Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano
Known as the founding father of modern organized crime in the States, Charles Luciano was born Salvatore Lucania in Sicily in 1897. He was never one for school. He loved being on the streets and thrived doing petty crimes to make his own money. However, when he did attend school, he had his own schemes going on there too. He would have kids pay him for protection. If they didn’t pay, well, he’d beat them up himself. After dropping out of school, he wound up making friends with both Meyer Lansky and Bugsy Siegel. In 1916 he was arrested for selling heroin, it was his first real run in with the law. During the early 20’s, Luciano was heavily involved in the bootlegging industry, and also dabbled in some gambling operations with other major mobsters on the East Coast. The nickname ‘lucky’ was given to him after surviving a brutal attack that left him with a lazy eye. He was stabbed and beaten by several men who had abducted him in 1929. They had also left a deep cut along the side of his face before leaving him to die on a beach on Staten Island.
After having worked for Giuseppe “Joe the Boss” Masseria for quite some time, he eventually turned the tables and worked with Joe’s rival, Salvatore Maranzano, and orchestrated Masseria’s assassination in 1931. Charles took Joe’s place as top boss, but it wasn’t long before Maranzano started to see Charles as a threat himself. He ordered a hit on Charles, but Lucky was too smart for that, and ha Maranzano killed before he could do anything. He worked to ensure that all major criminals in America ran as a smooth machine. Things were going great for Lucky, until June of 1936, when he was convicted on prostitution and extortion, then sentenced to 30-50 years behind bars. After the war, he was sent to Naples, Italy, where he would live out the rest of his days. He suffered a heart attack at Naples Airport in January of 1962.