Articles/Biographies/Criminals/Lucchese, Gaetano "Tommy"

Gaetano was born in the town of Palermo in Sicily in the year of 1899. Following dreams of a better life, he moved to America at the young age of eleven.

Gaetano was excellent at making friends with everyone and was quickly able to make contact with the New York underworld. At last he joined his first family, that of Gaetano Reina. He started becoming involved in underground businesses and scams and showing how much of an asset he was to the family.

At the age of 19 he lost his index finger in an accident at a machine shop. This obviously did nothing to deter him from reaching for power. He was arrested for stealing a car in 1923 and sentenced to three years of prison. However, good behavior brought him parole after a mere thirteen months, the longest time Lucchese ever served in prison.

In 1930, he was made an under boss of Gaetano Reina, but this did not last long since Reina was murdered in March of 1930. Despite this, he retained his rank when the Reina family was absorbed by the family of of Gaetano Gagliano.

Lucchese managed to open many legitimate businesses, becoming a force to be reckoned with in the garment industry. This allowed him to become good friends with powerful legitimate figures, such as politicians and judges. Despite his cool exterior, Lucchese had a lust for violence, believed to have been involved in at least 30 murders.

In 1953, Gagliano died of natural causes and Lucchese was now the boss. At the age of 54, Lucchese was at the peak of his power, having a strong family and many friends in high places. Even the police commissioner of New York at the time, Thomas Murphy, was very good friends with Lucchese.

Among the family's businesses were union control, heroin, hijacking, running numbers, gambling, and loan sharking. There were several high profile lawsuits that the family was involved in, particularly involving their heroin trade.

At the end of the 1960s, Lucchese found himself with a cancer in the brain. Despite surgery to remove the tumor in 1967, he died on July 13th of the same year. His funeral was attended by well over a thousand people, both legitimate and underworld.