stabbed in the back, attempts were made to poison him, strangle him and stick him in the head with device called a slash weight. In 1939, due to ill health, brought on by syphilis which he caught in his earlier whore house days, he was released. The infection spread to his brain and he was a virtual vegetable most of the time. Capone was taken and spent the rest of his life in his Florida mansion, where he died on January 25, 1947.