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Audie Murphy and the Mob

Retired Intelligence Detective Gary Jenkins brings you the best in mob history with his unique perception of the mafia. Gary found a little-known story about a famous WW2 war hero/movie star who took on Fifi Bucceri of the Chicago Outfit.
Audie Murphy was the most decorated soldier in World War II. He also suffered from a gambling addiction after the war. In this fantastic story, we learn how he killed 50 Germans single-handedly to win the Congressional Medal of Honor and came home to a grateful public. Jimmy Cagney sponsored him in the Hollywood movie industry, where he became a film star in many action movies. The most famous was To Hell and Back. Murphy’s gambling addiction led him into the hands of two scam artists from Chicago. The rest is right out of an Audie Murphy movie.¬† Let us just say that he was not afraid of the Mob.¬†
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[0:00]Well, hey guys, welcome back into the studio of Gangland Wire.
Gary Jenkins here, retired Kansas City Police Intelligence Unit detective.
I’ll tell you a story. I found this story in a book titled Pay, Quit, or Die.
It was written by a former Chicago police detective named Don Heroin.
And it’s a story that I never heard. I couldn’t find online.
It was about a war hero that I I remember as a child, his name was Audie Murphy.
[0:32]And the title of the chapter was from War Hero to Hollywood Star to Mob Buster, in a way.
Anyhow, Audie Murphy. Let me tell you a little bit about Audie Murphy.
[0:46]Every kid, everybody my age, post-war baby boomer that knew about World War
II, Every boy probably has heard of Audie Murphy.
It was a remarkable journey. He was born in 1925 down in Texas,
made him just right to be a young man.
1941, whenever the war was really rocking and rolling, he fought in Europe.
His early years were he grew up poor and
in hardship on the farm now you know he may be poor
to have have hard conditions but you know usually had enough to eat uh just
that farm life is it’ll make you tough i’ll tell you i was raised on a farm
man a little tough of your butt up went in the army in world war ii like everybody
else even a lot of the mob guys went in And Johnny Roselli,
I just read an article about him,
and he went in, and by the end of the war,
he ended up getting convicted in a Hollywood scam.
But anyhow, he was probably just trying to hide when he went in the Army, trying to beat the case.
Audie Murphy, he earned a staggering amount of awards and decorations,
33 of them all together, including the Medal of Honor.
He was the most decorated soldier of World War II.
[2:05]And when he came home, Life Magazine featured him. That was the magazine of the day.
And Jimmy Cagney, James Cagney, was a real famous actor and producer,
you know, both before the war, during the war, and after the war.
And he brought him out to Hollywood and signed him to a contract,
set him on the road to be a movie star.
Now, he, Audie Murphy, was not a natural-born movie star.
He was a little guy. He’s about 5’5″, 120 pounds, a real unassuming war hero, if you will.
They gave him acting lessons. They gave him voice lessons. They gave him dance training.
Cagney never really got him in a movie. He had to do some more stuff to get in the movie.
They ended their association. This is after the war in 1947.
[2:53]He sides on with an acting coach and continues his acting lessons.
Finally, he gets a cast in a film
called Bad Boy, and the backers really wanted Audie Murphy to be in it.
They thought that would be a big plus, and then it did.
It worked out for him. It got a lot of good reviews and got some play, if you will.
Then he got a seven-year contract with Universal Studios, and he was starred
in The Red Badge of Courage.
For one example, that’s a war movie. He got some critical acclaim at that point
in time and became kind of a leading man in Hollywood for a short period of time.
He was on something called some West, several Westerns, if I remember right,
and ride a crooked trail, walk the proud land.
But the one I remember, the one every boy of my age remembers is to hell and back.
And that’s really the story of of his World War Two experiences.
And I’ll never forget in this one battle. And this is one where he got the Medal
of Honor. And the Germans were kicking their butt.
And he ends up, he’s walking alongside a tank, and they tell,
they get the order to fall back.
[4:02]The tank gets knocked out, and he’s got, I think he had a BAR or maybe a Thompson,
and these German soldiers are advancing toward him.
There’s like, you know, hundreds of them, and he just starts mowing them down,
and for some reason, you know, some miraculous reason, he was never hit,
and he just kept shooting them.
And then he jumped on this tank, a disabled tank, and started working that machine
gun and mowed down even more Germans.
They credit him with killing over 50 Germans that day.
Uh germans fell back of course and the
americans who had retreated according to orders came back
from out of their cover and then charged the german line so uh i mean he was
he was a bold boldu in many ways and you’re gonna find out about how bold he
was when it came to dealing with the chicago outfit poor audie murphy had demons
you know and i don’t know if this all came after the The war, after all his PTSD.
[4:58]We talk about PTSD from combat experiences, because after the war, he had a lot of money.
He kept getting, he got married a couple, three times.
He had some kids, but he didn’t pay much attention to them. A lot of financial difficulties.
And he started gambling. Now, he is funny. He wouldn’t endorse alcohol or cigarettes
in commercials, but he was a degenerate gambler. He was a gambling addict.
It practically did him in. He’s a little bitty guy, like I said, but he was fearless.
So he’s out there in Los Angeles and whoever it was, he was laying bets with.
And back then, a lot of it was on horse races where she had Santa Anita and
several tracks in California, but you had tracks all around the country.
[5:40]And early 50s, they were connected by wire service to the major cities.
And so you could make bets at different betting artlers or with mobsters or
with bookies, and they would be able to get the results.
And you could go to a place where you could get the results right away.
You know, we’re so we’re so used to instant communication now.
But but they they they had the wire service.
So you get the results. And he started laying bets and there was a couple of
Chicago outfit mobsters he met in Hollywood and he was having trouble finding
his bookie or something one day.
He’d been introduced to these guys and they claimed they were affiliated with
the Busseri bookmaking group in Chicago and they had called themselves Frank and Rocky from Chicago.
Chicago and Frank was Frank Bussieri, Fifi Bussieri’s brother,
who was a real deal Chicago mob guy.
And later they’ll find out that this guy was passing himself off as Rocky and
Felice. They always took his bets.
[6:44]They said, we’ll always take your bets. And here’s some phone numbers.
If there’s any problem, give us a call. So, and he could make his bets with
no money up They started wagering on horse races nationwide and he quickly lost
money, big money up in the five and six figures.
But he always paid those losses because he had that Hollywood money coming in.
He went. But then he went on a winning streak.
Had he he was up one hundred and twelve thousand dollars up one hundred twelve thousand dollars.
[7:14]And he wanted to collect. And they gave him the runaround because they didn’t
have the money. And then they’re laying low.
So he hired a Los Angeles private eye who found out for sure that there was
two Chicago brothers named Frank and Fifi Bussieri, who did have a bookmaking operation in Chicago.
See, Audie did not do any homework.
And he didn’t know who these guys were. He knew Frank and Rocky from Chicago.
[7:38]Fifi Bussieri was a well-known Chicago Outfit member and bookmaker.
You know i’m just all gangster around town uh
his brother frank busieri worked for him as
a collector for juice loans he’s a loan shark and he also frank busieri also
helped runner run singer vic damone’s pizza company vic damone had a pizza company
and he was it was mobbed up he was a famous singer at the time never could quite
get to the frank sinatra status but uh Frank Sinatra status,
but he was a really well-known Italian singer at the time.
So this private dick, he finally is able to get in contact with these guys that
Audie’s been betting with.
And they claim, well, those bets were never made. He got them down too late.
So they’re like still weaseling out on the deal.
And the private detective will learn that
more than likely he was already had
been dealing with this frank busieri and and
maybe rocky and felice but you know
they still weren’t sure of course audie murphy’s not afraid of conflict he ain’t
afraid of killing he ain’t afraid of dying himself uh so he got a phone number
for this fifi busieri the private eyes that you know there’s the guy here’s
the guy who’s who’s in charge and he calls Calls him up and said,
listen, you son of a bitch, I’ve been betting with your people and you owe me
one hundred twelve thousand dollars.
[9:03]If he tells him, said, I’ll tell you what he said. Meet me at this office.
It was a Hollywood talent agent out in Hollywood.
V.P., of course, is in Chicago. And so he shows up and he brought along tapes
of him making bets with these men who identified themselves as Frank and Rocky.
Hockey uh the talent agent says you know
pp ain’t coming and you know he doesn’t
know anything about this and just get on out of here i don’t
know why they did went through all this well audie murphy he jumps up and he
hits the guy he’s a big dude like six foot four he jumps up and whacks him and
knocks him down start screaming these men these guys owe me 112 000 and i’m
gonna get my money So the Private Eye,
he’s got some connections in Chicago, and they take these tapes and they send
them to Chicago PD and have somebody listen to them.
Probably this Don Heron who wrote this.
He was in the police intelligence at the time. Probably one of them that listened to the tapes.
And they listen and they say, you know, this isn’t Rocky and police.
This isn’t Frank Bussieri.
This is who this is. It’s a guy named George Piera.
[10:14]And Carl Fiorito said they’re minor guys and they really, you know,
they sent the message back, the Chicago PD did through the private detective,
that these guys probably just took your money and were using Frank and Rocky’s names. V.P.
Bussieri and Frank, and Frank especially, probably Rocky too,
was pretty happy to get this cleared up because V.P.
Was thinking his brother, Rocky Infelice, had been running a scam on this Hollywood
actor and not sharing the proceeds. seats.
As far as what happened to Carl Fiorito and George Piera, that’s P-E-A-R-A.
I don’t know. I never heard of him. I couldn’t find out anything about him.
I did find there’s a guy on the American Mafia blog site named Edmund Valen.
He has a pretty good website.
[11:03]I got a lot of good information. He really does his research.
I’ve tried to get him on the show. Told me once he He was going to be on another
one, then I’ll come on your show.
He said this Carl Fiorito is or was a Chicago Outfit Associate,
and he was a jewel thief, a burglar, suspected killer.
He had been busted for heroin possession in 1959, and he was close to people
like Sam Giancana and Teach Battaglia and other bobshot mobsters,
you know, kind of bigger shot mobsters.
He’s like an associate that they trusted and probably could make some money for.
Uh but that was kind of that was the end of that he just lost his money i guess
he he paid up but then when he didn’t really lose his money he didn’t they never
got made i guess in a way he lost his money how do you figure that he lost his
money they take your money when you lose but if they don’t pay you when you win.
[11:55]You lose that money, I guess. You really, you lose that money.
Tragically, Audie Murphy’s life ended early. He died in 1971 when a private
plane that he was a passenger in crashed.
He was with some other guys trying to go figure out some other way to make money,
some kind of, not scam, but some other kind of business opportunity they were going to check out.
But he was killed. He was only 45 years old. You know, he, Audie Murphy,
he left a legacy at the time.
Now, probably young people have not heard of him today, but he was the ultimate
symbol of courage, resilience, and patriotism in this country.
And he went from war hero to Hollywood star.
[12:40]I mean, this guy was a true American hero.
I always loved Audie Murphy.
You saw him in some of those other movies you know i
don’t know whether he’s any good or not you know he was entertaining as hell
but audie murphy you know and a name for it you
know audie murphy war hero i mean he just had the name
and you know when when kids my age guys my age you know world war ii guys were
they were the heroes of the day now i guess it’s i don’t know if we’ve having
heroes anymore it doesn’t seem like we do uh anyhow thanks a lot it’s just a
little story that I stumbled across that I thought would be interesting for you guys.
Don’t forget, if you have a problem with PTSD, they did not have a hotline for
Audie Murphy, and I would say he probably did have a huge problem with PTSD, killing all those men.
I mean, you don’t just kill somebody and just walk away unscathed.
I’ve seen coppers that, you know, on the surface they were unscathed,
but underneath they were not unscathed. so you don’t kill somebody and walk away unscathed.
He didn’t have it, but if he did, he could have gone to the VA website and got some help with his PTSD.
[13:52]He didn’t have any problem with drugs or alcohol, but a lot of times that goes hand in hand with it.
We know that Anthony Ruggiano has a website that has a hotline number on it.
He’s a drug and alcohol counselor down in Florida somewhere.
He’s a former Gambino member.
Don’t forget, I like to ride motorcycles. if i didn’t say that
i think i forgot to say that uh look out for
motorcycles when you’re out there you know like and subscribe
on youtube and give me a review if
you’re on the uh the audio app on
apple does reviews i think some of these others do reviews too i don’t seem
like i didn’t seem like i get very many reviews anymore i got a lot of them
early on got mainly good ones got a few bad ones i never look at your reviews
guys you ever start doing something like this in the entertainment business.
Don’t look at your reviews.
Oh my God. It’s bad sometimes, but sometimes it’s good too. Anyhow. So thanks a lot guys.

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