Luciano, Charles

Luciano, (Charles) “Lucky” (b. Salvatore Lucania)

(1897–1962) Mafia boss; born in Lercara Friddi, Sicily. He came to New York City at age nine and worked briefly in a hat factory. He engaged in criminal pursuits and rose to become the undisputed king of the New York City Mafia by the early 1930s. He was convicted on 62 counts of compulsory prostitution (1936) but his sentence was commuted in 1946 and he was deported to Italy. (It has been alleged—but denied by officials—that while in prison, he assisted the U.S. military in its plans to invade Sicily in 1943.) He became involved in the Italian black market and international narcotics traffic. He died in Naples but his body was buried in New York City.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.