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Albert Anastasia's Death

Albert Anastasia

The Bible says he who lives by the sword dies by the sword. Three guesses how the man who headed "Murder Incorporated" ended up!

Albert Anastasia was one of the fiercest and most feared Mob Bosses in New York City. His Murder Incorporated organization was precursor to what became known as the Gambino Crime Family. Born in Calabria, Italy, Anastasia and his family arrived in America in 1921, and by the end of the decade he became a top leader of the International Longshoremen's Association. A 1928 murder rap didn't amount to much, because witnesses either disappeared or clammed up.

After some mob infighting eliminated two leading bosses, Joe Masseria and Salvatore Maranzano, the New York territory was split five ways and Anastasia got a slice of the pie, encompassing Brooklyn. There, with the help of Jewish gangsters like Louis "Lepke" Buchalter, Murder Incorporated was born, where Anastasia was known (carefully) as "Lord High Executioner" and "The Mad Hatter".

One of his legendary hits was on one of his own hit men, Abe Reles, who turned state's evidence to avoid the death penalty. New York State didn't get Abe, but Murder Inc. did. Reles was tossed from the roof of Coney Island's Half Moon Hotel to his death.

Abe Reles

But Anastasia was not bullet-proof either. After some skirmishes with other mob bosses in the 1950's, he went to Manhattan's Park Sheraton Hotel for a shave. And he relaxed in the barber chair while his body guard was gone, two men wearing scarves over their faces rushed in, shoved the barber out of the way, and pumped lead into Anastasia.

Albert Anastasia dead on barbershop floor

His funeral was held in a Brooklyn funeral parlor. The Roman Catholic Church refused him a church burial.