7 Major Mafia Murders [Warning: Gruesome Photos]

1. Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel

Date: 1947

Murdered: Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel (born Benjamin Siegelbaum)

Siegel, in an effort to reinvent and legitimize himself, had moved to Las Vegas to oversee the construction of the Flamingo resort. He failed miserably at the job and then was murdered just months after the casino went nearly bankrupt. While reading the Los Angeles Times, Siegel was shot many times through a window by a .30 caliber military M1 Carbine. The crime is unsolved, but his failure in Las Vegas makes me suspicious. A memorial to Bugsy is still located in the Flamingo Hotel near the wedding chapel.

2. St. Valentine’s Day Massacre

Date: 1929

Murdered: Peter Gusenberg, Frank Gusenberg, Albert Kachellek, Adam Heyer, Reinhart Schwimmer, Albert Weinshank, John May

Committed for a number of reasons, (including trying to cripple the North Side Gang and in retaliation for Bugs Moran—leader of the North Side Gang—“muscling in” on Al Capone’ dog track in Chicago’s’ suburbs) the St Valentine’s Day Massacre was the worst mob-hit ever seen in the USA. It succeeded in impeding the North Side Gang, but also made life much more difficult for Capone. Bugs Moran escaped the hit because one of the look-outs mistook one of Moran’s men for Moran. Four men carried out the massacre, two dressed in trench coats, two in police uniforms. Some say that Moran fled when he saw the police entering the building, thus sparing his life.

3. “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn

Date: 1936

Murdered: “Machine Gun” Jack McGurn (born Vincenzo Antonio Gibaldi)

McGurn was gunned down, while bowling, by three men with machine guns. The identity of the hit men and motive is not known. However, two theories are widely accepted: 1) Revenge for McGurns’ supposed involvement in the Valentine’s Day massacre. 2) Silencing heavy drinker and braggart McGurn by the South Side gang. Curiously, a poem was found in his right hand and a nickel in his left. (McGurn had been known to press nickels into his victim’s hands)

4. Albert “The Mad Hatter” Anastasia

Date: 1957

Murdered: Albert “The Mad Hatter” Anastasia (born Umberto Anastasio)

The brutal and violent head of the Mangano/Gambino family mob was brought down while in his barber’s chair. His bodyguard had conveniently taken a walk when two masked gunmen burst into the shop and opened fire on Anastasia. They continued to shoot until he collapsed to the floor dead, and then shot him point blank in the back of the head. It is believed that Larry and Joe Gallo carried out the murder under a contract from Don Vito Genovese. Anastasia’s wife maintained his innocence of any mob involvement or violence and wanted him to be remembered as a loving and devoted, churchgoing, husband and father. Yeah, right.

5. Carmine “Cigar/Lilo” Galante

Date: 1979

Murdered: Carmine “Cigar/Lilo” Galante, Leonard Coppola, Guiseppe Turano

Galante was having lunch at Joe and Mary’s Restaurant when three men burst in and began to shoot. Cesare Bonventre, one of Galante’s mafia recruits, did nothing to stop the murder and left the restaurant calmly. “Cigar” had created the modern drug trafficking business and began keeping more and more drug money from his bosses. Galente had recently asked the Mafia’ s governing commission if he could retire. His request was granted but then it was learned that he had 30 “greenies” (new recruits from the old country) working for him. The Mafia commission is said to have met again and decided it was time for Galante to permanently retire. The legacy of drug trafficking and associated crime left Bushwick, Brooklyn in shambles for decades after his murder.

6. Paul “Big Paul” Castellano

Date: 1985

Murdered: Paul “Big Paul” Castellano (born Constantino Paul Castellano), Tommy Bilotti

Big Paul had become jealous of John Gotti’s drug dealing and threatened to kill anyone involved with narcotics. He had also acquired enemies when he did not attend the funeral of Aneillo “Neil” Dellacroce, one of his underbosses, and then named Tommy Bilotti, a body guard, as a new underboss despite Bilotti’s lack of skills for the job. Castellano and Bilottie were shot dead outside a steak house by order of John Gotti. The men had been lured there with the promise of having a talk with Gotti to “iron things out.”

7. Angelo "The Gentle Don" Bruno

Date: 1980

Murdered: Angelo “The Gentle Don” Bruno (born Angelo Annaloro)

Angelo Bruno was killed by a single gun shot blast in the back of his head while sitting in his car. He had developed many enemies by cashing in on the heroin market in Philadelphia while other families were barred from narcotic distribution. Antonio Caponigro (aka Tony Bananas) ordered the killing but was himself killed just a few weeks later in retaliation. Dollar bills were found stuffed in his mouth and (cover your eyes) anus—to symbolize greed. The Philadelphia Family went into decline after Bruno’s death.

15 Facts About Rushmore On Its 20th Anniversary

The Criterion Collection
The Criterion Collection

On December 11, 1998, Wes Anderson introduced the world to his unique brand of whimsical comedy with Rushmore. Though it wasn't his feature directorial debut—he had released Bottle Rocket, which he adapted from a short, in 1996—it was his first major Hollywood movie. And kicked off his still-ongoing collaborations with a stable of talented actors that includes Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. It was also the second film Anderson co-wrote with Owen Wilson.

To celebrate the quirky comedy's 20th anniversary, here are some things you might not know about Rushmore.

1. Rushmore Academy was the director's Alma Mater.

Wes Anderson sent location scouts across the United States and Canada to find the perfect high school to shoot the movie. He was having a tough time trying to find the school, until his mother sent him a picture of his old high school in Houston, Texas: St. John's School. Anderson thought it was the perfect location to make the movie.

2. Bill Murray wanted to make Rushmore for free.

Bill Murray in Rushmore (1998)
The Criterion Collection

Once Bill Murray read the screenplay, he wanted to be in the movie so badly that he considered appearing in it for free. Murray ended up working on Rushmore at scale with the Screen Actors Guild day rate minimum for smaller indie film projects. Anderson estimated that Murray made about $9000 for his work on the film.

3. Film critic Pauline Kael had a private screening.

Pauline Kael’s film criticism was a major influence on Anderson’s view of cinema. “Your thoughts and writing about the movies [have] been a very important source of inspiration for me and my movies, and I hope you don't regret that," he once wrote to her.

Kael retired from The New Yorker in 1991, so Anderson arranged for her to have a private screening of Rushmore before the film came out in 1998. He wrote about the screening in the introduction to the published version of the screenplay, and shared what Kael told him about the film: "I genuinely don't know what to make of this movie."

4. It was Jason Schwartzman’s first film role.

Casting directors searched throughout the United States, Canada, and England to find a young actor to play the lead role of Max Fischer. Australian actor Noah Taylor was the frontrunner for the part when, on the last day of casting in Los Angeles, Jason Schwartzman auditioned. He was wearing a prep school blazer with a Rushmore Academy patch that he made himself.

5. Owen Wilson's private school experiences inspired some of the movie's plot points.

As a sophomore at St. Mark High School in Dallas, Texas, Rushmore co-writer Owen Wilson was expelled for stealing his geometry teacher's textbook (the one that contained all the answers); he went to Thomas Jefferson High School to complete 10th grade. This was the inspiration for when Max is expelled from Rushmore Academy and is forced to attend Grover Cleveland High School.

Although Wilson doesn’t have a credited role in Rushmore, he does appear as Ms. Cross’s deceased husband, Edward Appleby, in a photo in Appleby’s childhood bedroom.

6. Wilson's Dad Inspired a Moment in the Movie.

Wilson’s father, Robert Wilson, was the inspiration for Herman Blume’s speech about privilege at the beginning of Rushmore.

7. Alexis Bledel was an extra in the film.


Getty Images

Before she starred as Rory Gilmore on Gilmore Girls, actress Alexis Bledel was an uncredited extra—she played a Grover Cleveland High School student—in Rushmore. You can see her in the background in various scenes, including dancing with the character Magnus Buchan (Stephen McCole) at the end of the film.

8. Both Anderson and Wilson's brothers had parts in the movie.

Owen and Luke Wilson’s older brother Andrew plays Rushmore Academy’s baseball coach, Coach Beck. He also appeared in Anderson’s directorial debut, Bottle Rocket, playing the bully John Mapplethorpe.

Eric Chase Anderson, Wes's brother, plays the architect who designs Max’s aquarium.

9. The Movie's Editor Made a Cameo.

Rushmore editor David Moritz plays the Dynamite Salesman; he sells Max the dynamite and explosives for his stage play Heaven and Hell at the end of the film.

10. Producers Made a Deal to get a Bentley.

Producers needed a Bentley for Murray's character, Herman Blume, but Rushmore’s production budget was only $20 million and they couldn’t afford to rent one. A Houston resident was willing to lend them his Bentley if they gave his daughter a role in the film. Producers agreed; the man's daughter plays an usher who seats Miss Cross at Max’s play at the end of the movie.

11. Mason Gamble's role in Dennis the Menace almost cost him the part of Dirk Calloway in Rushmore.

Mason Gamble in Rushmore (1998)
The Criterion Collection

Wilson referred to the character of Dirk Calloway, played by Mason Gamble, as the conscience of the film. Originally, Anderson didn’t want to cast Gamble in the part because of the actor’s previous—and very recognizable—role as Dennis Mitchell in the 1993 live-action movie Dennis the Menace.

12. Rushmore Upset Francis Ford Coppola.

Director Francis Ford Coppola owns a winery, and when he first saw Rushmore, he was upset with Anderson because he used Coppola’s chief Napa Valley wine rival during Max's post-play celebration. (It probably didn't help matters that Coppola is Schwartzman's uncle.)

13. Anderson's Brother Did the Movie's Criterion Collection Artwork.

The Criterion Collection edition of 'Rushmore' (1998)
The Criterion Collection

Eric Chase Anderson did the artwork for the Criterion Collection DVD cover, an interoperation of a shot from the montage of Max’s extracurricular activities at the beginning of the movie. The Yankee Racer shot is itself a recreation of a photo from French photographer Jacques Henri Lartigue, taken in 1909 when he was only 15.

14. Schwartzman waxed his chest to play Max.

Although Max only shows his chest once in the film (during the high school wrestling match), Anderson made Schwartzman wax his chest for the duration of Rushmore's filming.

15. The Max Fischer Players Appeared on MTV.

During the 1999 MTV Movie Awards, the Max Fischer Players recreated the year's hit movies—The Truman Show, Armageddon, and Out of Sight—as stage plays.

An earlier version of this article ran in 2014.

8 Tips for Overcoming Social Anxiety Disorder

iStock.com/fizkes
iStock.com/fizkes

If the thought of having to attend a networking event, office holiday party, or family reunion with your uppity out-of-state cousins fills you with dread, then you might have social anxiety disorder. Also known as social phobia, the pervasive fear of being judged by one’s peers affects an estimated 15 million Americans. If you think you might be one of them, a physician can recommend the best course of treatment for you, but there are a few tactics you can try in the meantime. Here are some tips for coping with social anxiety disorder.

1. Ease into social situations.

Everything gets easier with practice, and the same concept applies to socializing. Avoiding parties and large gatherings may provide temporary relief of social phobia, but it isn't a long-term fix. To get started on your road to overcoming anxiety, the Mayo Clinic outlines a few steps that can be found in most cognitive behavioral therapy regimens. This form of psychotherapy challenges people's negative thoughts about social situations to help alleviate anxiety. One such step is to set small, manageable goals for yourself, like giving a stranger a compliment or asking an employee in a store for help finding something. Keep doing little tasks like these until you start to build confidence. Once you’ve mastered these social skills, you can more on to more challenging scenarios.

2. Prepare talking points to combat social anxiety disorder before an event.

We’re not saying you should memorize your lines, but it will ease some of the tension if you come to a party or networking event with a few conversation starters in mind. If possible, do some snooping to find out what some of the other guests are into, or check the news for interesting ice breakers. Just take it from author, life coach, and self-proclaimed “party-impaired individual” Martha Beck: “When you find yourself standing at the bar or reaching a dead end in a conversation, news of a sighting of Bessie, the Lake Erie monster, or some other tidbit that caught your attention will make it that much easier to mingle.”

3. Lay off the caffeine.

You may think that a cup of joe will perk you up and make it easier to conquer your fears, but it may end up making your social phobia worse. Coffee, chocolate, and soda are best avoided because stimulants such as these can elevate your levels of anxiety.

4. Get plenty of sleep.

In a similar vein, make sure you get plenty of sleep before your next big event. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America recommends that you get at least eight hours of sleep each night. If you’re sleep-deprived, you may notice that it’s harder to immerse yourself in social situations.

5. Identify your negative thinking patterns.

Think back to the last time you felt anxious. What kinds of thoughts were you having in that moment? Did any of them make you feel worse? If so, you might be getting swept up in negative self-talk, which can fuel social phobia and make you feel more anxious. Identifying these thoughts when they pop up is the first step to confronting and changing them, according to the Social Anxiety Institute.

6. Imagine what would happen if your worst fears came true.

It may seem counterproductive, but asking yourself “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” is a good way to confront your “inner critic,” according to author and clinical psychologist Ellen Hendriksen. Avoid words like “always,” “never, “everybody,” and “nobody”—they’re vague and tend to overstate the risks you face. Instead, think about your specific fears of any given situation, and you will probably realize that “failure”—whether it’s tripping on stage or sounding awkward—isn’t as bad as it seems. The more you rationalize it, the more “‘Everyone will think I’m a freak’ turns into ‘The five or six people I talk to at the party might notice my hands shaking and think something is wrong with me,’” Hendriksen writes in her book How to Be Yourself: Quiet Your Inner Critic and Rise Above Social Anxiety. If you do this enough, social situations won’t seem quite as scary.

7. Focus on someone else.

When you’re talking to someone, really make a concerted effort to listen to what they’re saying. This will help shift your focus away from your own insecurities. “The trick is to focus on anything except yourself, and that magically frees up a lot of bandwidth,” Hendriksen tells Vox. “When we’re able to do this, we come across as much more authentic and open and the anxiety disappears.”

8. Be proud that you put yourself out there.

Instead of scrutinizing every little thing you said or did after a social event, give yourself credit for simply doing something you find challenging—and living to tell the tale. Establishing a system of “self-reward” will help decrease your anxiety in the future, according to Robert L. Leahy, director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York City. “Who deserves more congratulation than you for trying hard to confront what is difficult?” Leahy writes in Psychology Today. “Just trying, just going, just staying in, and just tolerating the discomfort are reasons for reward. Each time you face your fear, you win and your fear loses.”

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