Corleone, Sicily, Italy
|Died||February 26, 1930 (aged 40)
The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Murdered|
|Resting place||Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx|
|Occupation||Crime boss, Mobster, Businessman|
|Known for||First Boss of the Lucchese crime family|
Gaetano Reina was born in September 1889 in Corleone, Sicily to Giacomo Reina and Carmela Rumore. In the early 1900s (decade), the Reina family moved to New York City and settled on 107th Street in East Harlem. Reina along with his brother Antonio began working with members of the Morello family. In July 1913, Reina's sister Bernarda married Vincenzo Terranova. Gaetano Reina married Angelina Olivera, the couple had three sons (one Giacomo became a member of the Lucchese family ) and three daughters (one Carmela "Mildred" married Joe Valachi in 1932). In November 1914, Reina and Jack Dragna were arrested for the murder of Barnet Baff.
Reina became boss of his own crime family controlling criminal operations in The Bronx and East Harlem. His crime family held a monopoly over the ice box distribution in The Bronx. Reina's underboss was Tommy Gagliano, a former Morello gang member.
In the late 1920s, Reina formed an alliance with Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria, who had taken over the old Morello crime family. In 1925, Salvatore Maranzano arrived in New York and took over the Castellammare family. The two Mafia bosses began fighting in what became known as the Castellammarese War. Reina switched sides and began supporting Maranzano. Masseria learned of Reina's betrayal and ordered Charles "Lucky" Luciano to arrange Reina's murder.
On February 26, 1930, Reina left the home of his mistress Marie Ennis (other sources claim he was leaving his aunt's apartment in the Bronx after dinner) on Sheridan Avenue when Vito Genovese (but other suspect Joseph Pinzolo) shot Reina in the head with a double barreled shotgun, instantly killing him.
In popular culture
- The Valachi Papers (1972) – Reina was portrayed by Amedeo Nazzari
- Gangster Wars (1982) – Reina was portrayed by Joe Tornatore
- Mobsters (1991) – Reina was portrayed by Chris Penn
- In Martin A. Gosch and Richard Hammer's The Last Testament of Lucky Luciano
According to Charles Luciano, Reina was:
- "...a man of his word, he had culture, and was a very honorable Italian."
- Devico p. 175
- Critchley p. 86
- Critchley p. 52
- Capeci p. 61
- Critchley p. 135
- Critchley p. 81
- La Cosa Nostra: Gaetano Reina (2007-2011) lacndb.com Reina
- The American Mafia - Gaetano Reina (www.onewal.com)
- Casillo p. 519
- Critchley p. 174-175
- Milhorn p. 221
- Sifakis p. 277
- Nash. p. 543
- Maas p. 65
- Gaetano Gagliano: The Quiet Don by Allan May
- IMDb: The Valachi Papers (1972)
- IMDb: Gangster Wars (1982)
- IMDb: Mobsters (1991)
- DeVico, Peter J. The Mafia Made Easy: The Anatomy and Culture of La Cosa Nostra. Tate Publishing, 2007. ISBN 1-60247-254-8
- Critchley, David. The origin of organized crime in America: the New York City mafia, 1891-1931. Routlege Publishing, 2009
- Capeci, Jerry. The complete idiot's guide to the Mafia.
- Nash, Jay Robert. The Great Pictorial History of World Crime.
- Milhorn, H. Thomas Crime: Computer Viruses to Twin Towers
- Sifakis, Carl. The Mafia Encyclopedia. New York: Da Capo Press, 2005. ISBN 0-8160-5694-3
- Maas, Peter. The Valachi Papers
- Casillo, Robert. Gangster priest: the Italian American cinema of Martin Scorsese
Crime family established by Reina
|Lucchese crime family
Bonaventura "Joseph" Pinzolo
Crew established by Reina
|The Jersey Crew