Frank "Prime Minister" CostelloFrank's voice was the inspiration for that of the Godfather. In 1951, the Kefauver hearings took place, and Frank was called to testify before the Senate about his involvement in the Mafia. The hearings were televised, and Costello used his large pool of influence to ensure that the cameras would not show his face. Thus, Americans watching at home saw only his hands. Even though Costello said little, and repeatedly plead the fifth, he made an impression on Marlon Brando, who saw the hearings and mimicked the voice for his role as the mafia don.
Back When He Wasn't So RaspyFrank was born in Italy in 1891. His parents named him Francesco Castiglia, and brought him with them to the US when Costello was only four years old. In his teens, he joined the Gophers, a brash street gang that reveled in rape and pillage. He was a good cat burglar, but his real talent was finding rich targets that were ripe for the picking.
Frank served one year for a conviction of carrying a concealed weapon. The stint in the cage changed him, and upon release, he built an empire on one policy: money talks.
Frank loved letting the big wigs win. If a judge didn't do so well on the craps table, Frank was very likely to refund his money, plus a little extra for spreading around. He paid off everyone. Police, Congressmen, Mayors, District Attorneys, party leaders, union delegates, even military personnel. He was drafted into the army during World War I, but he weaseled out of it thanks to some timely palm greasing.
As Prohibition took hold, Frank realized that the psychopaths running the streets, like Dutch Schultz, Waxey Gordon, and Legs Diamond were too violent to be challenged. He decided to run the importer-exporter end, funding rum ships and Canadian smuggling expeditions. Once across the boarder, Frank would sell it to the highest bidder and be done with it. If Bugsy Siegel and Meyer Lansky wanted to get themselves shot for hijacking Waxey Gordon's trucks, that was their problem.
Meeting of the MindsIn 1928, Al Capone called for a national crime conference in Chicago. It was an expo on working people over, breaking legs, and hiding hooch. Frank alerted Lucky Luciano and Joe Adonis to the event. All three attended, and Lucky learned who to contact to get things done west of the Mississippi. This would be useful later on when he whacked Joe Masseria and took over the rackets. For Frank's help and friendship, he was awarded one of the five New York crime families and given a seat on the board of the National Crime Syndicate.
Congress SucksIn 1951, after an almost 30 year free ride, the American Crime Syndicate was finally exposed. Congress began the Kefauver hearings to get to the bottom of the organized crime problem and even Frank's massive sphere of influence could not keep him out of the proceedings, nor out of prison for contempt afterwards.
When Frank got out of jail in 1957, his empire was being eaten alive by Vito Genovese. Vito sent Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, a lummox of an Italian hit man, to give Frank a bullet on his way home one night. The Chin missed (on purpose?), firing only one shot and grazing Costello's temple. Frank got the message and immediately retired from the crime world, relinquishing power to Albert Anastasia. Eventually, Genovese had Anastasia whacked and briefly took over the family before getting busted in 1959.
Vito's incarceration was entirely crafted by Frank, who's last act as don was to have Vito arrested and tried for tax evasion and drug trafficking. His revenge firmly enacted, Frank had a pleasant retired life, hobnobbing with the likes of J. Edgar Hoover and others at lavish parties filled with politicians, actors, and businessmen. It is unlikely that Hoover attended these gatherings in a dress, but Costello was said to have learned of Hoover's closet homosexuality through the olive vine, and to have exploited it for his own advancement.
On February 18, 1973, Frank Costello died in his sleep. His funeral was invite only. Grave robbers invaded his tomb searching for jewels but found none. They left his body lying on top of the open grave and ran as the cemetery keeper came to investigate the ruckus. They were never caught.