- Richest Business › Criminals
- Net Worth:
- $100 Million
- Date of Birth:
- Feb 28, 1906 - Jun 20, 1947 (41 years old)
- Place of Birth:
- Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
- racketeer, gangster, hitman, casino owner
What was Bugsy Siegel's Net Worth?
Bugsy Siegel was an American mobster who had a net worth of $8 million at the time of his death, which is the same as around $100 million today after adjusting for inflation. He is known for being one of the most infamous and feared gangsters of his time. Bugsy Siegel was known for his influence in the National Crime Syndicate and his integral role in developing the Las Vegas Strip. He also co-founded the organized crime group Murder, Inc. and did bootlegging during Prohibition. In 1947, Siegel was shot and killed by a sniper while sitting in his girlfriend Virginia Hill's Beverly Hills mansion. He was 41 years old at the time of his death.
Bugsy Siegel was born as Benjamin Siegel on February 28, 1906 in Brooklyn, New York City as the second of five children of a poor Jewish immigrant family. His parents were Jennie and Max. Siegel got into crime early in life; restive in school, he left to join a gang on Manhattan's Lower East Side. He mostly committed thefts until meeting Moe Sedway, with whom he launched a protection racket. Siegel's criminal record grew steadily during his teenage and young adult years, with charges including armed robbery, murder, and rape.
The Bugs and Meyer Mob
Shortly after the beginning of Prohibition, Siegel was recruited by mobster Meyer Lansky to form the Jewish-American street gang the Bugs and Meyer Mob. In the early 20s, the group worked with Charles "Lucky" Luciano and his right-hand man Frank Costello. The Bugs and Meyer Mob recruited skilled gunmen, supplied bootleggers with stolen trucks, facilitated illegal gambling operations, and handled hits for various bootleg gangs in New York and New Jersey. Ultimately, the group was responsible for helping to decimate or subordinate most of its rival Italian-American gangs.
Following the Castellammarese War and the assassination of mob boss Salvatore Maranzano, Luciano created the Commission and established a Jewish-Italian criminal alliance that would become known as the National Crime Syndicate. Soon after this, Siegel and Lansky disbanded the Bugs and Meyer Mob and helped co-found Murder, Inc., the enforcement arm of the Syndicate. During its activity from roughly 1929 to 1941, Murder, Inc. carried out many hits.
In his years with Murder, Inc., Siegel faced only one conviction; he was arrested in early 1932 in Miami for gambling and vagrancy. After this, Siegel got into a major dispute with the Fabrizzo brothers, who had tried to assassinate him for sending their boss, Waxey Gordon, to prison. In response, Siegel hunted them down and killed them. Among his other notable murders, he killed rival loan sharks Louis and Joseph Amberg in 1935, and helped kill Harry Greenberg in 1939. For the latter homicide, Siegel was jailed before being acquitted on account of insufficient evidence in 1942.
Move to California
Under serious threat of reprisal from his enemies, Siegel was sent to California in the late 30s. In Los Angeles, he quickly got to work developing gambling rackets, teaming up with Jack Dragna and Mickey Cohen. Siegel used the money he made to help start a drug trade route from Mexico. Additionally, he took control of several offshore casinos and a prominent prostitution ring. Siegel built up his profile to the point he became a bona fide star who was welcomed into the upper echelons of Hollywood society. He associated with such celebrities as Clark Gable, Cary Grant, Gary Cooper, and Jean Harlow, as well as with major studio executives such as Jack Warner and Louis B. Mayer. Siegel was notorious for taking loans from movie stars without paying them back.
In the mid-40s, Siegel relocated to Las Vegas, where he saw many opportunities for gambling. He soon took control of the Flamingo Hotel from William R. Wilkerson, whom he coerced into the sale under threat of death. Subsequently, the Flamingo became syndicate-run. The operation experienced numerous setbacks from the get-go, including loud construction noise, a broken air conditioning system, unfinished luxury rooms, and bad weather. By early 1947, the Flamingo shut down. However, Siegel got a second chance and got to work on renovations and generating positive PR. The Flamingo reopened a couple months later and started turning a profit.
Personal Life and Death
Siegel married his childhood sweetheart, Esta Krakower, in early 1929. Together, they had two daughters named Millicent and Barbara. However, due to Siegel's prolific womanizing, the couple divorced in 1946. During the decade, Siegel was romantically involved with actress Wendy Barrie and organized crime figure Virginia Hill.
On June 20, 1947, Siegel was sitting with his associate Allen Smiley in the Beverly Hills home of Virginia Hill when a sniper shot him multiple times through the window. He was killed instantly. No charges were made, and the killer was never identified. Photos of his corpse were published in papers across the country, and his connection to Las Vegas propelled that city into the national spotlight.
As one of the first "celebrity" gangsters, Siegel remains an outsize, mythic figure in the popular imagination. He has been depicted countless times in movies and television, perhaps most famously in Warren Beatty's 1991 biographical drama "Bugsy," with Beatty playing Siegel. He was also depicted on the television series "Boardwalk Empire," "Mob City," and "The Making of the Mob: New York."