Lucky Factor

Luciano felt that Great Meadow was a great place to visit, but didnít want to live there. Shortly after his arrival there, he was hospitalized for iritis of his right eye, the eyelid which had drooped ever since his ordeal back in 1929. He recovered and would soon be healthy enough to be assigned chores in the cement shack . He attended no chapel services and never set foot in a classroom. Afterall, what trade could he learn for life on the outside?

Lucky didn’t break a single prison rule and was considered a model prisoner. Friends dropped by on a frequent basis, especially Meyer Lansky. However, there were other visitors that Lucky didn’t know, but expected.

The Allies in war torn Europe were about to launch an invasion of Sicily. The U.S. could use some help in acquiring intelligence on German troop movements and other vital military information. The U.S. had reason to believe the Mafia wanted the Axis forces off the island, so that they could get back to peace and prosperity for its own purposes. Naval Intelligence made numerous unrecorded visits to Great Meadow to solicit help from Lucky. Can he get word to the Mafia leaders on Sicily asking for help? Lucky assured them he could, and it was later proven he did.

Lucky enjoys a glass in retirement (63502 bytes)
Lucky enjoys a glass of wine in retirement 
Lucky did what you would call easy-time at Great Meadow. He could get anything he wanted—booze, good food, and reportedly women. With his service to the U.S. government, he felt this justified an early release from prison. At war’s end and in a strange twist of fate, the person who could grant commutation of sentence was also the person who put him in jail, Thomas Dewey, who was now the Governor of New York.

Maybe Dewey felt obligated in giving Luciano a break because he had heard about Dutch Schultz’s intention on having him killed and how Luciano disposed of Dutch instead. At any rate, in January, 1946, Dewey granted commutation of sentence with the condition that he be deported to Italy. Dewey found that Lucky never became a naturalized citizen in his own right.

At 8:50 a.m., Sunday, February 10, 1946, Charles "Lucky" Luciano set sail away from America aboard the S.S Laura Keene. Ready to begin a new life in the old country, yet never gave up hope of return. He never did, alive.

The Italian government gave strict rules on Luciano’s livelihood. He could venture no more than a few miles from Naples and had to tell them about any visitors from outside Italy. That was a rule he broke frequently. He still conducted business back in the states through runners and even the telephone. His friendship with Meyer Lansky began to sour in the late 1950s, because he felt Meyer was cutting him out on more lucrative deals back in the States. Regardless, Lucky remained a very rich man.

Lucky’s heart was weak and he suffered several heart attacks. On January 26, 1962, he was scheduled to meet a scriptwriter who was to do a story about him. Upon greeting him at the Naples airport, he clutched his chest, face contorted, and died of a massive heart attack. Only after his death was Lucky Luciano allowed to come back to the United States. He is buried at St. John’s Cemetery in New York City.

grave.jpg (15019 bytes)
Lucky's Final Resting Place

1. Cosa Nostra

2. A Gangster is Born

3. The Long Ride

4. Castellammarese War

5. My Friend Meyer

6. Murder, Inc

7. Living Large

8. Not So Lucky

9. Lucky Factor

10. Bibliography

11. The Author
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