Showing posts with label Hot Springs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hot Springs. Show all posts

24 April 2020

Owney Madden dies at Hot Springs, Arkansas

On this date in 1965...

NY Daily News.
Owen "Owney" Madden, once a gangland power in New York City, died of lung disease in Hot Springs, Arkansas, in the early morning of Saturday, April 24, 1965.

Madden, seventy-three, had been admitted to the hospital, suffering with chronic emphysema. He passed away at ten minutes after midnight on the twenty-fourth.

As the New York press announced his death, it referred to Madden (known in some circles as "Killer") as a former Prohibition Era beer baron and an ex-gangster with a reputation for murder. But it became clear that Madden had become something more in Hot Springs.

His funeral on the twenty-seventh was well attended by local dignitaries, including Mayor Dan Wolf, Police Chief John Ermey, State Senator Q. Byrum Hurst and former Prosecutor Walter Hebert. Hurst delivered a eulogy. Wolf, Ermey, Hebert and several local police detectives served as honorary pallbearers. Following services at the Gross Mortuary Chapel, Madden was buried at Greenwood Cemetery about a mile from his longtime home.

One press report of the funeral stated, "In his later years, Madden was known more for his gifts to charity than for his earlier gang war years. He lived a quiet life in this resort city."

Early life


Madden was born to Irish parents in Leeds, County of West Yorkshire in northern England, late in 1891. He reportedly spent his early childhood in Wigan, a town outside Manchester, and coastal Liverpool. His father worked in textile mills.

The family broke apart for a time around his father's death. The 1901 England Census shows Owen and his older brother Martin as "inmates" of a Leeds home overseen by matron Annie Farkin. The home hosted a total of ten inmates at that moment, six girls and four boys.

It appears that Owen's mother, Mary O'Neill Madden, went ahead to the United States during this period and moved in with her sister Elizabeth on Manhattan's West Side. Owen, Martin and a younger sister, Maria, crossed the Atlantic aboard the S.S. Teutonic in June 1902 to join her. The family settled at 352 Tenth Avenue.

Madden (center) with the Gophers.

Madden and his brother almost immediately got in trouble with the law. In spring 1903, Martin Madden was labeled "incorrigible" and sent off to a Roman Catholic protectory for a term of a year and eight months. He would be in and out of penal institutions for years. Owen advanced within a network of street gangs along the Hudson River docks. He eventually became the recognized leader of the Gophers Gang.

Madden was involved in a number of shootings, both as gunman and as victim. Within a five-month period from late 1911 to early 1912, Madden was believed responsible for two fatal shootings. The victims were Luigi Molinari and William Henshaw. Over time, the list of suspected Madden victims grew to six men. Later in 1912, Madden was nearly killed when Hudson Dusters gangsters surrounded him at a dance hall and opened fire. He eventually recovered from multiple gunshot wounds.

Prison, Prohibition, Renaissance


The November 1914 killing of William "Patsy Doyle" Moore resulted in a May-June 1915 murder trial for Madden. The jury refused to convict on the charge of first-degree murder that would have sent Madden to the electric chair and instead convicted him of manslaughter. Judge Nott sentenced the twenty-three-year-old Madden to ten to twenty years in prison.

In the months after the conviction, several prosecution witnesses against Madden changed their stories and supported Madden's appeal for a new trial. Judge Nott would not budge.

Madden did time at Sing Sing and Auburn State Prison. After seven years, he was paroled early in 1923. He emerged a Manhattan gangland legend in the period of Prohibition and the Harlem Renaissance. Madden reportedly capitalized on both by engaging in bootlegging rackets, including a massive beer brewery, and investing in night clubs like Lenox Avenue's Cotton Club. These ventures made him fabulously wealthy and brought him into business relationships with such crime figures as "Big Frenchy" DeMange, Salvatore "Lucky Luciano" Lucania, Frank Costello, Dutch Schultz, Legs Diamond and Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll.

While amassing a personal fortune, he was generous with the community: "His benefactions have been many and timely. For three winters hundreds were fed daily through the Cotton Club, where many families were given Christmas baskets. Out of his pocket he has paid the rent for families threatened with eviction. At no time has he refused to aid a worthy cause."

Back to prison, off to Hot Springs


Madden in 1961
He was returned to Sing Sing for parole violations in the summer of 1932. He was released after one year, during Prohibition's final days. Apparently sensing the changing situation in New York City, Madden soon relocated to Hot Springs and made that resort city his home for the rest of his life. He was noted back in New York only a couple of times - in 1940, when he attended a prizefight at Madison Square Garden (and local authorities insisted he leave New York), and in 1947, when he went to the funeral of his mother.

Late in 1935, he married Agnes (perhaps Florence) Demby, daughter of a former local postmaster. Though Madden reportedly involved himself in city gambling ventures, such enterprises were generally ignored by law enforcement.

By the mid-1940s, he had attained a measure of respectability, at least within the Hot Springs community. He was naturalized a citizen of the U.S. and made 506 West Grand Avenue - neighboring the residence of local Police Chief John Ermey - his home.

In 1961, Madden was called before a Senate committee investigating illegal gambling. He repeatedly declined to answer senators' questions. The questions focused on allegations that he controlled a Hot Springs service supplying gambling facilities with horserace results obtained from a New Orleans based provider.


Sources:
  • Arkansas County Marriages Index, Ancestry.com.
  • "Arrested as Gopher feud murderer," New York Sun, Sept. 10, 1911, p. 5.
  • "Beer king Owney Madden dies," New York Daily News, April 24, 1965, p. 3.
  • Births registered in January, February, and March 1892, England Civil Registration Birth Index, p. 332, Ancestry.com.
  • "Brother of gangster Owney Madden faces deportation as undesirable criminal alien," New York Times, Sept. 10, 1953, p. 13.
  • "Chase for a slayer," New York Times, Feb. 13, 1912, p. 1.
  • "Dry padlocks snapped on nine wet doors; 'Owney' Madden's 'Club' is one of them," New York Times, June 23, 1925, p. 23.
  • England Census of 1901, Yorkshire County, Leeds, orth Leeds, District 35.
  • Gambling and Organized Crime, Hearings before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations, Part 2, U.S. Senate, 87th Congress, 1st Session, August 28-31, 1961, p. 557-561, 566-567, 570-572.
  • "Gangsters seek writs to gain their freedom," New York Evening World, Dec. 14, 1914, p. 4.
  • "Girl says she lied when told to do so at murder trial," New York Evening World, Oct. 7, 1915, p. 2.
  • "Girls arrested for perjury in murder case," Brooklyn Standard Union, Nov. 4, 1915, p. 10.
  • "Girls held in Madden case," New York Tribune, Nov. 9, 1915, p. 6.
  • "Girls in Owney Madden case indicted," New York Evening World, Nov. 8, 1915, p. 3.
  • "Given Owen Madden a chance," New York Age, Aug. 13, 1932, p. 4.
  • "Gun man, in feud, is shot at dance," New York Herald, Nov. 7, 1912, p. 15.
  • "Held on charge of murder," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb. 13, 1912, p. 3.
  • Levins, Peter, "Justice versus Owney Madden," New York Sunday News, Nov. 6, 1932, p. 52.
  • "Madden convicted of manslaughter," New York Sun, June 3, 1915, p. 14.
  • "Madden gets limit for gang murder," New York Press, June 9, 1915, p. 14.
  • "Madden gets ten to twenty years," New York Tribune, June 9, 1915, p. 16.
  • "Madden on trial as promoter of murder," New York Sun, May 25, 1915, p. 11.
  • New York City Extracted Death Index, certificate no. 33926, Nov. 28, 1914.
  • New York State Census for 1905, New York County, Assembly District 11, Election District 2.
  • New York State Census of 1915, Westchester County, Town of Ossining, Assembly District 3, Election District 1, Sing Sing Prison.
  • "Owney Madden, found guilty in gang killing, escapes chair by manslaughter verdict," New York Tribune, June 3, 1915, p. 14.
  • "Owen Madden final rites held at spa," El Dorado AR Times, April 27, 1965, p. 13.
  • "Owney Madden goes on trial for murder," New York Evening World, May 24, 1915, p. 3.
  • "Owen Madden sentenced," New York Sun, June 9, 1915, p. 7.
  • Owen Madden World War I Draft Registration Card, No. 606, Sing Sing Prison, Westchester County, New York, June 5, 1917.
  • "Owen V. Madden," Sing Sing Prison Receiving Blotter, no. 66164, received June 16, 1915.
  • "Owen Vincent Madden (1891-1965)," The Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture, Central Arkansas Library System, encyclopediaofarkansas.net.
  • Owen Vincent Madden World War II draft registration card, serial no. U561.
  • "Oweny Madden, 'Killer' shot, sneers at sleuth," New York Sun, Nov. 7, 1912, p. 9.
  • "Owney Madden, 73, ex-gangster, dead," New York Times, April 24, 1965, p. 1.
  • "Owney Madden's girl witnesses held for perjury," New York Evening World, Nov. 4, 1915, p. 8.
  • "Owney travels to his reward as a real gent," New York Daily News, April 28, 1965, p. 15.
  • "Owney: From bullets to tranquility," New York Daily News, April 25, 1965, p. 10.
  • Passenger manifest of S.S. Teutonic, departed Liverpool, England, on June 4, 1902, arrived New York City on June 12, 1902.
  • Polk's Hot Springs City Directory 1949, St Louis: R.L. Polk & Co., 1950, p. 184.
  • "Prisoner says Gopher leader shot himself," New York Evening World, Nov. 7, 1912, p. 2.
  • Schedule B, Passenger list of S.S. Teutonic, departed Liverpool, England, on June 4, 1902, bound for New York City.
  • "Shot dead by five men," New York Times, Nov. 29, 1914, p. 13.
  • "Shot dead in row over armies of war," Brooklyn Standard Union, Nov. 29, 1914, p. 1.
  • Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 432-62-2509, Ancestry.com.
  • "Takes back testimony against Owen Madden," New York Sun, Oct. 19, 1915, p. 5.
  • Turner, Wallace, "Hot Springs: gamblers' haven," New York Times, March 8, 1964, p. 1.
  • United States Census of 1910, New York State, New York County, Ward 20, Enumeration District 1219.
  • United States Census of 1920, Westchester County, Town of Ossining, Enumeration District 159, Sing Sing Prison.
  • United States Census of 1940, Arkansas, Garland County, Hot Springs, Ward 1, Enumeration District 26-11.
  • Waggoner, Walter H., "Herman stark dies; owned Cotton Club from 1929 to 1940," New York Times, July 9, 1981.

24 January 2019

Torrio surrenders Chicago rackets after ambush

On this date in 1925...


Chicago rackets boss Johnny Torrio, at liberty before beginning a nine-month sentence for Prohibition violations, was shot and seriously wounded in front of his home on the afternoon of January 24, 1925.

The attack did not result in Torrio's death but it did effectively remove him from the Chicago underworld. Following weeks in the hospital and months in Lake County Jail in Waukegan, Illinois, Torrio sold his interests in bootlegging businesses and left Chicago. His top lieutenant, Alphonse Capone, took over Torrio's gang and built the Chicago Outfit.

Bullet holes in the Lincoln auto used by the Torrios.

A portion of the Chicago Daily Tribune account of the attack on Torrio follows:

John Torrio, czar of bootlegging and vice in Chicago, was shot five times yesterday in front of his home, 7011 Clyde avenue. He is expected to recover.
The assailants escaped. The police and the underworld are convinced they are gangsters loyal to the memory of Dean O'Banion, the beer runner who was murdered in his flower shop two months ago. O'Banion had challenged Torrio's control of beer running and was killed by Torrio's men, police are certain.
Torrio attended O'Banion's wake. His presence was interpreted by the underworld as a warning to any who challenged him that they might expect to sleep in silver-bronze caskets surrounded by thousands of dollars worth of flowers.
But Torrio's enemies were not cowed. A week ago they tried to assassinate his first lieutenant, Al Capone.
That attempt failed. Yesterday three of them lay in wait for half an hour opposite the Torrio home, waiting for Torrio to return. At 4:30 o'clock Torrio and his wife, Anna, drove up in a heavy sedan. While one of the gunmen remained at the wheel, the other two jumped out and shot Torrio, who tried to escape by running into the apartment building. The attackers leaped back into their machine and fled.
["Torrio is shot; police hunt for O'Banion men," Chicago Sunday Tribune, Jan. 25, 1925, p. 5.]

Mrs. Anna Torrio
The newspaper noted that Torrio left the country for a time following O'Banion's wake. It said that he and his wife traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas, before embarking for Havana, Cuba, and then reentered the U.S. at St. Petersburg, Florida, before returning to Chicago. The Tribune suggested that friends of O'Banion followed them every step of the way, waiting for an opportunity to avenge O'Banion's murder.

The trip outlined by the newspaper was not out of the ordinary for the Torrios, who frequently traveled inside and outside the U.S. (Their visit to Havana following O'Banion's death was documented by a passenger manifest of the S.S. Governor Cobb, the ship that brought them from Cuba to Florida on December 13, 1924.) But it is odd that Torrio was permitted to leave the country between his May 19, 1924, arrest on federal Prohibition charges and his January 17, 1925, sentencing.

Anna and John Torrio pulled up to their apartment building on January 24 in a chauffeured Lincoln automobile borrowed from a friend. Anna stepped out of the car and walked to the apartment steps, while John gathered a bunch of packages from the vehicle. Two gunmen - one carrying a shotgun and the other a handgun - climbed out of a gray Cadillac around the corner, approached Torrio and opened fire. Torrio made a dash for the building but fell to the sidewalk. The gunmen escaped in their Cadillac.

The chauffeur of the Lincoln, wounded in the knee by a bullet, drove off as the first shots were fired. He was later found and questioned by police. He refused to discuss the shooting.

John Torrio
Torrio, wounded in the chest, arm and jaw, was treated at Jackson Park Hospital. He also refused to provide any information to investigators. According to the Tribune, he told Assistant State's Attorney John Sbarbaro, "I know who they are. It's my business. I'll tell you later." The paper reported that Alphonse Capone was in tears when he rushed to his boss's hospital bed. After Capone made arrangements for Torrio's care and safety, he was taken in for questioning.

As a result of the shooting, federal authorities postponed for thirty days Torrio's scheduled January 28, 1925, entry into DuPage County Jail in Wheaton. Just two weeks later, however, Torrio said he was sufficiently healed to begin his sentence. He requested that he be allowed to serve his time at Waukegan in Lake County, which would be better able to treat any health complications. Federal officials found the request suspicious but granted it.

Allowing for a sentence reduction of forty-five days for good behavior, Torrio's sentence expired near the end of September. His release was held up when some accused the Lake County sheriff of providing Torrio with illegal privileges during his incarceration. It was said that Torrio had his own comfortable furniture placed in his cell, was permitted to possess a loaded automatic pistol for his defense and even repeatedly left the jail for nights out in the company of the sheriff.

Torrio remained in custody as hearings were conducted into the actions of the sheriff. He was released on a $5,000 bond on October 6, as federal Judge Adam C. Cliffe considered the evidence. Cliffe decided a few days later that there was insufficient proof of any wrongdoing. Torrio left Chicago almost immediately after the judge's decision.

John and Anna Torrio set out again that fall for Havana. They traveled with Alphonse Capone and his wife Mae. All four indicated that they lived in New York. They returned to the U.S. together through Key West, Florida, on November 14, 1925. Capone went back to Chicago as a newly appointed underworld boss.

The Torrios headed to an apartment on Shore Road in Brooklyn, where John Torrio continued his involvement in liquor-related rackets. In 1939, he was sentenced to two and a half years in federal prison for evading income taxes. Upon his release from Leavenworth, he worked in real estate. He reportedly died of a heart attack while in a Brooklyn barber's chair on April 16, 1957. He was seventy-five years old and had outlived his far more notorious protege Capone by nearly a decade.

Torrio's death went unnoticed by the media until more than two weeks later, when his will, leaving an estate estimated at $200,000 to his wife, was filed in Brooklyn.

Sources:

  • "Al Capone's mentor dies of heart attack," Bloomington IL Pantagraph, May 8, 1957, p. 1.
  • "Chicago police make big haul in war on beer," Freeport IL Journal-Standard, May 19, 1924, p. 1.
  • "Denies Torrio's plea," Chicago Sunday Tribune, Sept. 27, 1925, p. 2.
  • "Drop Torrio inquiry," Decatur IL Herald, Oct. 9, 1925, p. 1.
  • "Johnny Torrio gets 2 1/2 years," Brooklyn Eagle, April 12, 1939, p. 1.
  • "Johnny Torrio, ex-bootlegger who gave Capone start, dies," Richmond IN Palladium-Item, May 8, 1957, p. 9.
  • "Johnny Torrio, ex-public enemy 1, dies; made Al Capone boss of underworld," New York Times, May 8. 1957, p. 32.
  • "Johnny Torrio, once Capone's boss, is dead," Chicago Daily Tribune, May 8, 1957, p. 3: 11
  • "O'Bannion, arch gunman, killed," Decatur IL Daily Review, Nov. 11, 1924, p. 1.
  • "Pistol kept in cell," Cincinati Enquirer, Sept. 29, 1925, p. 3.
  • "Scarface Al Capone, ex-king of crime, dies," Brooklyn Eagle, Jan. 26, 1947, p. 1.
  • "Torrio and 2 aides admit tax frauds," New York Times, April 11, 1939, p. 1.
  • "Torrio free on bonds pending contempt edict," Chicago Daily Tribune, Oct. 7, 1925, p. 12.
  • "Torrio is shot; police hunt for O'Banion men," Chicago Daily Tribune, Jan. 25, 1925, p. 1.
  • "Torrio offers $10,000 if jail lark is proved," Chicago Daily Tribune, Sept. 18, 1925, p. 1.
  • "Torrio under heavy guard as he quits jail," DeKalb IL Daily Chronicle, Oct. 7, 1925, p. 1.
  • "Torrio's power in rum ring bared," New York Times, April 1, 1939.
  • "U.S. is wary of Torrio's request for jail tonight," Chicago Daily Tribune, Feb. 9, 1925, p. 3.
  • "Woman involved in Dion O'Bannion's murder in Chicago," Brooklyn Eagle, Nov. 11, 1924, p. 3.
  • Gordon, David, "Torrio admits guilt, halts tax evasion trial," Brooklyn Eagle, April 10, 1939, p. 1.
  • John Torrio World War II Draft Registration Card, serial no. U1962, Local Board no. 171, Brooklyn NY.
  • Passenger manifest of S.S. Cuba, arriving Key West, Florida, on Nov. 14, 1925.
  • Passenger manifest of S.S. Governor Cobb, departed Havana, Cuba, on Dec. 13, 1924, arrived Key West, FL, on Dec. 13, 1924.
  • Peterson, Virgil, "Inside the Crime Syndicate (No. 2)," Chicago Sunday Tribune Magazine, Oct. 14, 1956, p. 28.
  • Stelzer, Patricia Jacobs, Prohibition and Organized Crime: A Case Study, An Examination of the Life of John Torrio, master's degree thesis, Dayton OH: Wright State University, 1997, p. 7.

28 November 2016

Blonde Ambition - The Tale of Galina Orloff: Broadway Starlet, Gangster's Girlfriend - Part Three


Gay Olova, 1940.
This is the 3rd & final chapter...

Back to Part 2

As 1934 faded, the new year began with Gay Orlova completely enamored by Charles "Lucky" Luciano. She promptly dropped the stockbroker boy toy who funded her wardrobe and spending allowance, and as for the husband back home in New York - Edward Finn - well, he wasn't even an afterthought. The cigar-smoking showgirl/scarred-face gangster duo quickly became close, and Orlova basically moved into Lucky's luxurious Waldorf Astoria pad. Everything was looking good for both, but the party was about to end through a series of legal entanglements that would consume each of their lives.
"Carroll, a judge of female flesh
without equal, stated unequivocally Gay was the most beautiful
bimbo who ever worked for him.." -Lee Mortimer, 1959.

New York City had a new District Attorney, Thomas E. Dewey. He was a crusader (be it for righteous reasons or political gain - that's debatable) set on taking out the 'big fish' of Gotham's underworld.  Arthur 'Dutch Schultz' Flegenheimer was number one on that list. The Dutchman got whacked though (and many believe Luciano was very much behind the assassination) and therefore Dewey had to pick a new target.  Lucky Luciano fit the bill.  Charlie Lucky earned the Public Enemy No. 1 spot immediately after Schultz's death.  Investigators were very anxious to 'speak with' Lucky and Johnny Torrio (Al Capone's former mentor), but the two were conveniently 'resting' in Florida when the Dutchman got nixed.  Dewey went to work, and with the help of his staff, found a way to put a case together against Luciano - Prostitution.
 "The most dangerous and important racketeer in New York City if not in the country" - Thomas E. Dewey, characterizing Lucky Luciano, 1936
Upon hearing of Dewey's intention, Lucky fled to gangster-friendly Hot Springs Arkansas.  Gay Orlova spent a great deal of time with him there as well.  Still, Dewey diligently continued putting together a case against Luciano because sooner or later... he'd get the gang boss back to New York.   That moment of truth arrived in spring of 1936 when - after much legal back and forth battles - Luciano's luck ran out. Unlike how the government generally went after top mobsters, the DA's angle wasn't the tried and true Tax Evasion charge. Dewey had him extradited and charged with Compulsory Prostitution. He proclaimed Lucky the head of nationwide vice ring, and knew that of all vices... the sex trade would likely gain him no sympathy in court and the court of public opinion.

Orlova became the target of both prosecution and defense teams.  "I don't want her mixed up in this case," Lucky told his lawyers. When she was called into Dewey's office, the staff were both shocked and awed. Gay Orlova was adorned in diamonds, a fur coat, but most of all - spoke to the prosecution team as if they were the the shocking ones.  To Orlova, the expensive accoutrements were the norm, and she was not one to filter her thoughts. As for helping the DA, that wasn't going to happen. She continually spoke of Lucky with admiration, albeit a bit unorthodox in using the word 'sinister' as a compliment!

Lucky Luciano, 1936.
Luciano went to trial and was made an example of.  The judge sentenced him to a 30-50 year term! Meanwhile, Orlova began feeling paranoid.  Word spread that 'people' had been following her ever since Lucky was extradited to New York.  Plus, she still had to deal with her husband, whom she hoped would just divorce her. Simply put, a divorce wouldn't effect her citizenship.  Edward Finn had, by the time Lucky Luciano had become a household name from the sensational vice ring trial, become aware of his bride's love affair.  He was going to do something, but not divorce.
“Oh, I’m infatuated with Lucky. He’s so sinister.” - Gay Orlova, 1935.
1937 should have been a welcomed change, considering how tumultuous her life had been the previous year.  However, Orlova's worst was yet to come.  First, she outright told husband Finn to "get a divorce" as she boarded a ship to France. Her plan was to get some dancing gigs and photo shoots in Paris, a city she felt comfortable and safe in.  Finn, on the other hand, took a trip straight to the courthouse and requested an annulment.  Upon pleading his case, Judge Cohalan remarked, "Have we reached a point where we should dissolve marriages because a woman won't support a man?" The court's discontent took a backseat to further convincing testimony, and Edward Finn got the judgement.

Gay Orlova denied entrance to United States, 1937.
Back in Paris, the now-brunette Gay Orlova had no idea of what husband Edward had been up to. On August 11, she boarded the liner Normandie and sailed for New York (ironically, the Normandie was seized by the United States during WWII, and while being converted into a troop ship - caught fire. Suspicions of Nazi sabotage led to the government enlisting the help of the mob to protect New York's harbor, the imprisoned Lucky Luciano being a pivotal figure in the mix).  Upon arrival, authorities denied her entrance. Contrary to many news reports of the time, Orlova was not deported, but she did have to remain on the ship and sail back to France. Had Finn filed divorce, Orlova would have retained citizenship; annulment did exactly what it was designed to to - made it like she'd never been married, and no citizenship.
"He was lovely to me. I even gave up my broker friend just for him. Then I was with Lucky a lot in New York." - Gay Orlova, 1936.
Back in Paris she continued to model and dance.  Then, opted for wedding bells once more, this time with a French Count whom she'd allegedly met some years prior. Three weeks after the marriage Gay divorced the Count, yet the pair remained quite close, that is until WWII interfered. Late September 1939, the French nobleman was called to duty near the Maginot Line. Orlova, always persistent when she wanted something, journeyed the northern border of France. The two reunited, but military police were extremely suspect of the flamboyantly dressed woman hiding out in a deserted village. Both the Count and Orlova were taken into custody and interrogated for hours. The word 'spy' had been muttered, and Gay knew what happens to spies - firing squad.  Finally the truth of their former marriage (and of course who they both were) reached the officers; both were set free. Orlova told to return to Paris immediately, which she did.
Gay Orlova, 1940. Photo courtesy of Christopher Jones

“All those headlines about the reunion Gay Orlova planned with Lucky Luciano came as a complete surprise – not to say shock – to him. He hasn’t heard from her in many years.” - Dorothy Kilgallen, 1946.


Over the course of several more years, the American press would periodically 'check in' on Gay Orlova, or perhaps better stated - would publish brief and unflattering grapevine gossip. Lucky's sentence got commuted and he was exiled to Italy 1946. Upon such news, whispers a purported 'reunion' soon emerged. True or merely conjecture, such a meeting never transpired.  Sadly, the most disheartening rumors were often quite true. After the apparent dissolution of any further relations with the French Count, Orlova spent time in Spain, where she met and began an affair with Pedro Eyzaguirre, the Chilean Secretary of Legation. He wasn't the only man in her life, but certainly the one she envisioned a future with. Wishful thinking again, plans were not going to materialize as she'd hoped. Gay Orlova wanted marriage. Eyzaguirre, a married man, was unable, or unwilling to get a divorce. Some reports circulated that she was destitute, others that she was depressed.  The latter was unfortunately true. 

Walter Winchell's 'On Broadway' column, 1948.

In 1948, Galina Orloff, aka Gay Orlova, turned on the gas inside her Paris apartment.  Her death went largely unnoticed, save for a single brief, inconclusive and cold mention in Walter Winchell's syndicated column on February 28th. According to Patrick Modiano (novelist and 2014 Nobel winner in literature), in his memoir Pedigree (published in 2015) Orlova (who he stated had an affair with his father) carried out her suicide on February 12th, and was interred in Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois (the Russian Orthodox section of Cimetière de Liers).


That same year, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, found the love of his life while living in exile. Her name was Igea Lissoni, a former ballerina with whom he spent the better part of a decade with until her death (breast cancer) in 1958.  Lucky granted interviews to a number of American reporters who visited Naples. He was usually quite cryptic in responses to the questions regarding actual crimes and the subject of Gay Orlova. To the former, a jaded tongue lashed out at corrupt politics. To the latter, he never spoke in any detail, only addressing the time frame of their affair, and generally only mentioning how he spent a lot of money on material things and women.


www.ganglandlegends.com



Sources:
Cipollini, Christian, Lucky Luciano: Mysterious Tales of a Gangland Legend, Strategic Media Books, 2014, p. 57-69.
Donati, William, Lucky Luciano: The Rise and Fall of a Mob Boss, 
Modiano, Patrick, (translated by Mark Polizzotti), Pedigree: A Memoir, Yale University Press, 2015, p. 13.
Raines, Robert K, Hot Springs: From Capone to Costello, Arcadia Publishing, 2013, p. 56-57.
"Luciano's Ex-Sweetheart Escapes Death as a Spy," The Philadelphia Enquirer, October 24,1939, p. 2
"Another Lucky Escape for Unlucky Lucky's Girl," Albuquerque Journal, December 24, 1939, p. 15.
"Lucky's Dear Friend," The Morning Herald, April 24, 1936, p. 1.
Sell, Robert. “Another Lucky Escape for Unlucky Lucky’s Girl.”
Norman, Charles, "Prosecutor of New York Rackets Strings Bow for "Big Shots" Only," The Florence Times, August 10, 1936, p. 5.


Lait, Jack. “Broadway and Elsewhere: Opium, Politics, Love.” St. Joseph Gazette, 1949 2-September: 4.

Winchell, Walter, "Broadway," Albany Times Union, September 23, 1940, p. 4.
Winchell, Walter, "Broadway," St. Petersburg Times,  February 24, 1948, p. 32