Every other small time criminal wants to join the league of most famous gangsters of all time. Gangsters run organized crime syndicates that involve other mafias and mob bosses. The sole purpose of these professional criminal organizations is to earn a lot of money through illegal ways. Such criminal organizations are not new and have been in existence since the 1800s. As of today thousands of criminal gangs are operating all over the world including India, Pakistan, Russia, China, Korea, Britain, America, European and African countries. Some gangs operate in one state or country while many others operate on a global scale. Bosses of such gangs become notorious all over the world.
Here we take a look on the 10 most notorious gangsters of all time. This list includes most feared gangsters and gangsters who are still alive:
Most Famous Gangsters Of All Time
10. Dawood Ibrahim
Dawood Ibrahim is the head of one of the most famous gangs in crime history – The D Company. According to many intelligence agencies, Dawood is running the largest syndicated crime empire in the world. His total net worth is estimated to be $8 billion. Most of Dawood’s money comes from Hawala system along with smuggling and ransom. Dawood was born in 1955. He along with elder brother Shabbir formed D-Company in 1976. He is one of the biggest gangsters in the world today.
9. Bugsy Siegel
Although you can make a Hollywood movie on the life of all these notorious gangsters but Bugsy Siegel is probably the most colourful character among them all. He not only claimed the tag of most feared gangster of all his time but also rose to the fame of a celebrity status that only a handful of gangsters gained. The mannerism of Joe Pesci’s character in Goodfellas was very much inspired by the short-tempered Bugsy Siegel. Bugsy’s full name was Benjamin Siegel and I am lucky that he is not alive for I am using the nickname ’Bugsy’ that he hated the most. You won’t believe that he killed several people just because they called him from his cute nickname. Bugsy was linked with many popular Hollywood celebrities. It was rumored that Bugsy used to invest in Hollywood movies. Apart from this Bugsy is claimed to be the man who formed the famous Las Vegas casino strip. He was the leader of the famous gang Murder, Inc.
8. Tony Accardo
With a career of 8 long decades to his credit, Antonino Joseph Accardo was surely one of the most popular mob bosses of all time. Tony accardo was given the title of Joe Batters by Al Capone himself. Scarface Al called Tony Joe Batters due to his use of baseball bat to kill people. To say that Tony actually worked very hard to earn this nickname would be a shame. I mean the man really took his ‘profession’ seriously. He wished to rise to the ranks of mob bosses and with his ‘hard work’ he actually became one of the most dangerous gangsters of all time. Tony worked as a hit man for Capone in the prohibition era. Due to his smart understanding about the ‘business’, Capone and his fellow gangsters agreed to give Chicago to Tony Accardo. Tony did every illegal business you can imagine and became the most wanted man in the 1950s. He was active gangster till his death in 1992 (aged 86).
7. Meyer Lansky
People dream of owning a Multinational Corporation. Meyer Lansky dreamed of owning a National level crime syndicate. His dream came true when at the young age of 24 he formed National Crime Syndicate along with Charles ‘Lucky’ Luciano. Meyer Lansky was called a neat gangster as he was never found guilty in any murder or kidnapping. His only crime was illegal gambling and this made him one of the richest gangsters of all time. His estimated net worth at the time of his death (1983) was around $600 million. Meyer Lansky was close associate of Lucky Luciano. He said his best friend was Bugsy Siegel who is already mentioned above.
6. James Whitey Bulger
James ‘Whitey’ Bulger is one of the most famous gangsters alive in the world today. He was born in 1929 and lived a fascinated life. Probably that is why he was subject of several Hollywood crime movies including Martin Scorsese’s The Departed and Black Mass (biopic). Its hard to believe that James was once a US Air force mechanic. But the young Whitey Bulger was always attracted to the dark side of the force. He was discharged from the air force in 1952 after serving for four years. But his criminal activities soon landed him to the famous Alcatraz prison. He tried to escape it but you know no one ever escaped the prison (except just one time). Whitey became a loan shark in later years then FBI informant and then drug mafia. He was arrested in 2011 after being on the FBI’s Top 10 most wanted list for 16 long years.
5. Frank Costello
One cannot simply earn the nickname of ‘Prime Minister’ for mere thefts and illegal activities. One has to have power not just in the underworld but also in politics. Frank Costello was probably the only gangster who holds true to this nickname. Frank was a royal gangster who has his own set of rules for the ‘business’. He was the head of Luciano crime family. Marlon Brando’s Vito Corleone (in ‘The Godfather’) was very much based on Frank Costello. Not only Brando used mannerism of Frank but he also adapted the looks of aged Frank Costello. Frank never approved drug trafficking. Also he never demanded huge share of profits and always divided equally among the family members. Only If our politicians were honest like him.
4. Griselda Blanco
Griselda Blanco actually showed that women are not far behind from men in any business. She was not just one of the most famous female gangsters of all time but also one of the most feared gangsters in the world. Blanco was born in 1943 in Colombia. Blanco is one among the many gangsters who made Colombia infamous for its drug trafficking business. She gained the nickname of Black Widow after she killed her second husband (and his SIX bodyguards) single handily in a gun battle outside a night club. She is also credited for inventing Drive-by shooting. After serving as drug lord for 5 decades, Blanco was shot dead in drive-by shooting in 2012.
3. John Dillinger
Of all the gangsters Johnny depp has ever played, John Dillinger his favourite (and mine too). The man earned the title of modern day Robinhood in some territories. John Dillinger became a gangster at the age of 20 (1923). Although he spent most of his time in jail but he gained a celebrity status due to his clever escapes from jails. One time he escaped the prison just with a wooden gun. John Dillinger was a loyal friend and helped many of his fellow gangsters escape. He could have gone underground at the time but he decided to help his friends. Apart from robbing banks, John also robbed police stations. In his decade long career John looted $500K but the government spent $2 million to catch him. John was shot dead in 1934. But somehow the man gained a huge fan following and even today he is considered a legend. While reading this please listen to the track ‘Ten Million Slaves’ by Otis Taylor.
2. Pablo Escobar
Pablo Escobar lived a ridiculously lavish life. Most people reading this list already know about Pablo but if you are among the one who don’t – Pablo died with a net worth of $30 BILLION in the 1990s (pull up that Jaw). This is equal to $180 Billion in modern day currency. That is twice of Bill Gates Net worth (World’s richest man). Pablo had his own personal zoo that was home to many exotic animals including Hippos, tigers and lions. The Colombian druglord killed thousands people including judges and police men. Pablo once burnt $2 million during a hideout just because her daughter was feeling cold. Escobar has private jets just to fill his cash. Escobar offered to pay the $10 billion debt of Colombia only in exchange of freedom. When Pablo was alive, He frequently made it to the list of world’s richest people. He owned hundreds of planes, Helicopters, Yachts and even Submarines. Take that Dan Bilzerian. Also, rats ate around 10% of Pablo’s cash.
1. Al Capone
Believe it or not but whenever a Hollywood actor is given a gangster role he is advised to study the life of Al capone so that he can understand his role better. On a scale of popularity from 0 to 10, Capone scored a solid 11. Capone was dubbed as scarface by media due to a huge scar on his face. But Capone hated his nickname (just like all other gangsters hated their nicknames). Also like other gangsters, Capone loved to help poor and that is why he gained the nickname of modern day robinhood. Capone was one of the richest gangsters of all time and served as inspiration to the up and coming gangsters world-wide.
This was our list of 10 most notorious gangsters of all time. Please don’t get inspired from these people as they were public enemy number 1 of their time. There are many other ways to get rich. See Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Jack Ma. Follow them. Not these Gangsters.