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Meyer Lansky Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (18) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (5)

Born in Grodno, Poland, Russian Empire [now Hrodna, Belarus]
Died in New York City, New York, USA  (lung cancer)
Birth NameMaier Suchowljansky
Nickname The Mob's Accountant
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Polish-born Meyer Lansky emigrated to New York with his family and grew up in the Lower East Side. It was there that he ran into Bugsy Siegel, at the time a teenaged neighborhood gangster, and the two would remain lifelong friends. When Lansky saw the kinds of money Siegel was making from his various illegal activities--mainly gambling--he decided that this was the line of work for him. His specialty was the floating crap game, and he was so successful at that and other gambling schemes that he and Siegel soon controlled a large gang that was known as the Bugs and Meyer Mob. The gang's size, and Lansky's business acumen, attracted the attention of another local gangster, Lucky Luciano, who approached Lansky and invited him to participate in his idea of forming a national criminal syndicate. The Prohibition Era was a goldmine for Lansky and other gangsters, and he, Siegel and Luciano became incredibly wealthy from bootlegging, prostitution, drug smuggling, gambling and other rackets. In the 1930s Luciano's dream of a national crime commission became a reality, and Lansky was appointed to a seat on its board of directors. Lansky's specialty was financial matters and he proved to be a genius at laundering the mob's illegal profits and squeezing every last penny from its legal and illegal investments. When his friend Luciano was sent to prison, Lansky managed to get him an early release by ensuring his cooperation with the U.S. government in its preparation for the invasion of Sicily. After Luciano was deported to Italy, Lansky took over the management of his empire. Friendship only went so far in the mob, however. His good friend Siegel got into trouble by wasting millions of dollars of "wiseguy" money building Las Vegas, and when the decision was made to have him killed, Lansky went along with it.

In the 1950s Lansky formed a friendship with Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, and the mob was given basically a blank check to run all the rackets in Cuba, especially the gambling casinos, prostitution and drug smuggling, with a large cut of the profits going to Batista. From Cuba Lansky spread his gambling and prostitution rackets to other South American countries, and even had a hand--although not a public one--in the casinos in Hong Kong and Macao. Lansky's fortunes began to wane, however, in the late 1960s when the U.S. government went after him for income tax evasion. He fled to Israel, and claimed citizenship there as a returning Jew. However, after legal wrangling with the Israeli government, Lansky's visa was revoked and he was deported back to the U.S. He stood trial, but managed to avoid conviction, reportedly because of his extensive political connections. He settled into a comfortable life in Miami, Florida, where he died of a heart attack in 1983.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: frankfob2@yahoo.com

Trivia (18)

Born in Poland of Jewish parents. Childhood friend of Lucky Luciano.
Much as the character Moe Greene in The Godfather (1972) was based on Lansky's associate Bugsy Siegel, the character of Hyman Roth from The Godfather: Part II (1974) was based on Lansky.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume One, 1981-1985, pages 486-488. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
Is portrayed by Ben Kingsley in Bugsy (1991).
For decades, he was considered one of the most powerful men in the United States.
After Al Capone was indicted for Tax fraud, Lansky moved much of his earnings to offshore accounts in Switzerland.
He and Siegel formed the Bugs and Meyer Mob in their teens and developed a reputation as one of the most violent gangs in New York.
Along with Bugsy Siegel, he was instrumental in forming the National Crime Syndicate.
Became friends with Bugsy Siegel in his teenage years.
He was so elusive that the FBI gave up monitoring him in the mid 1970's.
The character of Hyman Roth in "The Godfather" was based on him.
Attempted to flee to Israel in 1970 to avoid charges of tax evasion but was refused entry.
Is portrayed by Richard Dreyfuss in Lansky (1999).
His net worth was twenty million dollars in the fifties but only ten thousand at the time of his death, a fact which shocked his family and which Lansky attributed to his time in Cuba.
During World War II, Lansky was instrumental in helping the Office of Naval Intelligence's Operation Underworld, in which the government recruited criminals to watch out for German infiltrators and submarine-borne saboteurs.
He claimed that he lost most of his money in his operations in Cuba and was barely scraping by in the years after.
He was portrayed by Anatol Yusef in Boardwalk Empire (2010-2014).
He and his gang frequently broke up Nazi rallies that supported Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich.

Personal Quotes (2)

All pro sports, as well as the NCAA, should thank God every day we have sports betting here... We have the only agency in the world that regulates the honesty of games.
Don't worry, don't worry. Look at the Astors and the Vanderbilts, all those big society people. They were the worst thieves - and now look at them. It's just a matter of time.

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