Organized Crime Figure. Born Benjamin Siegelbaum in Brooklyn, New York, he was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants. He began his early criminal career extorting protection money from local pushcart merchants before moving on to more serious crimes. By the age of 21 his list of crimes had already included acts of murder, rape, drug trafficking, extortion, bootlegging, bookmaking, burglary and armed robbery. During the early 1930s he was involved in bootlegging operations in New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and also worked as a contract killer against rival mob bosses. In 1937 he was assigned by the New York syndicate to California to develop and oversee gambling rackets in the Los Angeles area. While living in southern California, he was introduced to various Hollywood actors and directors through his close personal friend actor George Raft. Utilizing Raft's contacts, he began extorting the motion picture studios to finance his own lavish Hollywood lifestyle. Facing murder charges in 1939 for the death of fellow gangster Harry Greenburg, a police informant, Siegel and three mob associates managed to kill two of the state's star witnesses before the case could be brought to trial. Lacking sufficient evidence to prosecute, the state was forced to drop all charges against Siegel. In 1941 Siegel turned his attention to the small gambling community of Las Vegas, Nevada. Seeing financial opportunities in the small desert town, Siegel convinced mob heads to invest three million dollars into the building of a hotel and casino on what is now the famous Las Vegas strip. Considered by many as the father of modern day Las Vegas, Siegel's Flamingo Hotel and Casino opened on December 26, 1946 after countless construction delays and cost overruns. Included in the construction of the 77 room Flamingo Hotel was Siegel's private suite, complete with bulletproof glass and five separate escape exits. With costs exceeding six million dollars and shortfalls in projected revenues, mob members began to suspect Siegel of skimming construction funds and gambling revenues into an overseas bank account. On orders from the mafia hierarchy, Siegel was gunned down at the home of his girlfriend in Beverly Hills, California while reading the evening newspaper. He was pronounced dead at the scene with three fatal wounds to the head. In 1991 the motion Picture "Bugsy" was released to theaters starring Warren Beatty in the title role of Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel.
Bio by: Nils M. Solsvik Jr.
IN LOVING MEMORY FROM THE FAMILY