DEAD: ON THIS DATE
Lucky Luciano (aged 64)
Charles “Lucky” Luciano (November 24, 1897 – January 26, 1962) was an influential Italian-born mobster, criminal mastermind, and crime lord who operated mainly in the United States. Luciano is considered the father of modern organized crime in the United States for the establishment of the first Commission. He was also the first official boss of the modern Genovese crime family. He was, along with his associates, instrumental in the development of the National Crime Syndicate.
DEATH: On January 26, 1962, Luciano died of a heart attackat Naples International Airport. He had gone to the airport to meet with American producer Martin Gosch about a film based on his life. To avoid antagonizing other Mafia members, Luciano had previously refused to authorize a film, but reportedly relented after Lissoni’s death. After the meeting with Gosch, Luciano was stricken with a heart attack and died. He was unaware that Italian drug agents had followed him to the airport in anticipation of arresting him on drug smuggling charges.
Three days later, 300 people attended a funeral service for Luciano in Naples. His body was conveyed along the streets of Naples in a horse-drawn black hearse. With the permission of the US government, Luciano’s relatives took his body back to New York for burial. He was buried in St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens. More than 2,000 mourners attended his funeral. Gambino, Luciano’s longtime friend, gave his eulogy.