John Torrio


John Torrio Famous memorial

Irsina, Provincia di Matera, Basilicata, Italy
Death 16 Apr 1957 (aged 75)
Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Burial Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Plot Section 130, Lot 36321
Memorial ID 1424 View Source

Organized Crime Figure. John Donato Torrio joined a street gang as a teenager and became its leader. His business sense caught the eye of Paul Kelly, the leader of the infamous Five Points Gang, who taught him to dress conservatively, stop swearing, and set up a front as a legitimate entrepreneur. His long success as an organized crime leader was partly due to keeping a low profile and avoiding being publicly marked as a gangster. "Big Jim" Colosimo, who ran more than a hundred brothels in Chicago, invited him to Chicago assist him with running them. In 1920, when Prohibition went into effect, he realized the immense profits bootlegging could bring and urged Colosimo to enter the business. Colosimo, however, refused, fearing it would draw attention from the police and rival gangs. He decided that Colosimo needed to be removed, and arranged his murder. He took over Colosimo's criminal kingdom and started to venture into bootlegging. He and Al Capone ran the Chicago Outfit as it made millions from gambling, prostitution, and bootlegging. The Outfit soon came to control the Chicago's downtown area, as well as much of the South Side. He intended to take over the Gold Coast territory, which angered the powerful North Side Gang led by Dean O'Banion. He had O'Banion killed, and in retaliation, North Side Gang members ambushed him, shooting him four times and beating him badly. He survived after undergoing surgery, but the near-death experience frightened him badly, and he decided to retire. In late 1925, he moved to Italy with his wife and mother, and he no longer dealt directly in mob business. He returned to the United States in 1928, and took part in organizing a cartel of East Coast bootleggers, the Big Seven, in which a number of prominent gangsters played a part. He helped create a national body called the National Crime Syndicate, intended to prevent the murderous wars between gangs that had broken out in Chicago and New York. The threat of prosecution for his role in the Big Seven led him to flee the country. Before he could do so, he was arrested on charges of income tax evasion. He pleaded guilty to those charges in 1939 and served two years in prison. After this time, he appears to have completely removed himself from criminal activities.

Bio by: Pete Mohney


Aged 75 years

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 1424
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Torrio (16 Jan 1882–16 Apr 1957), Find a Grave Memorial ID 1424, citing Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA ; Maintained by Find a Grave .