Albert Anastasia (born Umberto Anastasio; September 26, 1902 – October 25, 1957), was an Italian-American mobster, extortionist, racketeer, mass murderer, serial killer, and hitman for the American Mafia in New York, and well-known for being the boss of Murder, Inc. and later the boss of the Gambino crime family through 1951 to 1957. His assassination is still today one of the most notorious mafia slayings in history.

During his 7-year reign of terror, Albert Anastasia was one of the most powerful and richest crime bosses in the world. During his brutal and ruthless regime of the Anastasia crime family (Now called the Gambino Crime Family) Anastasia was the most violent, ruthless, murderous, dangerous and feared crime boss in the world. Anastasia was also the most ruthless, dangerous and feared mob boss in America. responsible for single-handedly murdering as many as 900-1,000 people, however, it is believed by the FBI that Anastasia has single-handedly murdered over 1,300 people, which makes him one of the most brutal, ruthless and murderous mass murderers in history of the world. During his reign of terror, Anastasia ordered more than 15,000 murders, and it is suspected by the FBI that Anastasia ordered the deaths of as many as 20,000 people all over the United States. making Anastasia the most ruthless, dangerous and murderous crime boss of all time. Anastasia terrorized the streets of New York City thru murder, brute force, terror, extreme violence and fear. Anastasia ruled thru murder, brutal violence, ruthlessness, intimidation and fear. According to a 2013 mafia documentary, former FBI Director, James Kallstrom has stated that "Anastasia has ordered the deaths of more people than every crime boss in history. Anastasia surpasses Pablo Escobar in committing more murders and in viciousness."

Former NYPD Police Detective Ralph Salerno said of Anastasia:

"Anastasia put the fear of god in his associates, other gangsters, Civilians, and even Police, Judges, prosecutors and FBI Agents were terrified of him because he was so vicious and ruthless, and because they knew he had such a fearsome, brutal, ruthless and murderous reputation."

"Anastasia was an evil monster, he was a ferocious animal, he was a lethal predator, he was a killing machine, he was a cold-blooded homicidal maniac, and he was a vicious, sadistic, heartless, merciless, monstrous and deranged psychopathic killer. Anastasia had ice cold, vicious and devilish eyes, he had a look to put the fear of the devil in anybody."

Salerno goes on to say about Anastasia:

"He had the most terrifying death stare that i've ever seen in my life, he had a evil and frigid glare of a cold-blooded killer. He was an extremely terrifying man, and out of all the gangster's and criminal's that i've met personally in my life, and I've met at least a thousand of them in my years, there were only 3 gangsters who when I looked them straight in the eyes, i decided i wouldn't want them to be really personally mad at me. Aniello Dellacroce, Carmine Galante, and Albert Anastasia were the individuals that i was petrified of, they were also the individuals that I wouldn't want to get on the wrong side of. They were very terrifying and monstrous men, they were so vicious and so ruthless, that they could scare demons away, you looked at their eyes and you could see how terrifying they were, they were the worst possible evil, they had a frigid glare of pure evil killers."

"They could kill anybody, women, children and innocent civilians, and not feel a thing. They could literally kill a billion people and not feel a thing. They were pure evil. They were relentless murder machines, They were absolute cried animals, they were evil, animalistic, predatory, deranged psychopathic killers, and they were the only gangsters I was scared to death of, and they put the fear of the devil in me, and a bunch of other people, including Cops, Prosectors, Jurors, Judges, FBI Agents, and even their own associates. They were feared by everyone all over the place."

Salerno continues:

"Anastasia loved to look his victim's in the eyes while killing them slowly just to show his ruthlessness. Anastasia would kill anybody, he would kill police, judges, prosecutors, Politicians, Mayors, Governors, even Federal Agents in a heartbeat, which he did, he did not care who he killed, he just loved to kill. Nobody got on the wrong side of Albert Anastasia and got away with it."

"Anastasia is still considered to be one of the most vicious, murderous, ruthless and feared gangster's in history. Anastasia is also considered to be one of the most deadliest and dangerous men in American history. Anastasia is regarded by the FBI as the most violent, ruthless and feared criminal of all time. According to the FBI, Anastasia has murdered more people than any mobster in Italian-American Mafia history, and Anastasia has ordered more murders than the Irish Republican Army. Anastasia is unquestionably the most murderous criminal of all time."

Early years in AmericaEdit

Albert Anastasia was born in Tropea, Calabria, Italy. His father, Raffaelo Anastasio, a railway worker, died during World War I, when Albert was only 10, leaving behind nine sons and three daughters. Albert's brothers included Salvatore, Frank, Joseph, Gerardo, and Anthony Anastasio. [1]Shortly after his fathers' death he left school and worked on building large ships. In 1917, he illegally moved away from Italy and came into New York aged 15. Anastasia came to America poor and attended school but couldn't read or write. He later looked for work at a waterfront looking for a job as a longshoreman. Later he got a job but was owned by mob bosses and had to pay tribute, so gave them half of his salary.

First Murder

Anastasia lost his temper over a man on the waterfront over cargo business, pulled a knife out and stabbed him several times, eventually killing him. On March 17, 1921, Anastasia was convicted of murdering longshoreman George Turino as the result of a quarrel. Anastasia was sentenced to death and sent to Sing Sing State Prison in Ossing, New York to await execution. In prison he had to fight his way through and got the attention of a barber at Sing Sing, Jimmy "The Shiv" DeStefano, who was very connected to The American Mafia and to Lucky Luciano. The Barber told Luciano that he needed someone like Albert Anastasia. Due to a legal technicality, however, Anastasia won a retrial in 1922. Because four of the original prosecution witnesses had disappeared in the meantime {reportably killed by Luciano}, Anastasia was released from custody in 1922.[1]

On June 6, 1923, Anastasia was convicted of illegal possession of a firearm and sentenced to two years in city prison.[1]

Rise to powerEdit

By the late 1920s, Anastasia had become a top leader of the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), controlling six union local chapters in Brooklyn. Anastasia allied himself with Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria, a powerful gang leader in Brooklyn. Anastasia soon became close associates with future Cosa Nostra bosses Joe Adonis, Charles "Lucky" Luciano, Vito Genovese, and Frank Costello.[2]

In 1928, Anastasia was charged with a murder in Brooklyn, but the witnesses either disappeared or refused to testify in court.[2]

Castellammarese WarEdit

In 1930, Luciano finalized his plans to take over the organized crime rackets in New York by destroying the two old-line Mafia factions headed by Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano. Luciano outlined his plot to Anastasia, who joined him and Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel in the plot. Anastasia assured Luciano that he would kill everyone for Luciano to reach the top. Anastasia knew that if Luciano ran the National Crime Syndicate, he would eventually get a "piece of the action." By this point, Luciano had secretly given his support to Maranzano.

On April 15, 1931, Anastasia allegedly participated in Masseria's murder. Luciano had lured Masseria to a meeting at a Coney Island, Brooklyn restaurant. During their meal, Luciano excused himself to go to the restroom. As soon as Luciano was gone, Anastasia, Vito Genovese, Joe Adonis, and Bugsy Siegel rushed into the dining room and shot Masseria to death. The war ended and Maranzano was the winner.[3] No one was ever indicted in the Masseria murder. In Luciano's subsequent reorganization of New York's Cosa Nostra into its current Five Families, Anastasia was appointed underboss of the crime family of Vincent Mangano, the modern Gambino crime family.[4]

In September 1931, Maranzano was murdered and Luciano became the preeminent mobster in America.[5] To avoid the power struggles and turf disputes that led to the Castellammarese War, Luciano established the National Crime Syndicate, consisting of the major family bosses from around the country and the so-called "five families" of New York. The Syndicate was meant to serve as a deliberative body to solve disputes, carve up and distribute territories, and regulate lucrative illegal activities such as racketeering, gambling, and bootlegging (which came to a close with the repeal of Prohibition in 1933). The Italian-American Mafia had their own body, known as the Commission.[6]

In 1932, Anastasia was indicted on charges of murdering another man with an ice pick, but the case was dropped due to lack of witnesses.

In 1933, Anastasia was charged with killing a man who worked in a laundry; again, there were no witnesses willing to testify.[2]


Anastasia married a 19 year old Canadian woman in 1937. In 1938, Albert Anastasia Jr. was born. Anastasia covered his crime life and told his wife that he owned a mattress shop and a suit factory in Philadelphia. Albert Jr. had an illegitimate son, Carl, in Harlem by his black housekeeper in 1959.

Criminal powerEdit

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New York boss, Albert Anastasia.

Albert Anastasia soon began working with Meyer Lansky, Louis Buchalter and Frank Costello. He became a hit man and enforcer for Luciano and his associates and soon earned his nickname "Lord High Executioner." After Salvatore Maranzano and Joe Masseria were killed, Lucky Luciano formed The Commission and appointed Vincent Mangano as boss of the Gambino crime family. Mangano made Anastasia underboss in 1931 and head of his Brooklyn rackets.

He soon became Leader of Murder, Inc. and Abe Reles became an enforcer. Charles Luciano used Murder Inc for murder and to enforce his authority. Joe Santora worked in laundry and when he didn't pay his tribute to Anastasia, he shot and killed Santora on August 2, 1933 and was suspected of murder. The witness changed his story in court and denied Anastasia killed him because he was frightened of his reputation. Thomas Dewey, who closed down on organized crime and convicted Charles Luciano of prostitution, tried to convict Louis Buchalter of Racketeering.

Murder, IncorporatedEdit

To reward Anastasia's loyalty, Luciano placed him and Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, the nation's leading labor racketeer, in control of the Syndicate's enforcement arm, Murder, Inc. The troop, also known as "The Brownsville Boys", was a group of Jewish and Italian killers that operated out of the back room of Midnight Rose's, a candy store owned by mobster Louis Capone in the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn. During its ten years of operation, it is estimated that Murder Inc. committed between 400 and 1000 murders, many of which were never solved. For his leadership in Murder, Inc., Anastasia was nicknamed the "Mad Hatter" and the "Lord High Executioner".[7] Unlike Lepke and many other members of Murder, Inc., Anastasia was never prosecuted for any of these murders. It is doubted by some that he even was involved, since as the underboss of a family, he had his own killers to use if needed. During this period, Anastasia's business card claimed that he was a "sales representative" for the Convertible Mattress Corporation in Brooklyn.

On June 7, 1936, Luciano was convicted on 62 counts of forced prostitution.[8] On July 18, 1936, Luciano received a 30 to 50-year sentence in state prison. [9] Genovese became acting boss, but he was forced to flee to Italy in 1937 after being indicted on a 1934 murder. Frank Costello now became acting boss of the Luciano crime family.

In May 1939, Anastasia allegedly ordered the murder of Morris Diamond, an official of a trucking union in Brooklyn. Diamond was a Teamsters Union official who had opposed mobster Louis Buchalter's attempts to maintain control of the Garment District in Manhattan.[10][11] In the summer of 1939, Anastasia allegedly organized the murder of Peter Panto, an ILA activist. Panto had been leading a movement for democratic reforms in the ILA locals, and refused to be intimidated by ILA officials. On July 14, 1939, Panto disappeared; his body was later recovered on a farm in New Jersey.[12][13]

With the 1941 arrest of Abe Reles on murder charges, law enforcement finally dismantled Murder, Inc. Reles was a gang leader from Brownsville, Brooklyn who had been supplying Anastasia and Murder, Inc. with hitmen for the past 10 years. Reles decided to testify for the government to save himself from the death penalty. His testimony convicted seven members of Murder Inc. Reles also had information that could implicate Anastasia in the 1939 Diamond and Panto murders. Fearful of prosecution, Anastasia offered a $100,000 reward for Reles' murder.[14]

Anastasia helped Buchalter hide in his Brooklyn neighborhood. Anastasia helped his friend and murdered around 14 key witnesses and one secretary to Thomas Dewey. Louis Buchalter was convicted of racketeering and drugs by J. Edgar Hoover and was sentenced to 14 years in prison. Thomas Dewey convicted him of murder on November 30, 1941 and was sentenced to death by electric chair. Facing the death penalty, Reles became an informant and was scheduled to testify, but was found murdered on the roof of a hotel where he was staying.

In 1932 Anastasia was reportbly involved in the kidnapping of Isidore Juffe for which Joe Adonis was indicated; despite the fact Juffe recognized Anastasia as an assailant, he was not indicated or convicted (three witness turned up dead).

From 1942 to 1944 he was a member of the US Army and reached the rank of Technical Sgt. His specialty was teaching soldiers to be longshoremen in Indiantown Pa; he was honorably discharged (for being over age) and given US Citizenship.

Gambino crime familyEdit

By 1951, Anastasia turned the New York Harbor into whole Crime. He had been serving Vincent Mangano for 20 years as underboss. Anastasia soon invested in legitimate business in real estate and bought a mansion above the Hudson River in New Jersey. Philip Mangano (Vincent's brother) was found shot in Jamaica Bay, Brooklyn river. He had been shot twice in the face and once in the neck. Vincent Mangano was never found. Albert Anastasia became boss and broke Lucky Luciano's rule against killing a boss. Anastasia claimed Mangano had attacked him and he had killed him in self defense. Vito Genovese then marked Anastasia as a dead man because he killed his own boss. But in 1954 the FBI attempted to convict him of tax evasion as they did with Al Capone. Anastasia soon got involved in gambling in Cuba. Meyer Lansky warned him against it but Anastasia refused. Lansky went to The Commission, and Vito Genovese and the other bosses agreed to get rid of Anastasia.



Albert Anastasia after his haircut

Vito Genovese asked Carlo Gambino to set it up. On October 25, 1957 at about 10 a.m., Anastasia walked into a barber Shop in Manhattan and sat at chair No. 4. After his bodyguard went outside for a walk, two men walked into the shop and shot him. Anastasia lunged toward the shooters reflection in a mirror but collapsed and died.

Notorious people murdered by Albert AnastasiaEdit

Order: Nº. Name/Rank/Affiliation/When/Involvement/Reason

  1. George Turino/None/Independent/March 17, 1921/Personal/Anastasia had an argument with Turino and killed him.
  2. Carmello Ferraro/None/Independent/August 16, 1922/Personal/Anastasia "discharged"; reportably case was dropped due to lack of evidence and witnesses
  3. Carmine Centatiempe/None/Independent/August 13, 1928/Personal/Anastasia was charged with a murder in brooklyn but the case was dropped due to a lack of evidence and witnesses.
  4. Peter Morello/Boss/Morello crime family/August 15, 1930/Personal/Anastasia killed him in the Castellamarese war.
  5. Giuseppe Masseria/Boss/Masseria crime family/April 15, 1931/Personal/Anastasia was on the team of hitmen that murdered Masseria to end the Castellamarese war.
  6. John Bazzano Sr./Boss/Pittsburgh crime family/August 5, 1932/Personal/Anastasia personally murdered Bazzano with an ice pick because of a dispute between the Pittsburgh crime family and the Mangano crime family.
  7. Joseph Santori (Santora)/None/Independent/August 10, 1933/Personal/The victim was a laundry worker who had an argument with Anastasia, he murdered the laundry worker, case was dropped due to a lack of evidence and witnesses.
  8. Morris Diamond/None/Independent/May 1939/Ordered it/Anastasia had Diamond a truck drivers union official killed to take control of the Garment District in Manhattan.
  9. Pietro "Peter" Panto/None/Independent/July 14, 1939/Ordered it/Anastasia had Panto killed because he was in charge of a union representing dock workers on the waterfront, and because he was being extorted. Panto was strangled and his body put into a lime pit
  10. Irving Feinstein/None/Independent/September 4, 1939/Ordered it/Anastasia was in charge of murder inc and someone hired Murder, Inc. to murder Feinstein, so Anastasia handed out the contract.
  11. Abel Reles/Soldier/Murder, Inc./November 12, 1941/Ordered it/Reles was murdered for being an informant, his death looked like an apparent suicide. It is alleged that a NYPD Policeman Charles Burns who was a "bodyguard" for Reles is also alleged to have been involved in the disappearance of New York Justice Joseph Force Carter August 6, 1930
  12. Anthony Romero/Associate/Gambino crime family/Spring 1942/Ordered it/Anastasia had Romero murdered to cover his tracks and to prevent Romero becoming an informant.
  13. Vincent Mangano/Boss/Gambino crime family/April 19, 1951/Ordered it/To become boss of the Gambino crime family.
  14. Phil Mangano/Consigliere/Gambino crime family/April 19, 1951/Ordered it/To become boss of the Gambino crime family.
  15. Arnold Schuster/None/Independent/March 8, 1952/Alleged to have ordered it/Schuster was a citizen who had recognized bank robber Willie Sutton and helped Police capture him. An associate of Sutton, Frederick J Tenuto is alleged to have killed Schuster on Anastasia orders.
  16. Frederick J. Tenuto/Hitman/Gambino crime family/After March 1952{?}/Alleged to have ordered it/Tenuto was Placed on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted List" as 14 May 1950-but never captured. Reported to have "Vanished". Joseph Valachi claimed that Anastasia had Tenuto kill Schuster on the grounds that he "couldn't stand squealers" and then had Tenuto killed as well. Tenuto name removed from 10 Most Wanted list March 9, 1964.

Popular cultureEdit

  • After the Anastasia assassination, the barber chairs at the Park Sheraton Hotel were repositioned to face away from the mirror. The Anastasia chair was later auctioned off for $7,000. In February 2012, the chair became an exhibit at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas.
  • Anastasia's murder, as well as the 1957 Apalachin Meeting, were referenced in the 1999 film Analyze This, starring Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal.
  • The fictional character Johnny Friendly (played by Lee J. Cobb) in the classic 1954 American film On the Waterfront was partially based on Anastasia.
  • Mayra Montero's novel Son de Almendra (English Title: Dancing to "Almendra") is based on Anastasia's murder.
  • In The Day of The Jackal, a 1973 novel by Frederick Forsyth, a detective considers Marco Vitellino, a fictitious bodyguard who was absent during Anastasia's assassination as one of several suspects who could be an assassin contracted to kill French President Charles de Gaulle. The bodyguard is ruled out because he doesn't fit the description of the assassin.
  • In the TV series The West Wing Season 4, Episode 10 "Holy Night," Jules Ziegler, the estranged father of White House Communications Director Toby Ziegler, visits Toby at the White House. Following a query from the Justice Department, Toby asks his father, a former member of Murder, Inc. when Albert Anastasia was killed. Jules answers, "October 1957," and later tells his son, "You should know when Anastasia was killed." Toby retorts, "I know when Anastasia was killed!"
  • In an episode of The Sopranos, Uncle Junior says that he wishes the mob were like they were in the 1950s when it was peaceful. Tony replies by saying he remembered seeing the picture of Anastasia "all amicably" in a pool of blood on the barbershop floor.
  • Anastasia's murder is mentioned in Harold Robbins book, The Raiders. Although in the book the hit is carried out by an obfuscated assassin known only by the pseudonym Milditesta (Italian for a greatly painful headache).
  • MMG rapper Rick Ross entitled his 2011 mixtape, "The Albert Anastasia EP".


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Freeman, Ira Henry. "Anastasia Rose in Stormy Ranks", October 26, 1957. Retrieved on 29 December 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Albert Anastasia Part 1. FBI Records: The Vault. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Retrieved on 30 December 2011.
  3. Davis, John H. (1994). Mafia dynasty : the rise and fall of the Gambino crime family. HarperPaperbacks. ISBN 0-06-109184-7.
  4. Mass, Peter (1968). . Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-63173-X.
  5. Raab, Selwyn (2005). pp. 30, 33. Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN 0-312--36181-5.
  6. Davis, p. 47
  7. Davis, p. 57
  8. "Lucania Convicted With 8 in Vice Ring on 62 Counts Each", June 8, 1936. Retrieved on 30 December 2011. 
  9. "LUCANIA SENTENCED TO 30 TO 50 YEARS; COURT WARNS RING", June 19, 1936. Retrieved on 2 January 2012. 
  10. Perlmutter, Emanuel. "Story of Murder, Inc.:Big Business in Crime", April 1, 1951. Retrieved on 2 January 2012. 
  11. "Inquiry Discredit O'Dwyer for Calling Reles Important", December 22, 1951. Retrieved on 31 December 2011. 
  12. Davis, p. 58
  13. Ward, Nathan. "Excerpt; "Dark Harbor"", September 24, 2010. Retrieved on 31 December 2011. 
  14. Elmaleh, Edmund (2009). The canary sang but couldn't fly : the fatal fall of Abe Reles, the mobster who shattered Murder, Inc.'s code of silence. Sterling Pub. Co., Inc.. ISBN 1-4027-6113-9.

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