THIEF! The Gutsy, True Story of an Ex-Con Artist

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THIEF! character, Vince Eli

Sunday, October 23, 2011

How Did Marilyn Monroe Really Die? Part II

This past August 15, 2011, I posted the first of three parts titled "How Did Marilyn Monroe Really Die?" I told interviewers Burl Barer and Howard Lapides on their True Crime Uncensored radio show, that Slick's best friend, Leroy, knew who the killers were because Leroy worked with one of them, a guy named Mugsy Tortorella.

I also told the two interviewers that Tortorella as one of the killers was given further credence based on the FBI files that were now in the public domain. However, when I later looked up the FBI website in order to quote from it, Monroe's killers names had mysteriously been blacked out. So I ordered the CD titled "FBI Files - Marilyn Monroe" The disc had even less info on it regarding Monroe's murderers.

During the writing of our book, Thief, Slick told me that stories floated around among mobsters for years about who actually killed Marilyn and Mugsy Tortorella's name always came up. Slick took all those stories with a grain of salt until his friend Leroy Smolen, now deceased, verified that Tortorella was indeed one of the murderers.

Slick revealed another story in Thief that further convinced him that Marilyn died from a mob hit. The excerpt from the book takes place around the early 1970s at Arlington Racetrack near Chicago when Slick bumps into an old mob guy named Mousie who says:

     "So, you two know one another, eh?" [meaning Slick and Mugsy Tortorella] Mousie was clearly impressed that I knew Mugsy.
     "Yeah, he worked with a couple of friends of mine," I answered. [the friends being Leroy Smolen]
     "Did those friends know that Mugsy thought Marilyn Monroe's ass was the best he's ever seen?"
     Now, any ordinary outsider would have said to himself, "Where did that remark come from?" But I knew how mob guys talked. Mousie was testing me, but he had to do it in a roundabout way. He couldn't come right out and ask, "Do you know Mugsy was the guy who killed Marilyn Monroe and put dope up her ass to make it look like she died from an overdose?" No. Mousie and I both would have been hit--him for talking and me for knowing too much. So, Mousie used this indirect way of finding out how much I knew. I'd heard about Marilyn being taken out by the mob through extremely reliable sources, but I never let on to anyone. Okay, there was only one way to play this if I  wanted to live a few more years.
     "Gee, I never heard that one." I managed to sound like maybe Mousie was making a joke and I didn't get the punch line.
     He glanced at me with those watery eyes that seemed to take in my every thought. Apparently he was satisfied I didn't know anything because he let the subject drop. I was itching to ask a ton of questions like, was the FBI in on it?...and were they afraid she was getting too close to JFK?...but I just nodded. The less you said to these Outfit guys the better.
I have one more source to check out, a book titled Assassination of Marilyn Monroe, before I make the final entry in this three part post on how Marilyn Monroe really died.

Check out these websites for more information: and a very interesting blog on the topic:

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Henry Hill on Crime Beat Radio


Henry Hill with actor Ray Liotta

October, 2011--This year marks the 25th anniversary of Wise Guy, Nicholas Pileggi’s true crime masterpiece and a book that has been described as “the best book on organized crime ever written.” Wise Guy chronicles the life of legendary former gangster Henry Hill, the working-class Brooklyn kid who grew up to live the highs and lows of the gangster’s life. Hill’s story became the basis for GoodFellas, Martin Scorsese’s film masterpiece. In Goodfellas, Henry Hill, the narrator, famously says, “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.”

CRIME BEAT: ISSUES, CONTROVERSIES AND PERSONALITIES FROM THE DARKSIDE on the Artist First World Radio Network is pleased to announce that on October 6 at 8 pm. EST, Henry Hill will be a special featured guest. Mr. Hill will discuss his former life inside the Mob, the book and the film, as well his current life and activities.

Crime Beat is a weekly hour-long radio program and airs every Thursday from 9 and 10 EST. Beginning with the May 5 program the show moves to the 8pm-9pm EST time slot on the Artist First World radio Network. Crime Beat presents fascinating topics that bring listeners closer to the dynamic underbelly of the world of crime. Guests have included ex-mobsters, undercover law enforcement agents, sports officials, informants, prisoners, drug dealers and investigative journalists, who have provided insights and fresh information about the world’s most fascinating subject: crime.

Crime Beat is hosted by award-winning crime writer Ron Chepesiuk ( and broadcast journalist and freelance writer Willie Hryb.

"Your radio format is great,” write Mark Christopoulus of northern California.

“Crime Beat is over the top, gentlemen! The show is on late in the afternoon out here, and me and my buddies from work get a chance to listen to it over a beer at our favorite watering hole before heading home."

Ivo DeLorenzi of Thunder Bay, Canada, writes:  "I love your show... you guys manage to get top-calibre guests every week ... fascinating and remarkable, all rolled into one".

For more information or to listen to the archives of Crime Beat, go to the Artist First Worldwide Radio Network at
To contact the Crime Beat radio program for interviews, e-mail or call 803-366-5440.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

"The Most Potent Voice of the Streets"

Seth Ferranti, author & Gorilla Convict creator

Gorilla Convict has been called "the most potent voice of the streets." This website, which features stories on prison life, street legends, street and prison gangs, the Mafia and street lit and true crime writers is a fusion of the ghetto, criminal and prison cultures that is vividly expressed in the lyrics of gangsta rap and hip-hop artists rhymes, in graffiti and tattooing, and in the worlds of drug dealers, gangbangers and organized crime. At Gorilla Convict we focus on the urban core and beyond.

There is something deep within the human psyche that intrigues and fascinates us with all thing dangerous, powerful, mysterious and extreme. Gorilla Convict is tailor-made for anyone who worships Brian De Palma's Scarface or any of the other litany of gangster movies like Goodfellas, New Jack City, Belly or the King of New York. Gorilla Convict juxtaposes the outlaw realness of Iceberg Slim with such critically acclaimed shows like Oz, The Wire and The Sopranos.

Gorilla Convict immortalizes the modern day urban outlaws such as those featured on BET'S American Gangster series, and in street magazines like Don Diva, F.E.D.S. and As Is. We tell the tales the mainstream media can't get because we are in prison with the people we interview. We talk to the giants among men that awe us with their immense self-certainty and utter ruthless- ness. They made their own law and are now paying the consequences. The blood they drew from each other reflects their great male courage and the intensity with which they lived their dangerous lives.

Check out the redesigned and tell your readers and friends about it. You can order Gorilla Convict's STREET LEGENDS series from the site.

The ebooks can be bought and downloaded right on the site. Read the stories and get the 411 on prison gangs, the mafia, life in the belly of the beast and the legends from hip-hop's lyrical lore. See the photos and ride shotgun with a hood icon.