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Jakub Paulík
October 2, 2020, 9:50pm
Reading time: 5:14

Celebrities And Mafia. You May Not Have Known About The Connections Of These Popular Stars To The Underworld

For which celebrity did a member of the triad work?

Jakub Paulík
October 2, 2020, 9:50pm
Reading time: 5:14
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Celebrities And Mafia. You May Not Have Known About The Connections Of These Popular Stars To The Underworld
Zdroj: Warner Bros. Pictures
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Few people boast about their connections with the mafia and most celebrities respond evasively to these alleged ties with the underworld. The opposite is true for James Caan, known as Sonny Corleone from The Godfather.


He not only admitted to relationship with a convicted mobster, but even said that he was "a good friend that everyone would like." Let's look at celebrities who are associated with the mafia in several ways. The gangsters were their friends, family, alleged lovers or business associates.


James Caan

James Caan has starred in a number of films, but his most famous character is Sonny Corleone from the legendary Godfather. However, the film gangster kept in touch with the underworld even in real life. His close friends include mobster Andrew Russ, nicknamed Andy, a prominent member of the Colombo mob family.



The friendship between the actor and the mob completely came to light in 2011, when Andy got detained by the police. According to the Daily Mail, the actor offered to pay bail for the gangsters and openly spoke of him as a very close person, whom he values. They sealed their strong friendship when the high-ranking mobster became the godfather of the actor's son Scott. 


In addition to him, James Caan allegedly maintained relationships with other mobsters. For example, gangster Anthony Fiato alias The Animal talked about the actor's good relations with the underworld. According to him, James Caan ordered a "service" from him, which consisted of intimidating the famous actor Joe Pesci (The Irishman, Goodfellas, Raging Bull).


James Caan is said to be angry with Pesci for his failure to pay the $ 8,000 hotel bill. According to Anthony Fiat, his claim is confirmed by a recording that the FBI allegedly has. However, spokesman of James Caan denied the mobster's claims. The actor would do nothing like that, because he is Pesci's best friend.

Source: Paramount Pictures

Robert De Niro

Another famous actor from gangster films had to explain to the public his alleged connection to one member of the mob. The suspicion came after The Daily News published a photo of Robert DeNiro and Anthony Ruggiano, nicknamed Fat Andy, who murdered for the Gambino family. The shot was created while filming Analyze This. According to the New York Daily News, the couple was to be introduced by gangster Anthony Corozzo, who worked as an extra in the film .



Incidentally, Anthony Corozzo also appeared on the scene in A Bronx Tale, in which he also played alongside Robert De Niro. Robert De Niro plays a tough mobster in Analyze This. The media therefore found it believable that the actor found out how to portray such a criminal as credibly as possible from gangster Anthony Ruggian.


Although the popular Robert De Niro never actually belonged to the underworld, outside of  the movie screen, he certainly was not an "angel" during his youth. As a teenager, he became a member of a street gang. According to Vanity Fair, he earned the nickname Bobby Milk in it because he had skin white as milk.

Source: Paramount Pictures

Steven Seagal


Steven Seagal collaborated with the businessman Julius Nass on his work for many years. He helped him finance his pictures. They co-founded Seagal-Nasso Productions, writes The Los Angeles Times. The actor allegedly did not realize at the time, that Julius was connected to the Gambino mob family.


But he certainly found out shortly after he said in 2000 that he was done with violent films. According to The Independent, he stated that he had become a Buddhist. It was then that the mobsters allegedly began blackmailing him at Julius Nassa's request.


According to the prosecutor, the blackmail was evidenced by records of interceptions among gangsters who laughed, how well intimidated the action hero. When asked why he did not go to the FBI immediately, Seagal replied that "they could not protect him in such a situation." Therefore, he initially sought out gangster Angela Prisca, hoping he would help him settle the disputes. In the end, however, the case ended up in court. The defence claimed that there was no blackmail and that Seagal actually owed Nass money. Julius Nass was sentenced to one year in prison.

Source: Warner Bros

Elizabeth Hurley


The seductive Elizabeth Hurley (Austin Powers, Contract with the Devil), allegedly enjoyed a romantic relationship with a gangster .


According to the New York Post, she was allegedly smitten by Dominic Montemarano, nicknamed Donnie Shacks in 2001, who, like Andy Russo (a friend of actor James Caano), worked for the Colombo family. Donnie was sentenced him to 11 years in prison for blackmail. Elizabeth Hurley, however, did not seem to care much for his criminal activities. Their alleged relationship is also written about in Breakshot: A Life in the 21st Century American Mafia (see page 439).


The couple was caught in public in Beverly Hills, embracing or holding hands. However, we cannot consider this as proof of their romantic connection. Given the mobster's efforts at the time to invest in the film business, these could only be friendly meetings. At the time of their meeting, spokeswoman of Elizabeth Hurley responded to questions from reporters, saying they had only a friendly relationship, says IMDb. In any case, the actress and producer had to be aware what kind of person she was meeting with.

Source: 20th Century Fox

Frank Sinatra

In addition to his singing, singer Frank Sinatra is also known for his truly versatile connections to the underworld. According to the book Frank Sinatra by Chris Rojek (see page 78), his family was associated the gangsters, namely Uncle Babe Garavante, who was to work for mobster Willie Moretti.


In 1921, Sinatra's uncle was convicted of involvement in an attempted robbery as a driver. One person died during the robbery. But FBI documents connect Frank Sinatra with other mobsters as well, some of whom he has kept fervent friendships as an adult.


In the early 1940s, he befriended mobster Charles Fishetti alias Trigger Happy, for whom he often obtained tickets to various sporting events. Without pay, he continued to help him with advertisements for some of his businesses and performed at his hotel. In short, he simply used his popularity to help him in every possible way.


However, his connection to the mafia did not only concern his blood family and friends, but also his first wife, Nancy Barbato. She was the cousin of one of the gangsters working for Willie Moretti. Famous mobsters such as Carlos Marcello (the mob boss from New Orleans), Santos Trafficante (Florida) and many others often appeared at Sinatra concerts. Frank Sinatra also performed for one of America's most famous mobsters, Charles Lucian alias Lucky.

Source: TASR / AP


Donald Trump

David Cay Johnston, an investigative journalist awarded the Pulitzer Prize, pointed out in his article the connection between Donald Trump and the mob boss from Atlantic City, Nicky Scarf. According to federal prosecutors and the New Jersey State Commission of Inquiry, Donald Trump and mobster Nicky Scarfo communicated through their people - attorneys Harvey I. Freeman (for Trump) and Ken Shapir (for mobster Nicky Scarfo).


Donald Trump later bought a property from Nicky for twice its market value. David Marcus of The Conservative online magazine The Federalist writes that Trump also bought a bar from the mobster Savaltore Testa (now the Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino) for the double the asking price. We can only assume that the experienced businessman Donald Trump must have known, with what kind of men he was doing business.


The Huffington Post pointed out Trump's Taj Mahal Casino in Atlantic City , where he cast Danny Leung as Vice President of Foreign Marketing - "a well-known figure in Asian organized crime." He belonged to the Hong Kong 14K triad.


From Atlantic City, let's move on to the Big Apple - New York. Some of Donald Trump's buildings in the city were built by S&A Concrete Co., which was partly owned by the head of the Genovese family, Anthony Salerno, aka Fat Tony.

Source: Evan Vucci/TASR/AP


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Thumbnail: Warner Bros./Paramount Pictures
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