Al Capone is America's best-known gangster and the single greatest symbol of the collapse of law and order in the United States during the 1920s Prohibition era. Capone had a leading role in the illegal activities that lent Chicago its reputation as a lawless city.
Al Capone's mug shot, 1931.
Capone was born on January 17, 1899, in Brooklyn, New York. Baptized "Alphonsus Capone," he grew up in a rough neighborhood and was a member of two "kid gangs," the Brooklyn Rippers and the Forty Thieves Juniors. Although he was bright, Capone quit school in the sixth grade at age fourteen. Between scams he was a clerk in a candy store, a pinboy in a bowling alley, and a cutter in a bookbindery. He became part of the notorious Five Points gang in Manhattan and worked in gangster Frankie Yale's Brooklyn dive, the Harvard Inn, as a bouncer and bartender. While working at the Inn, Capone received his infamous facial scars and the resulting nickname "Scar face" when he insulted a patron and was attacked by her brother.
In 1918, Capone met an Irish girl named Mary "Mae" Coughlin at a dance. On December 4, 1918, Mae gave birth to their son, Albert "Sonny" Francis. Capone and Mae married that year on December 30.
Capone's first arrest was on a disorderly conduct charge while he was working for Yale. He also murdered two men while in New York, early testimony to his willingness to kill. In accordance with gangland etiquette, no one admitted to hearing or seeing a thing so Capone was never tried for the murders. After Capone hospitalized a rival gang member, Yale sent him to Chicago to wait until things cooled off. Capone arrived in Chicago in 1919 and moved his family into a house at 7244 South Prairie Avenue.
The unpretentious Capone home at 7244 South
Prairie Avenue, far from Chicago's Loop and
Capone's business headquarters.
Capone went to work for Yale's old mentor, John Torrid. Torrid saw Capone's potential, his combination of physical strength and intelligence, and encouraged his portаigаi. Soon Capone was helping Torrid manage his bootlegging business. By mid-1922 Capone ranked as Trio’s number two men and eventually became a full partner in the saloons, gambling houses, and brothels.
When Torrid was shot by rival gang members and consequently decided to leave...
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... spent the rest of his felony sentence in the hospital. On January 6, 1939, his prison term expired and he was transferred to Terminal Island, a Federal Correctional Institution in California, to serve his one-year misdemeanor sentence. He was finally released on November 16, 1939, but still had to pay fines and court costs of $37,617.51.
Capone at Comisky Park in 1931, before his conviction.
After his release, Capone spent a short time in the hospital. He returned to his home in Palm Island where the rest of his life was relaxed and quiet. His mind and body continued to deteriorate so that he could no longer run the outfit. On January 21, 1947, he had an apoplectic stoke that was probably unrelated to his syphilis. He regained consciousness and began to improve until pneumonia set in on January 24. He died the next day from cardiac arrest. Capone was first buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Chicago's far South Side between the graves of his father, Gabriele, and brother, Frank, but in March of 1950 the remains of all three were moved to Mount Carmel Cemetery on the far West Side.
Capone’s hitman Louis Bartollo (left) and close friend Phillip D’Agessi.
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