Alphonse Gabriel Capone, sometimes known by the nickname “Scarface”, was an American gangster and businessman who attained notoriety during the Prohibition era as the co-founder and boss of the Chicago Outfit. Take a look below for 30 more interesting and scary facts about Al Capone.
1. His seven year reign as crime boss ended when he was 33 years old.
2. Capone was born in New York City, to Italian immigrants.
3. He was a Five Points Gang member who became a bouncer in organized crime premises such as brothels.
4. In his early twenties, he moved to Chicago and became a bodyguard and trusted factotum for Johnny Torrio, head of a criminal syndicate that illegally supplied alcohol, the forerunner of the Outfit, and was politically protected through the Unione Siciliana.
5. A conflict with the North Side Gang was instrumental in Capone’s rise and fall.
6. Torrio went into retirement after North Side gunmen almost killed him, handing control to Capone.
7. Capone expanded the bootlegging business through increasingly violent means, but his mutually profitable relationships with mayor William Hale Thompson and the city’s police meant he seemed safe from law enforcement.
8. Capone apparently reveled in attention, such as the cheers from spectators when he appeared at ball games.
9. He made donations to various charities and was viewed by many as “modern-day Robin Hood.”
10. The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre, in which seven gang rivals were murdered in broad daylight, damaged Chicago’s and Capone’s image, leading influential citizens to demand government action and newspapers to dub Capone “Public Enemy No. 1.”
11. The federal authorities became intent on jailing Capone and prosecuted him in 1931 for tax evasion.
12. During a highly publicized case, the judge admitted as evidence Capone’s admissions of his income and unpaid taxes during prior negotiations to pay the government taxes he owed.
13. He was convicted and sentenced to 11 years in federal prison.
14. After conviction, he replaced his defense team with experts in tax law, and his grounds for appeal were strengthened by a Supreme Court ruling, but his appeal ultimately failed.
15. Capone showed signs of syphilitic dementia early in his sentence and became increasingly debilitated before being released after eight years of incarceration.
16. On January 25, 1947, Capone died of cardiac arrest after suffering a stroke.
17. His Chicago gang pulled in as much as $100 million annually through illegal bootlegging, prostitution, gambling and racketeering.
18. Capone’s bullet-proof Cadillac was eventually seized by the government and would later be used by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
19. The scars on his face came from a knife fight. While living in Brooklyn, Capone hit on a woman in a bar and angered her brother, who tried to stab him in the neck.
20. Capone’s attacker claimed that he was aiming for his neck but missed and slashed his cheek because he was drunk.
21. The scars were a source of embarrassment for Capone. He would say that they were from a military injury in France, despite having never served.
22. During the Great Depression, Capone ran a soup kitchen, feeding hundreds of hungry people who were out of work at the time.
23. Capone would order expensive floral arrangements to be sent to the funerals of men that he had killed.
24. Business leaders in Chicago were the first to make a public outcry for Capone’s gang to be arrested. Few civilians were killed in the violence, but shootings on Michigan Avenue were harming the city’s business.
25. Because Capone wasn’t a troublemaker at his Atlanta prison, he was likely sent to Alcatraz by the Feds in order to generate publicity for the new prison.
26. He had enemies in prison and during his time at Alcatraz was wounded when another inmate, James Lucas, attacked him with scissors in the shower.
27. During his time in Alcatraz, one of his most enjoyable pastimes was playing banjo and guitar in a prison band called The Rock Islanders.
28. The key to getting a harsh sentence at the trial was a jury hand-picked by the judge. Because most men drank, it was difficult to find a jury willing to convict a bootlegger.
29. Capone kidnapped popular jazz musician Fats Waller at gunpoint and ordered him to perform for his birthday part in 1926.
30. While Capone was one of the main bootleggers, his brother, James Vincenzo Capone, worked on the right side of the law as a federal Prohibition agent in Nebraska.