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Cover image for Handsome Johnny : the life and death of Johnny Rosselli : gentleman gangster, Hollywood producer, CIA assassin / Lee Server.
Title:
Handsome Johnny : the life and death of Johnny Rosselli : gentleman gangster, Hollywood producer, CIA assassin / Lee Server.
Author:
ISBN:
9780312566685
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : St. Martin's Press, 2018.

©2018
Physical Description:
532 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 25 cm
Abstract:
The Mob's 'Man in Hollywood,' Johnny Rosselli introduced big-time crime to the movie industry, corrupting unions and robbing moguls in the biggest extortion plot in history. He befriended many of the biggest names in the movie capital and seduced some of its greatest female stars. In a remarkable turn of events, Rosselli himself would become a Hollywood filmmaker, producing two of the best film noirs of the 1940s. Following years in federal prison, he oversaw the birth and heyday of Las Vegas. Working for new Chicago boss Sam Giancana, he became the gambling mecca's behind-the-scenes boss. Server provides an amazing tale of organized crime as corporate power. -- adapted from jacket.
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364.1092 ROS SER Book Adult Biography
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Summary

Summary

A singular figure in the annals of the American underworld, Johnny Rosselli's career flourished for an extraordinary half century, from the bloody years of bootlegging in the Roaring Twenties as the last protégé of Al Capone to the modern era of organized crime as a dominant corporate power. The Mob's "Man in Hollywood," Johnny Rosselli introduced big-time crime to the movie industry, corrupting unions and robbing moguls in the biggest extortion plot in history. A man of great allure and glamour, Rosselli befriended many of the biggest names in the movie capital--including studio boss Harry Cohn, helping him to fund Columbia Pictures--and seduced some of its greatest female stars, including Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe. In a remarkable turn of events, Johnny himself would become a Hollywood filmmaker--producing two of the best film noirs of the 1940s. Following years in federal prison, Rosselli began a new venture, overseeing the birth and heyday of Las Vegas. Working for new Chicago boss Sam Giancana, Rosselli became the gambling mecca's behind-the-scenes boss, running the town from his suites and poolside tables at the Tropicana and Desert Inn, enjoying the Rat Pack nightlife with pals Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. In the 1960s, in the most unexpected chapter in an extraordinary life, Rosselli became the central figure in a bizarre plot involving the Kennedy White House, the CIA, and an attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro. Based upon years of research, written with compelling style and vivid detail, Handsome Johnny is the great telling of an amazing tale.


Author Notes

LEE SERVER is the author of the best-selling and critically acclaimed biographies Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don't Care and Ava Gardner: Love is Nothing. Robert Mitchum was named a Best Book of the Year by the Los Angeles Times, "the film biography of the year" by the Sunday Times (U.K.) and one of the "60 Greatest Film Books." Ava Gardner was a New York Times Notable Book, and a New York Times, Los Angeles Times and USA Today bestseller. He lives in Palm Springs, California.


Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Server (Robert Mitchum: "Baby, I Don't Care") traces the astounding life of gentleman gangster Johnny Rosselli in this exhilarating, exhaustively researched account, revealing how the dapper Al Capone protégé befriended mobsters and glamorous movie stars, and seduced beautiful showgirls while smoothly corrupting Hollywood unions and local politicians for more than 50 years. Rosselli rose from the poverty of a Boston ghetto to the top echelons of the underworld, directing extortion of golden age Hollywood unions and studio chiefs, supervising the criminal heyday of Las Vegas, and participating in a Fidel Castro assassination plot, as well as producing two critically acclaimed film noirs. Server employs evocative phrasing ("Politics, showbiz, sex, crime: come together that season like dirty water clogging a drain, and Johnny wielding the plunger") to luridly examine the shady underbelly of movies, moguls, and politics from the 1930s through the '60s, all through the prism of the charming Rosselli. Filled with crackerjack writing and Damon Runyonesque characters, this entertaining page-turner is a rich look at one of organized crime's most intriguing characters. Agent: Michael Bourret, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


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