"I never lie because I don't fear anyone. You only lie when you're afraid." –John Gotti
I found it appropriate to share this fascinating piece of history since our film revolves around it: Mafia in NY. Let’s start with a BIG one… John Gotti.
John Gotti was born on October 27, 1940, in the South Bronx NY. He was the fifth of thirteen children of Italian immigrant parents, and would face run-ins with the law throughout his life.
On March 6, 1962, Gotti married 17-year-old Victoria DiGiorgio. At the time of their marriage, DiGiorgio had already given birth to their first child, Angela, and was pregnant with their second.
When he and his family made the move to Ozone Park in Queens, New York, the budding criminal quickly became a major player in the Gambino hijacking crew.
In 1968, Gotti served his first major sentence when the FBI charged him and his two accomplices with committing cargo thefts near John F. Kennedy Airport. All three men were convicted of hijacking and sentenced to three years in prison.
In May of 1973, while Gotti was captain of Fatico's crew, he committed his first murder: the shooting death of Jimmy McBratney, a rival gang member who kidnapped and murdered a member of the Gambino family. Several bystanders identified him but at his trial he cut a deal with court and served 4 ears in prison.
In March of 1980, personal tragedy hit the Gotti family when neighbor John Favara hit 12-year-old Frank Gotti with his car after the boy steered his bike into traffic. The death was ruled accidental, but witnesses say Gotti’s wife later attacked Favara with a metal baseball bat, sending him to the hospital. Favara decided not to press charges. According to witnesses, Favara endured four months of death threats until July 28, 1980, the day he was clubbed over the head and shoved into a van. His body was never found. Gotti and his family deny any knowledge of his whereabouts.
On December 16, 1985, after Paul Castellano, the head of the Gambino crime family, was gunned down while eating at the Sparks Steak House in Manhattan, Gotti was made the new boss of the Gambino family.
Gotti became the mob's symbol of invincibility, fixing juries to slip away from the law, and earned the name "Teflon Don" because charges against him "just wouldn't stick."
The FBI then turned the conviction of Gotti into an organizational crusade. After pressuring the Gambino family's new underboss, Sammy Gravano, into testifying against Gotti, the mob leader was finally convicted of murder and racketeering on April 2, 1992.
John Gotti remained in jail until June 10, 2002, when he died in the federal prison hospital from complications with head and neck cancer.