Monday, January 14, 2019

My Washington Times Review Of 'Handsome Johnny: The Life And Death Of Johnny Rosselli: Gentleman Gangster, Hollywood Producer, CIA Assassin'

The Washington Times published my review of Handsome Johnny: The Life and Death of Johnny Rosselli: Gentleman Gangster, Hollywood Producer, CIA Assassin.

From the Prohibition era to the mid-1970s, Johnny Rosselli traveled first class through the nexus of Hollywood movies, Las Vegas gambling, shady business deals, secret government assassination plots and organized crime.

He always had money and tipped generously. He was always groomed perfectly. He was always with a beautiful actress. He was always seated at the best spot in a nightclub or restaurant. He was always in the company of wealthy and powerful men on the golf course and tennis court and at a card table. He was the intimate friend of movie studio bosses, casino bosses, major entertainers and notorious mobsters. He was called “Gentleman Johnny” or “Handsome Johnny.”

Johnny Rosselli lived a charmed life right up until he ended up dead in a 55-gallon oil drum floating in the Atlantic. 

Lee Server’s “Handsome Johnny: The Life and Death of Johnny Rosselli: Gentleman Gangster, Hollywood Producer, CIA Assassin” offers a complete picture of a smooth operator who began life as Filippo Sacco in Frosinone, Italy, on July 4, 1905. Raised in Boston, his early travels took him across the country to Chicago, where he changed his name and then changed his life.

In the 1950s, the FBI noticed that Rosselli spelled his name differently at times. Sometimes with double “s” and sometimes with only one “s.” The FBI thought that when a man spells his name differently in different years, something is definitely wrong.

“He covered his tracks well — his origins, his early years. The FBI was sure he was not who he said he was. But who was he? What was he hiding?” Mr. Server writes. “For a guy whom everybody in law enforcement knew about for decades — one of Al Capone’s boy wonders, the Mob’s man in Hollywood, big wheel in Las Vegas, the hundreds of pages of police reports in which he figured, numerous arrests and trials, headline convictions — he was a mystery.”

You can read the rest of my review via the below link:

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