Paul Castellano was born on June 26, 1915 in New York City. His parents were recent immigrants from Sicily and he was the youngest of their three children. His father was a butcher, but also ran an illegal gambling operation, which Paul began helping out with after dropping out of school.
Paul quickly met others that were involved in crime and was soon committing more and more serious crimes. In 1934, he was arrested in an armed robbery and spent three months in prison. However, he did not reveal the names of his two friends that were also involved to the police, earning him a lot of honor and a reputation in the underworld.
Paul married Carlo Gambino's sister-in-law in 1937 and kept a low profile over the years, while being involved in a number of gambling and bootlegging operations.
In 1957, Paul was called to testify before a grand jury about his connections in organized crime. Paul didn't say a word and was sentenced to five years in prison for contempt of court. He only served seven months before being released and returned to New York to find that his reputation was even stronger.
Paul started a meat company called Blue Ribbon Meats, which started to do very well. Most of its success was due to mafia influence on competitors. He earned a lot of money through this semi-legitimate business and worked on other illegal operations on the side.
After the death of Carlo Gambino, Paul was made the boss of the Gambino Family. Despite being passed over, the previous under boss, Neil Dellacroce, was satisfied and did not want to break the peace in the family. Paul kept the family's profile very low and ran the operations from his mansion on Staten Island.
However, Paul's distance from the operations and the streets began to work against him. He started to lose respect among the family's soldiers and a faction led by John Gotti, who were already angry about Neil Dellacroce being passed over, began to make plans to remove Paul from power.
In 1985, Paul was indicted in the Commission Case after the government gathered evidence on the family from a wire tap in his home. Neil Dellacroce, who was the only thing holding back John Gotti's faction from Paul, died the same year, making Paul an easy target. After Paul neglected to attend Dellacroce's wake, Gotti was able to gain support of most of the Gambino Family and on December 16, 1985 Paul Castellano was gunned down outside of Sparcks Steak House.