Mafia Nickname Tradition Carries On

FILE - In this April 12, 1999 file photo, Luigi Manocchio listens during his trial for receiving stolen goods in Providence, R.I., Superior Court. Manocchio, reputed leader of New England's Patriarca crime family, was arrested Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., as federal agents rounded up more than 100 suspected mobsters in several states. (AP Photo/Matt York, File). AP Photo/Matt York, File

The most notorious mobsters on film and in real life had unforgettable nicknames -- Al Capone had "Scarface" and Benjamin Siegel's was "Bugsy." On "The Sopranos" there was "Big Pussy" and "Sack." In "Casino," Robert De Niro's character, Sam Rothstein's was "Ace." With Thursday's arrest of 125 East Coast mobsters comes the age-old tradition of colorful and comedic mafioso nicknames, among them: "Vito Love," "Hootie" and "Burger."

Not every mobster has a nickname; some have multiple monikers. Nicknames can come from family, business associates, the press or the police. Al Capone got his when he got slashed in the face after insulting a woman at a Brooklyn night club, leaving scars. Newspapers started calling Benjamin Siegel (who was embarrassed by his nickname) "Bugsy" which came from "bugs," slang for crazy.

Below is a sampling of some La Cosa Nostra mobsters who were arrested on Jan. 20, and their roles and nicknames:

Joseph Corozzo aka "JoJo" - at various times a soldier, a captain and a consigliore in the organized crime family.

Michael Roccaforte aka "Roc" - Part of Alphonse Trucchio's (participant of Gambino organized crime family) crew.

Vincenzo Frogiero aka "Vinny Carwash" - A soldier in the Gambino crime family.

Frank Bellantoni aka "Meatball" - A member of Trucchio's crew.

Christopher Reynolds aka "Burger" - A member of Trucchio's crew.

Michael Russo aka "Mush" - A member of Trucchio's crew.

Anthino Russo aka "Hootie" - A member of Trucchio's crew.

John Brancaccio aka "Johnny Bandana" - A member of Trucchio's crew.

Vito Cortesiano aka Vito Love - An associate in the Gambino crime family.

Luigi "Louie" Manocchio aka "Baby Shacks", "The Old Man" and "The Professor" - A member, underboss and boss who reportedly received monthly cash protection payments from strip club owners in Providence, R.I., and the reputed leader of New England's Patriarca crime family.

Bartolomeo Vernace aka "Pepe", "Bobby", "Bobby Glasses" and "Robert" - An associate, soldier and captain in the Gambino crime family as well as part of the ruling panel formed to oversee the family.
  • Ann Binlot

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