To Kill A Don: The American Mob Boss Hit List (1931-2019)


Shockwaves coursed through the streets of New York last week when the news broke of Gambino crime family underboss and street boss Frank (Frankie Boy) Cali being shot to death outside his Staten Island home. The shooter, 24-year old Anthony Comello, has no known mob ties and appears mentally unstable. Comello had allegedly been warned by Cali to stay away from Cali’s college-aged niece.

Below is the listing of every assassination of an American mob boss dating back to 1931.

The Godfather Hit List (1931-2019):

February 7, 1931 – Detroit mafia don Cesare (Big Chet) LaMare is shot dead inside his own mansion concluding the Motor City’s “Crosstown Mob War” and setting the stage for Michigan’s Tocco-Zerilli clan gangland dynasty.

April 15, 1931 – New York don Giuseppe (Joe the Boss) Masseria is gunned down in a Coney Island restaurant, the first U.S. mob boss killed in the Castellamarese War that laid the foundation for the modern day American mafia.

September 10, 1931 – New York don Salvatore (Little Caesar) Maranzano is gunned down inside his office in what is now the Helmsley Building in midtown Manhattan, the final boss killed in the Castellamarese War.

September 13, 1931 – Pittsburgh mafia don Giuseppe (Joe the Baron) Siragusa is killed for his allegiance to slain New York Godfather Salvatore Maranzano, a mere 72 hours after Maranzano is executed inside his own office.

October 15, 1931 – Los Angeles mafia don Giuseppe (Iron Joe) Ardizzone vanishes on his way to a relative’s residence in the midst of a war for the Southern California rackets, just months removed from surviving an assassination attempts that killed his bodyguard.

August 8, 1932 – Pittsburgh mob boss John Bazzano is strangled and stabbed to death on a trip to New York in the wake of a falling out with the national “Commission” over an unsanctioned triple murder he ordered of rivals two months before.

February 18, 1933 – Denver mafia don Joe (Little Caesar) Roma is killed inside his mansion, paving the way for the rise to power of the Smaldone Brothers, overlords of the Rocky Mountain underworld for the next three quarters of a century.

July 10, 1934 – Kansas City mob boss Giovanni (Brother John) Lazia is gunned down in front of his luxury apartment, having upset his mafia brethren on the East Coast as well as his political allies in Missouri for the heat brought from his sanctioning of the Kansas City Massacre less than a year prior.

June 10, 1936 — Cleveland mob boss Giuseppe (Dr. Joe) Romano, a licensed medical physician, is killed by his own men for his role in previous murder plots against the Lonardo family in the city’s so-called Corn Sugar Wars years earlier.

August 17, 1936 – Philadelphia mafia don John Avena is killed on a street corner in a drive by shooting orchestrated by rivals looking to move in on his mob empire.

October 24, 1940 – Tampa mafia don Ignacio Antinori is shot-gunned to death over a beef he was engaging in with mobsters in Chicago related to a drug debt, laying the foundation for the ascent of the Trafficante family.

April 5, 1950 – Kansas City mob boss Charlie Binaggio and his underboss Charles (Mad Dog Charlie) Gargotta are slain together inside the First Ward Democratic Club, both shot in the head following Binaggio’s bold attempt to expand his business into St. Louis drew the ire of the nat

ional “Commission” in New York.

April 19, 1951 – Original “Five Families” Godfather Vincent (The Executioner) Mangano disappears as a result of a power play hatched by his underboss and successor Albert Anastasia, who would encounter a similar fate.

March 31, 1955 – New Jersey mob boss Steve Bedami, who ran the rackets in Elizabeth, N.J. was murdered in a faction war that raged across the Garden State.

October 25, 1957 – New York don Albert (The Mad Hatter) Anastasia is famously slain while having a shave sitting in a barber’s chair inside the Park Sheraton Hotel in a power play orchestrated by his underboss and successor Carlo Gambino.

September 12, 1964 – Rochester mafia boss Jake Russo disappears en route to a meeting at a mobbed up restaurant after offending Buffalo don Stefano Magaddino at a dinner months earlier to discuss Magaddino’s desire to take a piece of Russo’s gambling rackets.

June 28, 1971 – New York mob boss Joe Colombo is assassinated at Italian Unity Day in Columbus Circle, hanging around for seven more years before finally succumbing to his injuries. Colombo was at war with rogue capo “Crazy Joe” Gallo.

July 16, 1972 – Genovese crime family boss Thomas (Tommy Ryan) Eboli is gunned down leaving his girlfriend’s Crown Heights, Brooklyn amid a fallout with his own cabinet and mobsters from the Gambino clan over a drug debt.

June 19, 1975 – Former Chicago mob don Sam (Momo) Giancana is killed inside his own house after returning from years living as an expatriate making millions in gambling ventures in Mexico, the Caribbean and Middle East and not sharing with his gangland buddies in the Windy City.

July 12, 1979 – Bonanno crime family boss Carmine (The Cigar) Galante is assassinated as he ate lunch in Brooklyn on the patio of a friend’s restaurant. Gigante had isolated himself from his troops by importing Sicilian “Zips” to do his bidding and angered his fellow dons in New York’s Five Families with his brash and dismissive behavior.

March 21, 1980 – Philadelphia mob boss Angelo (The Docile Don) Bruno is felled by a shotgun blast to the back of the head as he sat smoking a cigarette in the passenger’s seat of his bodyguard’s car idling outside his South Philly row house. Bruno angered his consigliere “Tony Bananas” Caponigro and others regarding his policies towards drugs and the burgeoning gambling paradise that was Atlantic City. Caponigro thought he had the sanctioning of the mob’s national “Commission,” but he was duped and soon savagely executed himself.

March 15, 1981 – Philadelphia mob boss Philip (The Chicken Man) Testa is blown up via a nail bomb planted on his front porch in an ill-conceived palace coup hatched by his underboss Pete Casella and capos Frank Narducci and Frank Sindone. Narducci and Sindone would die gangland style in retribution, while Casella was exiled to Florida.

December 16, 1985 – Gambino crime family boss Paul Castellano dies in a hail of gunfire as he steps from his car to walk into a dinner at Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan, the victim of a power play launched by his rival and successor John Gotti.

December 12, 1986 – Luchese crime family acting boss Anthony (Buddy) Luongo is killed in the kitchen of a Brooklyn apartment after feuding with jailed Luchese don “Tony Ducks” Corrallo. Luongo was shot to death by his own protégé and successor Vic Amuso.

January 18, 1992 – New Jersey mob don John (Johnny Boy) D’Amato is killed when he is outed as being gay, shot by DeCalvacante crime family soldier Anthony Capo as they drove to lunch.

November 24, 2011 – One-time Bonanno crime family boss Salvatore (Sal the Ironworker) Montagna is murdered in an ambush at a private residence near Montreal, where he had set up shop upon being booted from New York and tried planting a flag.

March 13, 2019 – Gambino crime family street boss Frank (Frankie Boy) Cali is shot to death outside his Staten Island estate by a lovesick, conspiracy-theorist following Cali banning him from romantically pursuing his college-aged niece.