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Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, USA  (heart attack)
Nickname Eliot Press

Mini Bio (1)

Eliot Ness was born in 1903 to Pete and Emma Ness. Pete was a baker. Eliot wrote the book "The Untouchables", but died just before it was published.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jack <JackMcGurn@aol.com

Spouse (3)

Betty Anderson Seaver (January 1946 - 16 May 1957) ( his death) ( 1 child)
Evaline McAndrew (October 1939 - 1944) ( divorced)
Edna Staley (? - 1938) ( divorced)

Trivia (18)

Although one of his responsibilities as a U.S. Treasury agent was the enforcement of the Volsted Act--which prohibited the manufacturing and consumption of alcohol--Ness himself was a severe alcoholic.
He had one child, which he adopted.
He was the Director of the Division of Social Protection of the Federal Security Agency in Washington, DC, when one night in 1942 he and his second wife Evaline went out partying; they were involved in an auto accident, and instead of staying at the scene Ness fled and later tried to cover up his involvement in it. The resulting bad publicity forced him to resign his position. He moved to Canton, Ohio. Evaline left him and moved to New York, and he eventually divorced her.
The youngest of five children born to Norwegian immigrants.
Ran as an independent candidate for mayor of Cleveland, Ohio in 1947.
Knew jujitsu, and practiced this skill three times a week.
Learned to shoot from his brother-in-law, and soon became a skilled marksman.
Buried at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.
As a US Treasury agent he was charged with the task of bringing notorious Chicago crime boss Al Capone to justice in 1929. To that end he assembled a select team of nine agents nicknamed "The Untouchables", famous for the reputation that--unlike many law enforcement officers of the era--they could not be bought off or scared off. Contrary to popular belief, however, they were not directly involved in bringing up Capone on the income-tax evasion charges that finally sent him to prison. However, their war against Capone did cause a great deal of damage to his organization, and they had built up a formidable case against Capone involving various violations of the Volsted Act (Prohibiton), which were held in abeyance in the event that Capone managed to beat the tax evasion charges. He didn't.
Not long after his stint as the leader of The Untouchables, Ness was appointed Public Safety Director in Cleveland, Ohio. There he helped to clean up the city's notoriously corrupt police department, improved traffic safety and led the hunt for the first confirmed serial killer in American history.
Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 443-444. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
After the end of Prohibition, he attempted to transfer into the FBI. His application for transfer was denied by none other than J. Edgar Hoover himself who felt that Ness was "too famous", according to historians.
Ironically, the Prohibition Agent who enforced the laws against alcohol, died an alcoholic.
Initially, Ness and The Untouchables were not given credit for helping to bring down Al Capone. It wasn't until 1932, when Capone had exhausted all of his appeals on the Tax conviction, that the public learned about Ness. After Capone was officially sent away, Special Prosecutor George E. Q. Johnson gave an interview for the radio, newsreels, and papers mentioning those involved. He mentioned Ness's "special squad" of incorruptible agents. The media picked up on the story and it was several newspapers, most prominently in Cleveland and Baltimore, who coined the moniker "The Untouchables". It was from that point that Ness gained notoriety.
According to his family, Kevin Costner's portrayal of him as a good man with deep convictions about justice was much closer to his real life personality that Robert Stack's portrayal of him as a steel eyed, no nonsense, almost vigilante tough guy.
Although the youngest of five siblings, he was born when his older siblings were almost grown-up. This led to him receiving an unusually large amount of attention and affection from his parents growing up. He later claimed that this helped shape his strong view on law and order, and his decision to enforce the law as a profession.
Parodied in the Bugs Bunny cartoon The Unmentionables (1963).
According to the documentary "The Untouchables: The Real Story" for the Smithsonian Channel, when Eliot Ness collaborated on the novel "The Untouchables" with writer Oscar Fraley, the body of the book, which was used as the basis for the 1950's and 1990's TV series and the 1987 film, was mostly a fictionalized account created by Fraley. For years, Eliot Ness was actually reluctant to sell his life story to the media because he didn't want to appear as though he was a glory hound. However, after meeting Fraley, he gave in. Ness wrote a 21 page outline which he gave to Fraley to use as the basis for the book. Fraley then expanded in into a 200-plus page novel which he filled in Ness's details by pulling info from other lawmen involved in the case to get Al Capone. Ness never actually read the final draft that was submitted to the publisher and did not get to see the false stories Fraley inserted into the book. According to the historians who examined Ness's original draft, he never claimed to be "the man who got Capone". Ness did credit others, including IRS Investigator Frank J. Wilson, with ultimately putting Capone behind bars.

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