Bugsy Siegel was part of that infamous gangster era in the U.S. that flourished during prohibition. He was a businessman. The problem was that the business he formed was Murder Inc. Bugsy was born on February 28, 1906 in Brooklyn, New York as were many of us. I am not talking about the year here but the place. Bugsy, notice I use the first name here as I hate calling known criminals Mr., earned a living as an assassin which is not exactly a position you will find advertised in the want ads. If it was dirty and he could make a buck at it, he did it, without regard for others. When you visit Las Vegas the next time, think of Bugsy because he is known as the father of Las Vegas. The reason for this is the fact that he built the first grand hotel and casino there in 1946 and everything that followed was because of this.
He soon found others of the same ilk to befriend. He became fast friends with Meyer Lansky and "Lucky" Luciano. As a matter of fact, it was Meyer Lansky that helped Bugsy found Murder Inc. There is a story about how Bugsy got so enraged about a man that ratted out Luciano and caused him to go to prison that he killed him but was spotted by a woman while he did it. She made a mistake, a BIG mistake, and told Siegel that she would tell the police if he didn't give her money. It is said that he immediately dragged her into an alley, raped her then told her he was going to burn her face with acid if she ever opened her mouth. The story goes on to say that she never did. Can't seem to blame her on that call.
Siegel got so powerful that he and a few others controlled the whole east side of New York City. But there was a problem, and it was named named Joe Masseria. He was a Mafia boss who was trying to cut into the business. This didn't stop Bugsy or Meyer. They would steal his illegal shipments of alcohol and sell them to their customers. They finally convinced Masseria to meet with them in a restaurant and while he was eating he was executed by the infamous members of the later to be formed Murder Inc., who were Vito Genovese, Joe Adonis, and Albert Anastasia. Bugsy didn't really care who he killed. A case in point was when "Dutch" Schultz hired him to kill a man named Bo Weinburg, he did happily. Next he was hired to kill "Dutch" which he again did happily. Well at least he didn't suffer from any conscience problems.
Bugsy didn't like being called Bugsy and I think we can all understand this. But some might say he took this a little too far. There is a story about him that illustrates this point. The story goes this way. Bugsy had gone to Hollywood to meet with his friend that he grew up with, George Raft, a famous movie star of the time. He stayed there for awhile and became a favorite of the social set there. One day while at a party he got a telephone call from Murder Inc. asking him to kill "Big Greenie" Greenbaum. Apparently Greenbaum had ratted someone out. He left the party and did his dirty deed. The next day he was arrested for murder. The newspapers loved the story and they all had it on the front pages. The problem was they called him Bugsy. He was out when he first saw a newsboy selling a paper with the story. He went over to him and killed him on the spot. But this is not my favorite Bugsy Siegel story.
My favorite Bugsy Siegel story was the one where he almost changed the history of the world. He had gone to Italy and was at a party given by an Italian Countess. Two of the other guests turned out to be Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels. Bugsy was enraged and decided to kill them both because of his Jewish heritage. The countess grabbed him and begged him not to do anything at her party. He finally gave in and left. Can you imagine how the deaths of these two men might have affected world history?
You couldn't really be friends with Bugsy. An example of this was he would borrow large amounts of money from Hollywood celebrates who wouldn't dare refuse to lend it to him and he would never pay it back. He knew they wouldn't ask for it because they were too scared. He liked Hollywood and began to form crooked unions and run many rackets there. But he had discovered a town named Las Vegas and had this dream of a place where the mob could conduct legalized gambling and got the syndicate to invest five million in a hotel called the Flamingo. The hotel casino got its name because Bugsy named it after the long legs of his show girl girlfriend Virginia Hill. Unfortunately for Bugsy the hotel was a failure when it opened. You don't have a failure using mob money! A hit was ordered for Bugsy and even the powerful Meyer Lansky couldn't stop it, try as he may. Frankie Carranzo pumped several shots through a window into Bugsy's face and he died.
Bugsy was found dead on 20 June, 1947. He died like he lived, violently with five shots through his head while he was at home. I am sure there were a long line of applicants for that job.
To find out more about Bugsey Siegel, you can go to my site, About Facts Net at http://aboutfacts.net/People51.htm where you find thousands of pages of documents released by the FBI under the Freedom of Information act on Siegel.
Short note about the author
Ken is the webmaster of Http://aboutfacts.net which is a free magazine on the internet. It has many interesting articles which are ofter accompanied by photos, video, and/or audio.
This article is Copyright © 2005 by About Facts Net and its licensors. All rights reserved. It may be reproduced without any changes.