Best Known For
Tony Spilotro is best known as a mob representative in Las Vegas from the 1970s to the '80s. He was brutally beaten and murdered by mob members in 1986.
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Tony Spilotro grew up in an Italian neighborhood on the west side of Chicago and got involved in Chicago's most powerful organized crime family, known as the "Outfit."
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Tony Spilotro was born on May 19, 1938, in Chicago, Illinois. His parents ran a restaurant that became a hangout for local mobsters. Tony became a "made" man in 1963 and would be sent to act as the mob representative in Las Vegas in 1971. His continued involvement in criminal activity would lead to him being blacklisted from casinos, making it difficult to enforce his position. Spilotro was brutally beaten and murdered by mob members on June 23,
Born Anthony John Spilotro on May 19, 1938, in Chicago, Illinois, Tony Spilotro was one of six children. His parents, Pasquale and Antoinette Spilotro, were Italian immigrants who ran an Italian eatery, Patsy's Restaurant. It was through his family's business that young Anthony first became acquainted with organized crime; Patsy's was a regular mobster hangout, and meetings between "made" men were frequently held in the restaurant's parking lot.
Spilotro and his four brothers -- Victor, John, Vincent and Michael -- often engaged in criminal activities together, including shoplifting and purse-snatching. Spilotro became a bully at an early age: He dropped out of Steinmetz High School in his sophomore year, and spent most of his time engaging in petty crime. At the age of 16, he earned his first arrest for attempting to steal a shirt. He was fined $10 and placed on probation.
The arrest did nothing to curb Spilotro's criminal activities. Over the next five years, he was arrested at least a dozen more times. But small time criminal activity was no longer enough for Spilotro. He soon had his eye on Chicago's biggest criminal outfit: the La Cosa Nostra crime family.
By 1962, Spilotro had befriended several influential members of the Chicago underworld including Vincent "the Saint" Inserro, Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo and mob boss Joseph "Joey Doves" Aiuppa. Spilotro joined Sam "Mad Sam" DeStefano's crew that same year. Sam was considered too unpredictable and undisciplined to ever be considered for real leadership, but his sadistic nature was highly sought after by his bosses as a way to spread fear and terror.
Through DeStefano's guidance, Spilotro finally earned a contract to murder Billy McCarthy and Jimmy Miraglia, two 24-year-old burglars known as The M&M Boys. During their interrogation, Spilotro tortured the two men, allegedly squeezing McCartney's head in a vice until the man's eye popped out of its socket. The corpses of the two men were found by authorities in the trunk of a car on Chicago's South side later that year.
The vicious killings won Spilotro a good reputation with area mobsters, and earned him the status as a "made" in 1963. His new title also scored him a job controlling bookmaking territory on the northwest side of Chicago. But Spilotro's standing also caught the attention of local law enforcement as well as the media, who began referring to Spilotro as "The Ant," in reference to his 5-foot-2-inch stature.
Spilotro became a marked man, and federal law enforcement worked hard to put him behind bars.
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Bootleggers, smugglers, drug dealers, hit men—all these occupations are the provenance of mobsters, who operate in ethnic, family and business networks. Mobsters' real life crimes, and Hollywood's fascination with them, has earned them a special place in the American imagination. From Al Capone's Chicago crime ring to Bugsy Siegel's Las Vegas racket, these mobsters have made their names notorious from coast to coast.
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