Johnny Torrio's car
Johnny Torrio car




Al Capone



Dion O'Banion
Dion O’Banion


torrio home
Johnny Torrio home today


Johnny Torrio Chicago kingpin ran organized crime in the 1920’s, when it became a real organized business. Prohibition became law in 1920; Along with gambling, and prostitution with many other vices. There were plenty of organized criminal activities in the roaring 20’s, and Johnny Torrio was the head of the most powerful organized crime out fit in Chicago in the first half of the decade, with the hit of his boss Big Jim Colosimo in 1920; a hit ordered by Torrio, and now the boss, with now his mob in place with his second in command Al Capone controlled the south side of Chicago. Johnny Torrio’s partner in some of the illegal rackets were gambling, and co- owned the behemoth Sieben brewery with the Irishman Dion O’Banion.

Who led the most colorful of all Chicago mobs of the more swankier north side of Chicago. The northsider’s and southsider’s often clashed throughout the early half of the decade of the 1920’s. When things came to a head with Torrio, and O’Banion in May 1924; When he sold his interest in the Sieben brewery to Torrio for about $500,000 $6.9 million in 2015 dollars. That’s a lot of money back then no wonder everyone was killing each other the profits were crazy. Torrio happily paid O’Banion in cold hard 1924 cash. Shortly thereafter the brewery was raided for Volstead Act violations. O’Banion walked, because he had no prohibition arrest or violations, but he knew Torrio did not, and would be arrested, which he was.

Johnny Torrio was buried at Green Lawn Cemetery in Brooklyn,NY

Frankie Yale was summoned from Brooklyn,NY to kill O’Banion just as he was called to kill Colosimo about 4 years earlier, but there was one issue in the way. Mike Merlo a very powerful Chicago bootlegger was a mediator of all gangsters, and the Union Siciliana refused to order a hit on O’Banion. The break came for Torrio in November when Merlo was thermally ill with cancer, and died November 8, 1924; Torrio moved on with his plan to have O’Banion murdered, so on the late afternoon on Novemer 10, 1925 Frankie Yale, murderous hit men duo. John Scalise, and Albert Anselmi shot O’Banion to death, in his flower shot located at 724 North State Street in Chicago, across the street from The Holy Name Cathedral where O’Banion served as an Alter Boy as a child. The surviving O’Banites now head of the gang. Earl “Hymie”Weiss, George”Bugs” Moran, and Vincent”The Schemer”Drucci, when gunning for all responsible for O’Banion’s death. This includes all of the other notorious south side gang the Genna brothers. The northsider’s wanted all of them dead as well, because. The Genna heads Mike, and Angelo OKed the hit, because Scalise, and Anselmi belonged to them.

Let’s fast forward to January 24, 1925 winter cold Chicago afternoon. It was cold that day in the mid 20’s, Johnny Torrio,and his wife Anna were returning from a trip shopping in downtown Chicago. When there driver spotted a car following them. It was you guesses it. Weiss, Drucci, and Moran, behind the wheel one of the Gusenberg brothers. They were out to get Torrio no matter what, he must pay form O’Banion. He was responsible for there leaders gruesome murder about 2 months earlier. They had shot guns with buckshot, and pistols ready for a major hit. They wanted to make up for the miss of Capone who was ambushed only 12 days earlier. January 1925 kicked off an all out gang war in Chicago.

Johnny Torrio had a legitimate bail bond operation in the 1930’s co owned by New York Mob boss Dutch Schultz

I guess Torrio had a naive out look on life as a gangster, in very violent times. Thinking the killing O’Banion was just business, and thinking no one would come call, and try to take him out. He was very wrong. Johnny Torrio, and his wife Anna just arrive at there home at 7011-13 South Clyde Avenue in Chicago from a Michigan ave shopping spree. A hail of gun shots blew out windows of there chauffeur driven car, and riddled it with buck shot, from the hands of the murder team, shattering glass. Torrio’s wife Anna made it to the safety of there home unhurt. Torrio was not so lucky he was struck by gun fire several times, in the jaw, lungs, groin, legs, and abdomen, and then beat with a billy club, by Moran.

Police gongs can be heard whaling in the icy cold distance of Chicago, and getting closer. The murder team only has seconds to make sure Torrio is dead. The police gongs were just around the corner, Gusenberg was honking, and yelling lets go. It’s a bit disputed of who was the mobster that tried to administer the last shot, the coup de grâce  if you will to Torrio’s skull, and lucky for Torrio, Weiss was out of ammo. Some say, or most it was Moran trying to make that final shot, other say it was Weiss, because of his hatred of the southsider’s. Can you just imagine that cold Thursday afternoon, Anna Torrio probably watching from the window of there home as his husband being assaulted in front of there home. Watching the effects of being a mob boss, and the hazards of the job.

Johnny Torrio died of natural causes in 1957 at 75

It’s a medical miracle that Torrio survived his wounds with the state of medicine of the day, you have to factor in his age not that he was an old man only in his early 40’s, but a senior citizen by mob standards. Torrio took some major hits to his body, while recovering from his wounds Torrio would observe the gangland code of  omertà, of complete silence. To add insult to injury Torrio had to spend sometime in jail following his hospital release about a year for a probation violation, with his shooting, and the on going attacks, on the southsider’s, and the complete war that was taking place. Johnny “the fox” Torrio said he had enough, and was throwing in the towel, quitting the racket’s of organized crime. His near death experience shaken the veteran gangster very badly, and at the very young age of 26 a kid if you will all operations went to his second in command Al Capone. Capone would now run, and control an empire worth 100’s of millions of dollars a year It was like a winning lottery ticket. Johnny Torrio would go back home to Italy for awhile before returning in the late 20’s. Al Capone would eventually win the war with the northsider’s ending with the St. Valentines Day massacre on February 14, 1929

As Capone took the reins of Chicago, and all out war began in the city from January 1925 till the end of the decade. The heads of all other gang leaders falling at the bloody hands of Capone men, the Chicago police, or rival gangs. Hymie Weiss killed by Capone men in October 1926, Angelo Genna brutally murdered, by northsider’s, in the spring of 1925, as his brother Mike a month later, and the carnage continued. We all know Capone went to prison for an 11 year stretch for tax evasion in the early 30’s, and Chicago crime was never the same, with the more organized out fit beginning, and prohibition ending in 1933

Johnny Torrio ordered the death of his boss Big Jim Colosimo in 1920







Tyrone Power 1914-1958




Godfrey Cambridge 1933-1976


vince g

Vice Guaraldi 1928-1976




Marvin Gaye 1939-1984



Whitney Houston 1963-2012




Elvis Presley 1935-1977



Dan Blocker 1928-1972


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Billie Holiday 1915-1959


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Jackie Wilsn 1934-1984


Phillip Seymour Hoffman 1967-2014


Jean Seberg 1938-1979


John F. Kennedy 1917-1963


Robert F. Kennedy 1925-1968


Bob Crane 1928-1978


Jeff Chandler 1918-1961



Al Capone 1899-1947

Ted Cassidy 1932-1979


Wally Cox 1924-1973

Jim Hutton 1934-1979


John Lennon 1940-1980


famous people who died in there 40s

Rocky Marciano 1923-1969




gary coleman

Gary Coleman 1968-2010






Montgomery Clift 1920-1966


Famous people who died in there 40s; There are a few stand outs, who died very young in there 40s, was mob boss Al Capone. He controlled Chicago in the 1920’s, ran the most notorious gang. He had the politicians, judges, and the police in his pocket, and was the most feared man in the country. He went to prison in the early 1930’s for what else tax invasion for 11 years. After such a colorful life he died at the very young age of 48 of cardiac arrest.

John Lennon was shot to death outside of his apartment building as he was entering late Monday night after a recording session for one of Yoko’s songs on December 8, 1980; Lennon was shot 4 times by Mark David Chapman. Lennon, and The Beatles came to American in 1964, the Beatles disbanded in 1969, and his solo  career lasted from 70-76, and then got back into recording music in 1980. John Lennon, and Yoko’s album Double Fantasy was released by Geffen records in the fall of that year. John Lennon loved living in New York City, and thought he could travel with in New York unnoticed, and in relative obscurity. What he did not realized, and maybe forgot he was still Beatle John Lennon, and the thing he should have picked up on most is that the city had a very high crime rate, and murder rate in the 70s, and 80, and he unfortunately became a statistic of New York’s violent history of that era. Some what likevthe actor Sal Mineo who was stabbed to death in West Hollywood ,CA in 1976; not knowing his killer it was just a random act of violence from a career criminal. Mineo dose not make this list since he was only 37 years old.

John Lennon lived at the Dakota apartment building in NYC

I would have to say the saddest demise out of this list has to be Billie Holiday. She’s arguably the greatest jazz singer ever. Died a real sad death. In the early part of 1959, decades of drugs, and alcohol were beginning to take a massive toll on her body, and had cirrhosis of the liver, among other medical issues.

On May 31, 1959 was taken to Metropolitan Hospital, and the same time under investigation by the FBI, and was arrested, and handcuffed to the bedpost in her hospital room, with police standing guard out side her room. By July 15 was give the last rites, died two days later of a pulmonary embolism, and heart failure, still in police custody handcuffed to her bed post. Billie Holiday was progressively swindled out of her earnings, and died with just .70 cents in her bank account, and $700 on her person from a tabloid fee, sad major sad. Billie Holiday could have been worth millions, and recorded, and produced other artist well into her seventies, with her own TV show’s, and movies. I just hate to see very talented African American artist die with no sizable estate.





dion o'banion


Dion O’Banion Chicago crime boss in the early 1920’s, Chicago. He was Johnny Torrio, and at the time his second lieutenant Al Capone, direct and most feared rival. O’Banion met his demise on November 10, 1924 as three men entered his flower shop on 736 North State Street, which is directly across from the Holy Name Cathedral where O’Banion served as an Alter Boy. Unfortunately most historic crime scenes in Chicago no longer exist, long torn down, I think in the 1940’s.

Dion O’Banion where was his headquarters

There is a parking garage in that spot now, needless to say I was hugely disappointing. I was in Chicago around 1995 looking for the flower shop building and it was gone. There is a parking lot in the spot now. Churches usually survives  unless it burns down. The Holy Name Cathedral is in the exact location. Just with a few up grades.


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