Hollywood is home to some of the biggest movie production companies, directors, actors and actresses. Today Hollywood is the word used for the glamorous multibillion dollar US film industry. It is also home to some of the world biggest names in the entertainment industry and a place that most up and comers aspire to be on day. How could Hollywood ever be linked with the Mob? On the surface Hollywood would seem to be worlds apart from the murderers, extortionist, and gangsters in the Mob. But on closer inspection you can see that the film industry and the mob are very similar indeed.
Many of the Hollywood stars and moguls often originated from the same place as the gangsters, in that they were immigrants from Europe or sons of immigrants. For instance, the Warner brothers were sons of a Polish cobbler while the Cohn brothers were sons of a German tailor. And Frank Sinatras grandfather lived in the same village as Lucky Luciano.
With the film industry being so successful in Hollywood, of course the mafia would be attracted to it and the huge potential for financial gain. The need for huge amounts of cash to create a movie meant that this was perfect for laundering money unlike other forms of “fronting” such as a manufacturing business which take a bit of time to set up before they can start washing money. So the mafia would be naturally attracted to such an opportunity. It would be simple enough for the mafia to move into the film industry.
- Bankers were always reluctant to lend the huge sums required to make a film
- Because they saw the film industry a volatile and unable to produce a consistent return on investment, but the gangsters who already controlled the film industry unions were prepared to take a greater risk for bigger reward.
- Control of the unions gave the mob greater leverage over the film industry.
- Although the big movie producers were all too happy to jump into bed with the mob because it afforded them more financial freedom.
Film historian David Thomson once said that the Hollywood moguls in the Golden Age (1920s to late 1950s) often behaved like gangsters, which was probably largely down to their very close relationship with the mob. MGM boss Louis B. Mayer was good friends with gangster