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Colombo Mafia family legend “Sonny” Franzese dead at 103 – A man must have a code


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David Amoruso

Feb. 24 2020

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Colombo crime family underboss John “Sonny” Franzese passed away yesterday. He was 103 years old. Though there are many words to describe this mob legend: Hitman, gangster, hustler, extortionist, porn movie financier, father - the word that truly defined Franzese throughout his career is omerta, the Mafia’s code of silence. He lived and died by it.

Franzese once told an associate: “I killed a lot of guys. ... You're not talking about four, five, six, ten.” He was a feared and favored hitman within the New York Mafia’s Colombo crime family, but was also highly respected for his ability to switch between vicious killer and intelligent businessman with an amazing ability to earn money.

The rackets and some porn

He financed the classic porn movie “Deep Throat.” The movie was made in 1972 for a “cheap” $22,000 and would go on to gross over $600 million dollars. Franzese was also involved in more traditional rackets such as robbery, extortion, gambling, and narcotics.

But despite earning high grades in all these areas, he was best-known within the underworld for his willingness to do time and keep his mouth shut. He took a 50-year sentence without blinking and would eventually serve almost 40 years behind bars. At 100 years of age he was the oldest inmate in the prison system.

Mafia father and sons

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