Angelo "The Gentle Don" Bruno (born Angelo Annaloro; May 21, 1910 – March 21, 1980) was a Sicilian-American mobster who was the boss of the Philadelphia Crime Family for over 20 years. Bruno gained his nickname and reputation due to his preference for conciliation over violence. For over two decades, Bruno ruled Philadelphia and Atlantic City with an iron fist, controlling most businesses, industries, companies, labor unions, cops, judges, politicians, and local government of both cities.
Born in Villalba, Sicily, Bruno emigrated to the United States in his teens and settled in Philadelphia. The son of a grocer, Bruno was a close associate of New York Gambino crime family boss Carlo Gambino. Bruno was a cousin of mobster John Simone. Bruno dropped the name Annaloro and replaced it with his paternal grandmother's maiden name, Bruno.
Bruno was married to Sue Maranca and had two children. Bruno owned an extermination company in Trenton, New Jersey, an aluminum products company in Hialeah, Florida, and a share in the Plaza Hotel in Havana, Cuba. Bruno's first arrest was in 1928 for reckless driving. Subsequent arrests included firearms violations, operating an illicit alcohol still, illegal gambling, and receiving stolen lmao
He earned his nickname "The Gentle Don" after refusing to kill a rival mobster by the name of Antonio Pollina "Mr. Miggs", during the 1950's, both were front runners to become the new official Boss of the Philadelphia mafia after the deportation of Joe Ida, Bruno gained the approval and backing of the Commission to become the new boss with the help of his old friend and ally Carlo Gambino. In 1959, Bruno succeeded Joseph Ida as boss of the Philadelphia family. Over the next 20 years, Bruno successfully avoided the intense media and law enforcement scrutiny and outbursts of violence that plagued other crime families. Bruno himself avoided lengthy prison terms despite several arrests; his longest term was two years for refusing to testify to a grand jury. Bruno did not allow his crime family to be involved in narcotics trafficking, preferring more traditional La Cosa Nostra operations such as extortion, illegal gambling, labor racketeering, prostitution, pornography, bookmaking, numbers game, and loan sharking. However, Bruno did allow other gangs and criminals to distribute narcotics in Philadelphia and Atlantic City for a very large share of the proceeds. This arrangement angered some family members who wanted a share of the drug dealing profits.
Bruno preferred to operate through bribery and peace-making rather than violence, brutality and murder, though he did order a'lot of murders and violence, but only if need be. For instance, he banished an extremely violent soldier, Nicodemo Scarfo, to the then-backwater of Atlantic City for being far too violent, psychotic and bloodthirsty and was tired of Scarfo committing so many unnecessary brutal murders that would cause too much attention.
Later in his tenure, Bruno had to deal with the Five Families desire to operate in the increasingly and incredibly lucrative Atlantic City gambling industry. The Five Families thought Atlantic City was far too lucrative for the Philadelphia crime family to get all of the action, even though Atlantic City had long been regarded as the Philadelphia's Mafia's turf. While under Mafia rules, they couldn't set up shop or a power base in Atlantic City without Bruno's consent, Bruno knew better than to try to challenge the omnipotent Five Families, Each family was far more powerful, influential and dangerous than the Philadelphia crime family, and each family of the Five Families were so much larger than Bruno's crime family, and Bruno knew that any attempt to challenge the mighty, omnipotent and invincible Five Families, could lead to his death and the eradication of his whole empire and his whole crime family. Instead, he allowed them to operate in Atlantic City in exchange for a sizable cut of their profits.
Rebellion and death
Several factions within the Philadelphia family began conspiring to betray the aging Bruno. On March 21, 1980, the 70 year-old Bruno was killed by a shotgun blast in the back of the head as he sat in his Cadillac Seville, with him at the time of his murder was future Boss of the Philadelphia mob John Stanfa, who at the time was Bruno's driver. It is believed that the killing was ordered by Antonio Caponigro (aka Tony Bananas), Bruno's consigliere. A couple weeks later, Caponigro's body was found stuffed in a body bag in the trunk of a car in East Harlem, New York City. About $300 in bills were jammed in his mouth and anus (to be interpreted as signs of greed). The Commission had ordered Caponigro's murder because he assassinated Bruno without their sanction. There were eight other Philadelphia mafia members involved in Bruno's murder who were all brutally tortured and killed on the orders from the Commission.
After Caponigro's murder, Philip Testa led the Philadelphia mafia for one year until he was killed by a nail bomb at his home by several rival members in the Philadelphia mafia. Testa's death resulted from an attempt by Peter Casella, Testa's underboss, and Frank "Chickie" Narducci, a Philadelphia mafia capo, to become the Philadelphia boss and underboss. After Testa's death, Nicodemo Scarfo took over the Philadelphia mob. In the ensuing years, the Philadelphia crime family would be decimated by government informants, more infighting, and the prosecutions of Scarfo and other mobsters.