Occupation: American Gangster
Al Capone was born in Brooklyn to Italian immigrants and began his career there until he moved to Chicago in his early twenties and became the boss of a criminal organization, the Chicago Outfit.
During the prohibition era, the Outfit amassed great wealth through prostitution, gambling and bootlegging. These funds were used to solidify Capone’s grip on the political and law-enforcement establishments in Chicago and, of course, allowed him to indulge in a luxurious lifestyle.
Although he was never convicted of racketeering charges, Capone was indicted for tax evasion and sentenced to prison but such was his power, that he was still able to run his empire from his cell. After his release in 1939, he returned to his home in Florida but his health had significantly deteriorated due to the syphilis he had contracted in his youth.
Why he’s on the list:
Al Capone went from saloon bouncer to the leading crime boss of Chicago in only six years. He became known worldwide and was admired by many for his disregard of the Prohibition. Today, he has become the stereotype for mobsters, crime lords and criminal masterminds.
And it’s this attitude of absolute power and freedom to act, of doing whatever he wanted because he owned the city, that places him on this list.
“You can get much farther with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word alone.”