James R. Iannone (born January 1, 1914- died April 6, 2002) also known as "Danny Wilson", was a prominent soldier and labor racketeer in the Los Angeles crime family.
Iannone was born in New York and was a former prize-fighter and Sergeant in the US Army during WWII. He was said to have been a POW during the war. His father was an immigrant from Montanago, Campobasso, Molise Region, Italy who arrived in New York in 1903. Two years before moving to L.A. Iannone had escaped from a patrol wagon in Brooklyn after being arrested for robbery and had vanished from the New York scene where he also allegedly operated an extortion racket.
Iannone moved to California where he became a "made guy" in the Los Angeles crime family and began to go by the name of "Danny Wilson". He was inducted into the family in the 1940s by Los Angeles crime boss Jack Dragna. In Los Angeles, Iannone acquired a reputation as a muscleman but according to Jimmy "the weasel" Fratianno was in fact terrified of violence. Iannone had two brothers, John and Salvatore, the latter changed his name to "Sonny Vincent Wilson" when he moved to Las Vegas, Nevada where he worked at the Sands and MGM Grand Casinos before becoming a manager of the Aladdin Hotel & Casino.
Iannone was a reputed killer and an expert extortionist. He organized, and shook down movie extras controlling the calls for work from casting bureaus forcing movie extras to share their pay checks with the racketeers who controlled their jobs. If they failed to pay, the would-be extras were left jobless. The racket was worth thousands of dollars every week.
Hymie Miller murder
Iannone was identified by various witness's and was a prime suspect in the murder of Los Angeles movie extra and Cafe owner Hymie Miller, who was shot in his apartment and died days later in a hospital in November, 1937. His nose was shot off, and bullets pierced his neck, left hand and right thigh, newspapers reported that the gun was held so close to Miller that each shot left a powder burn. The cafe Miller owned was frequented mainly by small-time criminals and shady characters and the investigation into Miller's murder exposed the movie extras racket when police began to investigate Iannone and his activities. Detective Warren Hudson told the press: "Miller and Iannone, in addition to the 'loan shark' racket, had been engaged here in 'strong-arm jobs', and had, through connections with individuals at film studios, obtained jobs for extras, who in turn had to 'cut' their pay with the pair". It was believed that Iannone killed Miller over a dispute of their partnership. The press jumped on the story, publishing an article entitled "Racketeers bilk film extras for weekly tribute". It wasn't until 1940, more than two years after Hymie was killed, that Iannone was arrested. He was apparently acquitted of the Miller murder as no record exists of him being convicted.
Later years and Death
In March, 1950, Iannone was once again arrested, this time for allegedly killing two witnesses in a narcotics trial, amongst them one Abraham Davidian in Fresno, Calif., he also dodged a conviction in that case. Iannone was still active in labor racketeering into the 1960s and was identified in a senate investigation as a member of the Southern California based Los Angeles crime family. Iannone was found to be acting as a "labor adjuster" in the Los Angeles shoulder pad industry and was on the payroll of two shoulder pad companies, allegedly so Iannone would guarantee the companies labor peace. Iannone was once summoned before a Senate Rackets Committee and refused to answer any questions and was tried for contempt.
Iannone was also a shy lock and in later years operated primarily as a bookie and loan shark. James "Danny Wilson" Iannone died on April 6, 2002 of natural causes in Northridge, Los Angeles County, California.