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Biography

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Overview (4)

Born in Cosenza, Italy
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (heart attack)
Birth NameFrancisco Castiglia
Nicknames The Prime Minister of the Underworld
The Prime Minister

Mini Bio (1)

Frank Costello was born Francisco Castiglia in Cosenza, Italy, in 1891. His family moved to New York, and as a young man he joined the local Mafia gang. When the "Castellamarese War" between gang bosses Giuseppe Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano ended, Costello was one of the few who were held in high respect. Maranzano feared the young men who survived the gang bloodbath, however, so he put together a hit list that included Costello, Al Capone, Lucky Luciano and many others. Luciano succeeded in getting rid of Maranzano first, though, and Costello was put in charge of Luciano's own family along with Vito Genovese (aka "Don Vitone"). Genovese and Costello rarely saw eye to eye, and when Genovese went into exile in Italy to escape serious criminal charges, Costello took over complete control. Luciano was also arrested and, later, deported. Along with gangster Meyer Lansky, Costello ran Luciano's business in America. A few years later Genovese suddenly returned, and wanted to re-assert complete control over the family.

A man who could have been a valuable Costello ally was his close friend Albert Anastasia. Anastasia did not get along with his bosses, brothers Phillip and Vincent Mangano, so he stuck close to Costello. Costello and Anastasia soon began talking about killing the Manganos. If Anastasia had an entire family behind him, he reasoned, he could easily then take down the hated Genovese. Sure enough, in 1951 the Mangano brothers went missing and were declared dead. Phillip's body was eventually found with three bullet holes in the back of his head, and Vincent was never found at all. As he had counted on, Albert was made boss of the family.

Anastasia was not as helpful to Costello as he could have been, however. He was one of the most feared men not only in the organized crime world but in the country due to his incredibly violent nature and his propensity for killing anyone he felt like, at any time and for any reason--or for no reason at all. He also affected the speech patterns of tough-guy actor James Cagney, which added to his fearsomeness. Costello also was beginning to be plagued with mental breakdowns, and soon began seeing a psychiatrist regularly. When Genovese heard about it he decided that Costello could no longer be trusted to keep the deep, dark secrets about the Mafia that he was privy to. Genovese then hired contract killer Vincent Gigante--who would later become boss of the Genovese family--to kill Costello. In the lobby of a New York City hotel in 1956, Frank Costello was shot in the head, but amazingly did not die. He did, however, retire soon afterward, although he did keep his hands in the "company business".

Over the years, after Anastasia's murder--shot to death while in a barber's chair--and Genovese's death, Costello became friends with FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and would fix horse races as a favor for his new "friend". As the years passed Costello's health declined and he died of a heart attack on his estate on Long Island, New York.

Frank Costello will forever remain one of the biggest Mafia legends in history.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Rzarector740 (qv's & corrections by A. Nonymous)

Trivia (3)

Mario Puzo modeled the character of Don Vito Corleone in his book "The Godfather" on New York mob bosses Frank Costello (January 21, 1891 - February 18, 1973), who was nicknamed the "Prime Minister of the Mob" for his deft handling of La Cosa Nostra, and Vito Genovese (November 27, 1897 - February 14, 1969), a brutal man who almost achieved his dream of making himself "capo di tutti capi" ("Boss of Bosses"). Much of the action of the book is based on actual events that occurred in the lives of Costello, Genovese and his accomplices. Costello would become one of the most powerful and influential mob bosses in history, and his appearance before the 1951 Kefauver Commission hearings into the mob, which were televised (but which only showed Costello's hands as he refused to have his face photographed), made him the most famous mobster of the 1950s.
Is portrayed by Carmine Caridi in Bugsy (1991).
In 1957 he started seeing a psychiatrist.

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