Sonny Franzese came up the usual path to the life of a career criminal and Cosa Nostra boss. He started as a Brooklyn member of a juvenile gang and slowly graduated through Prohibition to become a member of the Profaci family. He was court-martialed during WW 2 and it was reported he exhibited “homicidal tendencies” In 1965 the FBI labeled him the most prominent loan shark in the Greater New York area.
He became a modern-day celebrity mobster who was often seen at the famous Copacabana club in the company of stars like Dean Martin or boxer Rocky Graziano. He bought a record label called Buddha and promoted different celebrity musicians. He is known to have financed a few normal Hollywood quality films and as well as an independent film that became famous with the title of Deep Throat.
By his last years, the government jails him for an old bank robbery case where he was sentenced to fifty years. He is finally given his release at age 103 in 2017 after the original 50-year sentence had expired. In an ironic twist, his own son, John Franzese Jr. testified against him in the case that sent him to jail for his final years. He had another son named Michael Franzese who has left the mafia business via the Witness Protection program and is in show business at the present time. His son. John Jr. is trying to shop his biography with no takers so far.
John “Sonny Franzese Sr. died on February 20, 2020, at age 103. When he left prison, he was the oldest living inmate.
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