Bugsy Siegel death photo

Bugsy Siegel death photo

On the night of June 20, 1947, as Siegel sat with his associate Allen Smiley in Virginia Hill’s Beverly Hills home reading the Los Angeles Times, an assailant fired at him through the window with a .30-caliber military M1 carbine, hitting him many times, including twice in the head. No one was charged with the murder, and the crime remains officially unsolved.

A theory in Siegel’s death was his excessive spending and possible theft of money from the mob. In 1946, a meeting was held with the “board of directors” of the syndicate in Havana, Cuba, so that Lucky Luciano, exiled in Sicily, could attend and participate. A contract on Siegel’s life was the conclusion. According to Doc Stacher, Meyer Lansky reluctantly agreed to the decision.

Although descriptions said that Siegel was shot in the eye, he was actually hit twice on the right side of his head. The death scene and postmortem photographs show that one shot penetrated his right cheek and exited through the left side of his neck; the other struck the right bridge of his nose where it met the right eye socket. The pressure created by the bullet passing through Siegel’s skull blew his left eye out of its socket. A Los Angeles’ Coroner’s Report (#37448) states the cause of death as cerebral hemorrhage. His death certificate (Registrar’s #816192) states the manner of death as a homicide and the cause as “Gunshot Wounds of the head.”

Though as noted, Siegel was not shot exactly through the eye (the eyeball would have been destroyed if this had been the case), the bullet-through-the-eye style of killing nevertheless became popular in Mafia lore and in movies, and was called the “Moe Greene special” after the character Moe Greene—based on Siegel—was killed in this manner in The Godfather.

Siegel was hit by several other bullets including shots through his lungs. According to Florabel Muir, “Four of the nine shots fired that night destroyed a white marble statue of Bacchus on a grand piano, and then lodged in the far wall.”

The day after Siegel’s death, the Los Angeles Herald-Express carried a photograph on its front page from the morgue of Siegel’s bare right foot with a toe tag. Although Siegel’s murder occurred in Beverly Hills, his death thrust Las Vegas into the national spotlight as photographs of his lifeless body were published in newspapers throughout the country. The day after Siegel’s murder, David Berman and his Las Vegas mob associates walked into the Flamingo and took over operation of the hotel and casino.

3 Responses

  1. Sharon says:

    I was born, raised, and educated in Las Vegas during the 50s, 60s, and 70s when the mob ran Las Vegas. As ghastly and horrific their crimes and methods were, I can attest Las Vegas was a much cleaner town. The enforcers, as they were called, made sure people working on the “strip” were treated with respect and fairly. When you went downtown or on the “strip,” people dressed in their finest clothes. That was another time, lost through time. Bugsy Siegel was the reason there is a Flamingo hotel. It is/has been rumored he is the reason there is a “strip.”

    Good article! Who ordered a hit on Siegel? Was it Luciono?

    • NedClark says:

      Really, Sharon ?!

      “…As ghastly and horrific their crimes and methods were,…people dressed in their finest clothes.” ?!

      And Yeah, Benito Mussolini started the Fascist Movement which was admired- and adopted by Hitler to ignite a World War which killed SIXTY Million People- but BOY did yhey have SNAPPY Uniforms…

  2. Zorro says:

    Photos of state leaders assassinated by US military terrorists, US-supported Islamic terrorists, or US-puppet regimes: the two sons of S. Hussein, Libyan leader M. Ghadaffi, and Iraqi leader S. Hussein.
    It’s weird this gory website is not censored.

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