It seems like there is a never-ending supply of inspiration for Hollywood when it comes to a good villain. Most of the time, the muse behind famous movie villains was actually a real person. Take The Godfather, for instance. It’s no secret that the movie is based on Carlo Gambino’s life. The real-life mobster truly excelled at what he did, leaving a sort of legacy behind. He wasn’t the only notorious criminal to make a name for himself. There were many masterminds throughout the years who’ve really pushed the boundaries in the world of crime. Let’s take a look at some of them, shall we?
It might be obvious, but Al Capone was most likely the most famous mobster in history. A master of public relations, Al Capone was well-received overall by Chicago citizens. Despite the fact that his mob name was “Scarface”, people called him “Robin Hood” and even cheered whenever he made a public appearance. The reason for his adoration turned out to be a result of numerous donations he’d made and his support of multiple local charities. However, in 1931, he was convicted of tax evasion.
Albert Spaggiari was a notoriously clever French bank robber. In fact, his group was said to have stolen about $20 million from a bank. When he finally was caught, he was still able to escape. He confused the judge with a fake piece of evidence before he jumped out of the window during the trial and landed safely on a parked car before riding away on a planted motorcycle. The criminal was never caught until he died in 1989. That was when his body was found in his mother’s backyard.
Billy the Kid
You might have heard of Billy the Kid, but in case you haven’t, he was a known outlaw back in the 1800s. Between 1877 and 1881, he was involved in the shooting deaths of nine men – at least four of which he killed alone. In late 1880, the criminal was tracked down by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett and forced to surrender. However, in April 1881, on the night before Billy was scheduled for a date with a hangman, he orchestrated a daring getaway. He managed to slip out of his handcuffs, ambush a guard, and get away from the prison.
Jeffrey Allen Manchester
Jeffrey Allen Machester broke out of prison and then proceeded to hide out in Toys R Us for a few months. This led to his name, the Toys R Us Bandit. While he was in hiding, he managed to pose as a member of the local church and even found himself a girlfriend from the congregation. Well, he was in the process of planning another robbery when the police caught up to him. His girlfriend actually ended up turning him in.
This Cantonese woman who is now a legend led a very impressive life. She became the ruler of one of the biggest pirate fleers in history. Not to mention, the mastermind behind the floating criminal empire that couldn’t even be stopped by the Chinese military. Ching Shih married a pirate commander named Ching Yih in 1801. Soon, she ruled by his side as he grew his pirate empire. In 1807, when her husband suddenly died, Ching Shih knew just what to do – she stepped in to claim the leadership for herself and took control of somewhere between 40,000 and 60,000 pirates. Through her management, she turned the pirate empire into a highly organized business, which made her a very wealthy woman.
Charles Manson was a songwriter that used his unusual amount of charisma to create his very own cult named the Manson Family. His intention was to begin a race war. However, he soon was caught and imprisoned for several murders. All the same, he managed to become a pop culture icon from behind prison bars. To this day, his character and cult are famous for their doings and ideologies. In 2017, Manson died while in prison.
Hassan and Abbas O
In 2009, a robbery took place at KaDeWe in Berlin. Almost $7 million worth in jewelry was stolen. At the scene of the crime, police were able to recover traces of a person’s DNA. However, this person just so happened to have a twin brother. Soon enough, it was discovered that one of the twins was involved in the robbery. However, it was impossible to determine which one it was, so the police were forced to release both of them.
Now infamous for his heinous crimes, Ted Bundy was an American serial killer who kidnapped, raped and killed numerous young women during the 1970s. After denying his crimes for over a decade, he was executed in 1989 after confessing to 30 homicides he committed between 1974 and 1978. The real amount of victims he’s killed is still unknown. Ted was caught for the first time in 1975 and put in jail. That’s when he became a suspect of a longer list of homicides in several different states. However, before being imprisoned for good, the criminal was able to escape prison twice.
You might not know this, but Carlo Gambino is the Italian mobster who inspired the famous movie, The Godfather. In fact, the movie was loosely based on his life. He pretty much ran New York’s mob scene for quite a few years. Despite the fact that he was connected to countless crimes, Carlo was never actually arrested. That isn’t to say that he wasn’t chased by the authorities, because he was.
Jack the Ripper
You’ve probably heard of Jack the Ripper at some point, and for good reason. The unidentified serial killer was active in impoverished areas in and around the Whitechapel district in London in 1888. All of Jack’s victims were females who lived and worked in the slums of the East End of London. In September and October of 1888, media outlets and Scotland Yard received a lot of letters from people claiming to be the killer. However, the real killer was never caught. In fact, the legends surrounding these crimes became part of pop culture over the years.