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Sunday, 15 December 2013

Al Capone

Alphonse Gabriel Capone was born in the borough of Brooklyn in New York on January 17, 1899. He was the fourth of nine children born to Gabriele and Teresina (Teresa) Capone. Alphonse's father was a barber and his mother stayed home with the children.

Al Capone with his mother
He joined his first gang, the South Brooklyn Rippers in his mid teens. Capone was then initiated into a more prestigious gang, the Forty Thieves Juniors, at the age of 17.

As a teenager, Capone honed his shooting skills by firing at beer bottles in the cellar of a New York club.

Al Capone married Mary ("Mae") Coughlin on December 30, 1918 at St. Mary Star of the Sea Roman Catholic Church, Brooklyn, New York. They tied the knot three weeks after their son (Albert Francis Capone, a.k.a. "Sonny") was born. Sonny was to remain Capone's only child.

James Capone, Al Capone's older brother, was a federal prohibition agent.

Al Capone was estimated to have earned $105 million in 1927 alone from alcohol, vice and gambling; the equivalent today to $1.4 billion per year. It was the highest income of anyone in the U.S.

Al Capone got the nickname “Scarface,” due to severe cuts he’d received during a fight with one Frank Gallucio as a young man. Gallucio slashed his face for making rude comments to his sister.

Capone hated the nickname "Scarface" and preferred the names "Big Fellow" and "Snorky," which were given to him by other criminals.

Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer.

James Capone, Al Capone's older brother, was a federal prohibition agent.

Capone was known for sending flowers to rival gang member’s funerals; one funeral he spent over $5000 on flowers.

Al Capone’s favourite food was Nathan’s Coney Island hot dogs.

Al Capone's personal car was fitted with machine guns in the rear, armor plating, bulletproof fuel tank and a smokescreen-emitting exhaust. 

On February 14, 1929 Al Capone ordered his bloody 'St. Valentine's Day Massacre'. He wanted to kill rival bootlegger Bugs Moran, leader of the former O'Bannion gang. Capone's men dressed as police officers raided their warehouse and shot dead seven men - but Moran was not one of them.

National Museum of Crime and Punishment - Saint Valentine's Day Massacre brick. By David from Washington, DC - 

The St. Valentine's Day Massacre stirred a media storm centered on Capone and his illegal Prohibition-era activities and motivated federal authorities to redouble their efforts to find evidence incriminating enough to take him off the streets.

Al Capone was convicted on October 17, 1931 on five counts of income tax evasion. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison and fined $80,000. It was the only charge that could be sustained against him.

Al Capone. Mugshot information from Science and Society Picture Gallery

After being transferred to Alcatraz in 1934, Capone lobbied the warden to allow him and his prisoners musical instruments. Upon permission being granted, Capone learned how to play the banjo and formed a prison band, The Rock Islanders, which included George ‘Machine Gun’ Kelly on the drums.

Capone served eight years in prison. After surviving a brutal assault by a fellow inmate, he was released early in 1939 for good behavior.

After Capone was released from prison, he was referred to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore for the treatment of paresis (caused by late-stage syphilis). Hopkins refused to admit him based solely on his reputation, but Union Memorial Hospital took him in. He was one of the the first sufferer to be treated with antibiotics.

Al Capone spent the last years of his life at his mansion in Palm Island, Florida. Four days after suffering a stroke Al Capone died on January 25, 1947 in his home, surrounded by his family.

Within an hour of Al Capone’s death, Windham Thildrick, known throughout Florida as the mortician all the millionaires go to, drove his Cadillac up the drive to receive orders from the one-time King of the Underworld's ’s three brothers for the finest funeral Miami Beach ever saw.

He wаs buried аt Mount Carmel Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois.

Well into the 1960s, The Guinness Book of World Records listed Capone as holding the record for the highest personal income.

In 2000 his toenail clippers were sold for £5,000 at an auction in San Francisco.

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