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Mafia Wiki

Frank Scalise

Francesco "Frank" Scalice, also spelled Scalise, (1893 – June 17, 1957) known as "Don Ciccio" and "Wacky", was an Italian-American mobster active in New York City, who led the Gambino crime family from 1930 to 1931, and was underboss from 1951 to 1957.


Scalice was born in 1893. At some point he emigrated to the U.S., settling in the Bronx. He operated his business from the Little Italy area in the Bronx. He also lived and raised his family in the City Island section of the Bronx. He was involved in many crimes, and became capo in the Brooklyn-based gang of Salvatore D'Aquila. After the murder of D'Aquila on October 10, 1928, the power in New York shifted to Joe Masseria Manhattan-based gang. The successor of D'Aquila, Alfred Mineo connected Masseria with the alliance, and came to conflict with Scalice.

On November 5, 1930, boss Alfred Mineo and his underboss Steve Ferrigno were murdered by Castellammarese Sicilians led by Salvatore Maranzano. Scalice became the new boss of the family and a strong ally and supporter of Maranzano in the Castellammarese War.

The Castellammarese War ended on April 15, 1931 when Giuseppe Masseria was killed. Maranzano met with the New York bosses in May 1931 to work out a peace plan and establish the Mafia Commission. Scalice was given a seat on the Commission and recognized as head of his family. However, after the murder of Maranzano on September 10, 1931, new boss Lucky Luciano forced Scalice to resign as family boss. He was replaced with Vincent Mangano.

On September 8, 1945, Scalice helped mobster Bugsy Siegel open the Flamingo Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Scalice later on came to find himself involved in the casino business, as he was positioned to be the manager of the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas shortly before he died. His son Joseph Scalise was later involved in several criminal murders.


On June 17, 1957, Scalice was assassinated by two gunmen at a vegetable market on 2380 Arthur Avenue in the Bronx section of New York. the reason he was murdered was because he was selling made man membership in the Gambino crime family for $50,000 this broke the rules of the Mafia.

Scalice's funeral was held at the Scocozza Funeral Home in the Bronx. Police and federal agents attended the funeral and the Bronx District Attorney subpoenaed all the visitor records. Scalice was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. After his death, Carlo Gambino became Anastasia's underboss, and this led to the assassination of Albert Anastasia on October 25, 1957.

Popular culture

  • Scalise's assassination in a street market is similar to the assassination attempt on Vito Corleone in the classic film The Godfather, Mario Puzo may have been inspired by the Scalise hit and used it in his novel.