An Italian-born gangster, Lucky Luciano is regarded as the father of modern organized crime in the US; he served as the first boss of the Genovese crime family. He also played a key role in the rise of the National Crime Syndicate. His life and style inspired several films, television series, and books. His eponymous biopic was released in 1973.
Italian-American gangster Joe Gallo, nicknamed "Crazy Joe,” was part of New York’s Colombo crime family. Initially an associate of the Profaci crime family, Gallo was later involved in the First Colombo War. He was suspected of launching an attack on Joseph Colombo and was shot dead on his 43rd birthday.
Carlo Gambino was an Italian-American kingpin of the famous Gambino crime family. He took over the Commission of the Mafia after the incarceration of Vito Genovese in 1959. Although he was involved in organized crime for more than five decades, he was imprisoned for only 22 months for a tax evasion charge. Carlo Gambino is often portrayed in crime films.
Charles Ponzi was an Italian con artist and swindler who operated in Canada and the USA. He is best remembered for his money-making scheme in which he paid his earlier investors using the money given to him by later investors. Although this type of swindling investment scheme existed before Ponzi's time, it came to be known as a Ponzi scheme.
John Franzese was a mobster who served as the underboss of the infamous Colombo crime family from 1963 to 1967. In 2005, he once again became the underboss of the crime family until he was convicted in 2011. Franzese was 100 years old at the time of his release; he was the only centenarian in federal custody at that time.
Italian-American crime boss Joseph Bonanno was the leader of the Bonanno crime family for almost four decades. Introduced to organized crime as a child, he proceeded to become one of the youngest-ever bosses of a crime family at just 26. He successfully evaded arrest for many decades. He lived a long life and became a writer in his later years.
10 Frank Nitti
Frank Nitti was an Italian born-American mobster and one of Al Capone's main henchmen. Renowned for his leadership skills, Nitti succeeded Al Capone to become the boss of the Chicago Outfit. His life and work inspired the 1988 biopic Nitti: The Enforcer.
12 Angelo Bruno
Sicilian-American mobster Angelo Bruno led the Philadelphia crime family for 20 years. He was known as The Gentle Don or The Docile Don due to his dislike for violence. He was killed by a shotgun blast in his car, and his murder caused a mob war for 4 years.
13 Joe Masseria
Joe Masseria was an Italian-American Mafia boss who controlled the Genovese crime family from 1922 to 1931. He was killed in the Castellammarese War, which was fought for control over illegal activities in New York City. Since his death, Joe Masseria has been portrayed in several films like The Valachi Papers, Lucky Luciano, Mobsters, and Lansky.
17 Ralph Capone
Ralph Capone, older brother of infamous gangsters Al and Frank Capone, was a mobster in his own right. He followed his brothers to Chicago, where he formed his own legitimate soft drink business, earning the nickname “Bottles.” His business was once second only to Coca-Cola in the non-alcoholic beverage market.
18 Joe Profaci
Joe Profaci was an Italian-born New York City mafia boss. He founded what later became the Colombo crime family in 1928 and was the family's boss for over three decades. It was the last of the Five Families to be organized. Besides his illegal activities, he also maintained several legitimate businesses. He died of liver cancer in 1962.
Leonarda Cianciulli was an Italian serial killer who murdered three women and turned their bodies into soaps and tea cakes. She is also known as the "Soap-Maker of Correggio." Between 1939 and 1940, she killed three of her neighbors--all of them middle-aged women--as part of human sacrifices. She was eventually found guilty of her crimes and sentenced to prison.