Gaetano "Tommy Gunn" or "Tommy" Lucchese aka Three-Fingers Brown or Three Fingers and Tommy Brown (December 1, 1899 Palermo, Italy - July 13, 1967 Lido Beach, New York) was an American Cosa Nostra member and later boss and renamed a criminal organization after his surname "Lucchese crime family".
Early life Edit
Little is known about Gaetano Lucchese's early life in Italy apart from that he was born in Palermo. He arrived into East Harlem in 1911 along with his family, Giuseppe and Maria Lucchese. Lucchese's father looked for work straight after they came to New York though Gaetano Lucchese shortly went to work at a machine shop. He earned his nickname "Three Fingers" as by an accident at work he managed to slice off his right thumb and forefinger while not concentrating.
Early Crime in AmericaEdit
Tommy Lucchese lived without work and turned to his criminal friends on the Manhattan streets. Lucchese shortly met Charles Luciano in Manhattan and became a co-founder of 107th Street gang, Lucchese later recruited his cousin, Vincenzo Rao and managed to set an alliance with Gaetano Reina. By 1920, Tommy was getting involved and was getting named to high profiled criminals in The New York Mob. By 1922, He was arrested three times and only convicted once where he spent 13 months at Sing-Sing prison for auto-theft. Once Lucchese got out of prison, He hooked up with Luciano and started to go into the Bootlegging business. Luciano had met Frank Costello and Meyer Lansky and also became a partner of Arnold Rothstein. Around 1924, Tommy Lucchese was inducted as a Made-man into Gaetano Reina's crime family and a few years later Lucchese was appointed as a Caporegime. By 1929, Tommy had been arrested twice for Murder and Hijacking. Charles Luciano and Tommy Lucchese was reached out by Giuseppe Masseria and both joined Masseria's power rising gang. Tommy and Luciano were hired as killers for Masseria and legend has it that Lucchese killed around 30 people for Joe The Boss Masseria.
Castellammarese War Edit
Salvatore Maranzano who had been spent from Sicily to take control of the American Mafia was in the way of Giuseppe Masseria. Tommy and Luciano took Masseria's side but both agreed that blood was bad for business. Charles Luciano organized Masseria's death and Masseria was later killed in a Coney Island restaurant. Lansky, Luciano and Lucchese discussed about Salvatore Maranzano. Lucchese had said to Luciano that Maranzano had some tax troubles so Lansky's team was appointed to kill Sal Maranzano and so they did. Many mobsters were now convinced by Luciano's saying, "Stop fighting and work together". Luciano now appointed Tommy Lucchese as an Underboss to Gaetano Gagliano and Tommy had now became one of the most notorious gangsters in New York.
Wall Street Crash of 1929 & After ProhibitionEdit
In 1929, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 event began. Many people turned to Lucchese for a loan. Tommy had became a millionaire as a loansharker. Banks and Businesses also became a huge connection for Lucchese and he had saved up all the money for a loan from his New York rackets. Tommy Lucchese had around five million dollars and soon some businesses couldn't pay Tommy back so he became involved in their business earning money. In 1933, Alcohol no longer became illegal and Tommy Lucchese started using his Jewish connections in the food industry. Chicken now became Tommy's main source of money and soon controlled many Chicken slaughterhouses and once he took control of Empire Kosher's chicken industry.
In 1957, Genovese called a national mob meeting to legitimize his control of the Luciano family. The meeting was held at rural home of mobster Joseph "Joe the Barber" Barbara in Apalachin, New York. On November 14, 1957, the New York State Police raided the meeting and arrested 61 fleeing gangster. Lucchese had not yet arrived in Apalachin and therefore avoided arrest. However, his consigliere Vincenzo Rao, Carlo Gambino, Vito Genovese and other mob leaders were detained. Genovese's humiliation motivated the new alliance of Luciano, Costello, Lansky, Gambino and Lucchese to set up Genovese's later elimination. Two years later, with the help of the alliance, Genovese was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia on narcotics trafficking charges. He was sent to prison for 15 years. Genovese died in prison in 1969. With the alliance backing him, Gambino now controlled the Commission.
Carlo Gambino forced his son Thomas Gambino to marry Tommy Lucchese's daughter in 1962 which would create a bigger alliance. Over 2000 gangsters attended to show their respect for Lucchese but mainly to Boss of Bosses, Carlo Gambino. Lucchese gave Gambino a share of the airline rackets which pleased Gambino and gave Lucchese more protection and business.
Joey Gallo Edit
Joey Gallo who was a Colombo crime family capo started a war with Joseph Profaci. Carlo Gambino and Tommy Lucchese backed Gallo up and in return Gambino & Lucchese would seize Profaci's rackets. Joe Profaci died of cancer in 1962 so his Underboss, Joseph Magliocco was named offical boss. Joseph Bonanno who was an ally of Magliocco discussed about what was next for Lucchese so they ordered his death and gave Joseph Colombo the task. What Magliocco failed to realize was that Carlo Gambino was an ally of Tommy Lucchese and also controlled The Commission so Joe Colombo spilled the beans to Gambino and Lucchese, and Joseph Magliocco was forced to retire.
Later Years Edit
Tommy Lucchese was soon involved in fixing boxing fights. Frankie Carbo took charge of Lucchese's boxing rackets and also organized the fight between Sonny Liston and Muhammad Ali. In 1964, Ali and Liston fought and all bookies had Liston to win but he didnt. In 1965, A rematch was called and fixing was also assumed, Ali won.
Death and burial Edit
On July 13, 1967, Tommy Lucchese died of a brain tumor at his home in the Lido Beach area of Long Island. The funeral service was held at the Catholic Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Church in Ridgewood, Queens. Lucchese was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Queens, New York. Over 1,000 mourners, including politicians, judges, policemen, racketeers, drug pushers, pimps, and hitmen, attended the ceremony. Undercover policemen photographed the attendees.
Lucchese's first choice as a successor had been Anthony Corallo, but Corallo was in prison when Lucchese died. Lucchese's second choice, Ettore Coco, was also in legal trouble and served a short time as boss. Another possible candidate was consigliere Vincenzo Rao, but he too was dealing with criminal charges. The Commission finally selected capo Carmine Tramunti as boss, he retired when Corallo was released from prison.
Personal life and Family Edit
Tommy Lucchese lived in New Jersey during the 1930s.
- Maria Lucchese - Tommy Lucchese's mother.
- Giuseppe Lucchese - Tommy Lucchese's father.
- Joseph "Joe Brown" Lucchese - the younger brother of Tommy Lucchese. Joseph worked at a horse track and was a capo in the Lucchese family. Joseph worked closely with Aniello "Neil" Migliore running Queens-based illegal gambling operations. Joseph died during the early 1970s.
- Robert Lucchese - the son of Tommy Lucchese. Robert attended the United States Military Academy at West Point and served as a Lieutenant in the US Air Force. Robert and Thomas Gambino controlled trucking firms in the Manhattan Garment District.
- Thomas Gambino the son of Carlo Gambino and the husband of Tommy Lucchese's daughter Frances. Thomas Gambino was a capo in the Gambino family. Gambino and Robert Lucchese controlled many trucking firms in the Garment District.
- Joseph "Joe Palisades" Rosato - the husband of Lucchese's sister Rose. Rosato was involved in the Garment District rackets. In 1963, government witness Joseph Valachi identified Rosato as a Lucchese capo in public hearings.
In popular culture Edit
In the 1981 television miniseries "The Gangster Chronicles" – Lucchese was portrayed by Jon Polito.
In the 1981 film Gangster Wars – Lucchese was portrayed by Jon Polito.