Paul Castellano

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Constantino Paul "Big Paul" Castellano (June 26, 1915 – December 16, 1985), also known as "The Howard Hughes of the Mob" and "Big Paulie" (or "PC" to his family), was an American Mafia boss in New York City. He succeeded Carlo Gambino as head of the Gambino crime family, at the time, the nation's largest Mafia family. In 1985, he was one of many Mafia bosses arrested on charges of racketeering, which was to result in the Mafia Commission Trial; in December of that year, while out on bail, Castellano and his bodyguard were shot to death outside Sparks Steak House in Manhattan on the orders of John Gotti.

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Early life

Castellano was born Constantino Paul Castellano in Brooklyn in 1915, to Giuseppe Castellano and Concetta (née Casatu). Paul's father was a butcher and an early member of the Mangano crime family, the forerunner of the Gambino family. Paul Castellano was the first cousin to Major General Vito Castellano[1] a commander of the New York National Guard and chief of staff for Governor Mario Cuomo.[2]

In 1934, Castellano was arrested for the first time. The 19-year-old Castellano refused to identify his two accomplices to the police and served a three-month prison sentence. By refusing to cooperate with authorities, Castellano enhanced his reputation for mob loyalty. Castellano often signed his name as "C. Paul Castellano" because he hated his first name, Constantino. Eventually he became known as Paul. Castellano was a big man standing at 6'2 1/2" (189 cm) and weighed a hefty 270 pounds; with this stature many other mob guys steered out of his way. In the 1940s, Castellano became a member of the Mangano family and was named a capo under boss Vince Mangano's successor, Albert Anastasia. In 1957, after Anastasia's murder and Carlo Gambino's elevation to boss, Castellano attended the abortive Apalachin Conference in Apalachin, New York.

With his butcher's background, Castellano launched a successful wholesale poultry distribution business that, at its height, supplied 300 butchers in New York. His customers included two of the largest supermarket chains in the city, Key Food and Waldbaum's.

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