In the early 60’s this future A+ list criminal/playboy got an opportunity that would change his life and propel him more quickly down the path he was already following.
A company that is still in existence today and is even bigger than they were back then needed someone on the ground in our criminal’s country. As their representative, he could expect to earn $20-25M a year minimum.
The company just needed one thing from him first.
They needed him to meet with someone from the CIA who wanted him to be a part of a project.
He assumed it was a project in his own country.
It was a project in the US.
They needed his help with logistical support he could provide because of all his connections he had since childhood with various high profile individuals in the region.
He always said he had no idea what the project was in advance of it actually happening.
It was only after the A++ list politician was killed and the investigations that followed, that he knew what role he had played in it.
It didn’t stop him from taking hundreds of millions of dollars from that company in the decade after though.
John Roselli (Handsome Johnny)
Criminal’s country: United States
Someone from the CIA: Robert Maheu
Project: plot to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro
His own country: Italy
Region: Las Vegas
A++ list politician: President John F. Kennedy
Mob fixer Johnny Rosselli is back in the spotlight
‘Handsome Johnny,’ best known for extorting Hollywood studios and making Las Vegas deals, also played key role in producing two classic noir movies
That word on Johnny Rosselli’s business card summed up his role as a Mob fixer whose colorful adult life, after knock-around teenage criminal years that took him from Boston to Los Angeles, included the gangster’s well-known participation with other Mafia heavyweights in a failed CIA plot to assassinate Cuban leader Fidel Castro during the JFK years.
In addition to this secretive high drama, Rosselli, a silky-smooth playboy thought by the FBI to be responsible for 13 murders, had his hand in various legal and illegal enterprises, including money-making ventures in Hollywood and Las Vegas. Rosselli even helped pave the way for reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes to purchase casino properties in Southern Nevada.
Along with constant FBI surveillance, though, there were more than a few difficulties in Rosselli’s life. He became caught up in a Hollywood extortion scandal, and later in a cheating scheme involving card players at the Friars Club of Beverly Hills.
All this came to an end in 1976, when the 71-year-old mobster was killed and stuffed into a 55-gallon oil drum later found floating in a bay near Miami.
Now, almost 45 years after this unsolved killing, there is renewed interest in Rosselli. (His given name at birth in Italy was Filippo Sacco, but he assumed the Rosselli alias after seeing that signature on Italian paintings he liked, according to historian and former Las Vegas casino executive Bill Friedman. The mobster’s forged birth name, Rosselli, is sometimes spelled with one “s.” Rosselli used the double “s” spelling on his business cards.)
One recent account of his life is Lee Server’s 2018 biography, Handsome Johnny: The Life and Death of Johnny Rosselli: Gentleman Gangster, Hollywood Producer, CIA Assassin.
Rosselli also is profiled in the latest issue of the Film Noir Foundation’s e-magazine, Noir City, exploring his involvement in Hollywood, including a role in producing action-packed crime capers. The Noir City article, “Handsome Johnny Takes Tinseltown,” was written by John Wranovics.
As interest in Rosselli gains some momentum, a movie based on Server’s book might be on the horizon. In an email, Server said he hopes to have news on that front soon. “There are talks going on,” he said.
Among other aspects of Rosselli’s eventful life, his time in Hollywood, and his association with high-ranking gangsters such as Al Capone and Jack Dragna, are interesting material for storytellers, setting him apart from some better-known Mob figures. Server noted that Rosselli carved out a special niche for himself in the film industry.
“Officially employed as an assistant purchasing agent, at a salary of sixty-five dollars a week, in reality he became a kind of producer-in-training,” Server said. “As a fully functioning member of organized crime, Johnny Rosselli’s relationship to Hollywood was unique and extraordinary.” – Source