I have always found the lives of old-time gangsters interesting because they have been portrayed in Old Hollywood movies and their biographies are simply amazing. One such well-known organized crime figure was a man named Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel who had the misfortune to be shot to death at the home of his mistress Virginia Hill in Beverly Hills, California. The poor guy had no chance at all. While he was talking to his associate Allen Smiley three bullets aimed through the window came right at him and right into his head killing him right on the spot. That’s one way to go because you don’t even know what hit you.
Siegel’s childhood was unlike other boys who find themselves living in poverty. Growing up in Brooklyn, New York with little money he quickly became a teenage thug. Together with his best pal, they terrorized local peddlers and soon began collecting protection money. It was one way to get into some kind of illegal business and they were bootlegging and gambling all over New York City.
When the 1930s rolled around Siegel had become a major player in a highly powerful crime syndicate. The syndicate gave him half a million dollars to set up a Los Angeles franchise. Before you know it Siegel had started acquainting himself the best of Hollywood like Cary Grant, Clark Gable, and Jean Harlow. Soon he was throwing all-night parties at his Beverly Hills mansion and it became the place to be. When he wasn’t partying he was running a solid gambling and narcotics operation. Before WW II exploded on the scene Siegel went to Italy to sell explosives to Mussolini however the deal never went through because the explosives failed the test.
Then in 1954, Siegel came up with a most brilliant idea when he saw the sleepy desert town of Las Vegas, Nevada. It was at this time that seeing potential he built the Flamingo Hotel right in the middle of the desert. Unfortunately, he used a huge amount of New York syndicate money. When The Flamingo proved not to be profitable Siegel got into an argument with Lucky Luciano who wanted the money paid back.
So it is no wonder that Siegel had to go. During the same time that he was being shot in Beverly Hills Luciano’s men walked into The Flamingo and made the announcement that they were taking over. So bad-boy Bugsy became just another story.