Richie “The Boot” Boiardo is among the many most infamous mafia icons in New Jersey historical past. He was a high-ranking capo within the Genovese crime household of New Jersey for a number of a long time in the midst of the twentieth century. Richie was additionally probably the most feared mob bosses in the entire Backyard State. He was thought-about by many to be the king of the prison underworld in Newark.
Regardless of not wanting consideration from the press, The Boot’s fame created an enduring legacy. David Chase, creator of the hit tv sequence, “The Sopranos,” mentioned that Richie and his household had been core inspirations behind the Soprano household. The Boot himself even believed that he was the first affect behind Vito Corleone’s character within the well-known e-book and subsequent film franchise, “The Godfather.” However what made Richie so distinctive, and the way vital was his affect on these popular culture staples? Let’s discover out.
Turning into “The Boot”
Richie “The Boot” was born Ruggiero Boiardo in December of 1890 in Naples, Italy. His household immigrated to the U.S. in 1901 and finally settled in Newark, New Jersey. Richie’s household wasn’t part of the prison underworld, however finally, Richie would discover his manner into its grasp. Across the mid-1910s, when Richie was in his 20s, he secured a Newark milk route after some minor run-ins with the legislation. Quickly after, Richie would promote greater than milk on his routes, finally including unlawful lottery tickets to the combination and solidifying his prison fame within the course of.
Within the Nineteen Twenties, Prohibition hit, and as you in all probability know, it sprouted huge unlawful bootlegging operations across the U.S. The Boot made a reputation for himself within the bootlegging world as he realized the enterprise from gang leaders John and Frank Mazzocchi. Because the Thirties rolled round, The Boot had fashioned his personal crew. He had additionally change into a made man as a full member of the Luciano crime household, created by probably the most infamous mobsters of all time, Fortunate Luciano. Round this time, Richie would make some, let’s simply say, “pivotal strikes” (of which we’ll contact on later) that led to him changing into one of many bootlegging kings of Newark.
The Don of Newark
Richie’s crew would run the Newark crime scene for many years, significantly on the Port of Newark. They engaged in prison actions reminiscent of racketeering, theft, loan-sharking, playing, and extra. In 1957, Richie’s Luciano household would change into part of the famed Genovese household beneath Vito Genovese. Two years later, following the demise of Abner Zwillman, The Boot’s major rival for years in Newark, Richie would change into the undisputed mafia boss of the town.
Because the late ‘60s rolled round, issues began to go downhill for Richie and the remainder of the Boiardo household. The Boot was virtually 80 and intent on retiring, however couldn’t solely escape the mafia’s grasp as his son, Anthony “Tony Boy” Boiardo, struggled to run the household. Then, in April of 1969, Richie was convicted of conspiracy to violate playing legal guidelines and sentenced to two-and-a-half to 3 years in state jail. The Boot would finally get out of jail, however his household was by no means the identical. Even so, Richie remained boss till he died on October 29, 1984, on the age of 93.
Notable Moments and Information
Whereas Richie “The Boot” Boiardo’s reign of six a long time is undoubtedly uncommon and notable within the mafia world, it’s his different “superlatives,” if you’ll, that cemented him as probably the most infamous criminals within the historical past of New Jersey.
The Boot was as soon as shot 12 occasions, sure 12, and survived. It occurred within the early Thirties, and the retaliation by Richie, these “pivotal strikes” I discussed earlier than, would come with the execution of the Mazzocchi brothers. On the time, the press figured The Boot’s arch-rival Abner Zwillman for the tried homicide. Nevertheless it appears The Boot knew the true culprits. He proceeded to order the killing of the Mazzochi brothers and set up himself as a pacesetter of bootlegging in Newark.
Richie Boiardo, for these on the skin, was arguably extra recognized for his huge property than his prison dealings. In truth, within the mid-60s, towards The Boot’s needs, Life journal ran a featured story on the house, labeling it as “Transylvanian conventional.” There was a sizeable backyard, one in all The Boot’s greatest passions in life. However behind mentioned backyard, close to the rear of the compound, was a big furnace. Although by no means formally confirmed, it’s believed this furnace was used to burn folks, alive and useless.
The Boot additionally had lots of notable pals. For instance, there have been folks you’ll perhaps count on, like Al Capone. And others it’s possible you’ll not have suspected, like Yankees legend Joe DiMaggio, actor George Raft, and an extended checklist of politicians. His affiliation with a specific politician, then Newark Mayor Hugh Addonizio, was part of the costs that led to Richie being imprisoned and his prison enterprise falling aside within the late ‘60s. Addonizio would even be sentenced to 10 years, although he was then a New Jersey Governor hopeful.
Richie “The Boot” Boiardo’s Pop-Tradition Affect
The Boot has arguably had essentially the most vital single affect on the mafia TV/movie style. Two of essentially the most well-known productions on this style, the TV present “The Sopranos” and the e-book and movie sequence “The Godfather,” are each believed to have used Boiardo’s story as inspiration. Thus, making The Boot a form of paradoxical pop-culture determine. Let’s see what connections we will draw between him and these two well-known productions.
“The Sopranos” Affect
In a 2002 interview, “The Sopranos” creator David Chase mentioned that “90 % of [the TV show] is made up…” however that components had been modeled after the Boiardo household. For starters, there’s Richie’s fortress-like house with the lengthy driveway positioned within the suburbs of Livingston, New Jersey. Many draw hanging similarities between this house and Tony’s huge property in North Caldwell. Viewers noticed Tony Soprano wander down his lengthy driveway to get his morning newspaper on many events all through the sequence.
There are additionally apparent title similarities. Tony Soprano was the primary character in “The Sopranos.” Richie’s son glided by “Tony Boy.” One in every of Tony Soprano’s high captains within the present is Salvatore “Massive Pussy” Bonpensiero. The Boot’s chief enforcer was John “Massive Pussy” Russo. The latest film, “The Many Saints of Newark,” a derivative of “The Sopranos” franchise and directed by Chase, can be believed to have been influenced by the Boiardo household. The film takes place within the ‘60s, through the race riots in Newark, the identical time The Boot was operating the town.
The Two Tony’s
Many essential similarities will be drawn between Tony Soprano and Richie’s son Tony Boy. The spine of “The Sopranos” was Tony’s frequent classes together with his therapist, Dr.Melfi. Tony Boy can be on file for having seen a therapist for PTSD. He noticed his first homicide at simply 14 years of age. He additionally struggled with being the son of The Boot and having to run the infamous mafia household. Each additionally suffered from dangerous well being; Soprano had panic assaults, Tony Boy had ulcers.
Lastly, the context of the 2 Tony’s changing into boss is eerily related as properly. When Soprano took over, the previous boss, his Uncle Junior, was shedding his thoughts a bit, and the household wasn’t in nice form. When Tony Boy took over, The Boot was being investigated by the IRS and was extremely paranoid. Their household was additionally in disarray and would quickly crumble.
We’ll by no means fairly know the way robust these influences really had been, however it’s onerous to argue the Boiardo household didn’t play a reputable function within the growth of “The Sopranos.“
The Actual Godfather?
We don’t have any official affirmation that “The Godfather” e-book or film was impressed by Richie “The Boot” Boiardo. Nonetheless, as you start to attach the dots, the similarities are noteworthy. Consider it or not, The Boot’s house is one other essential similarity right here. The property shares much more resemblance with the Corleone household house in “The Godfather” than it did with Tony Soprano’s. Each seemed like an old style fortress, that includes huge gate entryways, and most notably, in depth, distinguished gardens. The Boot was so satisfied that Vito Corleone was based mostly on him that he named his backyard “The Godfather Backyard.”
Vito Corleone, like The Boot, immigrated to the U.S. from Italy on the flip of the twentieth century. Each rose from humble beginnings to create an underworld empire that they quietly dominated for many years. Vito and Richie additionally had many influential pals, together with high politicians. The marriage of Tony Boy bears some fascinating similarities to the e-book and film franchise as properly. Tony Boy’s wedding ceremony had over 15,000 company, lots of excessive notoriety. Whereas “The Godfather” film famously begins on the huge wedding ceremony of Vito Corleone’s daughter, which additionally featured some high-powered company. After all, a lot of those potential influences are speculative, however one can’t assist however marvel. If The Boot himself agrees, it’s onerous to say in any other case.
If you wish to be taught extra about The Boot, I counsel studying Richard Linnett’s biography “In The Godfather Backyard: The Lengthy Life and Occasions of Richie the Boot Boiardo.” The e-book is a extremely in-depth look into Richie’s life and even options private accounts of his grandson Roger Hanos. You may also watch this interview with Linnett and Hanos under to be taught extra about Richie “The Boot” Boiardo.
Essential photograph courtesy of Within the Godfather Backyard Fb web page