Paul was regarded to be among the most disliked Mafia bosses till date due to having superiority complex. It was on 26th June 1915 that Paul Castellano was born as Constantino Paul Castellano in the Brooklyn region of New York. His dislike for his first name made him to put it off when using his name. Apart from being a butcher by profession, his father was also one of the early members of Mangano Mafia Family.
It is after the 8th grade that Castellano had dropped out of school and helped his father in his business. At the age of 19, in 1934, he committed armed robbery along with two accomplices. Big Paul as he was called was the only one to be apprehended by the police officials. In appearance, he weighed about 275 pounds and 6 foot 3” in height. He was stubborn enough for not cooperating with the police, which had earned him a name in the underworld.
He married Nina Manno, his childhood sweetheart in 1937 and sister in law to Carlo Gambino, another popular mobster of that time. They gave birth to three sons named Joseph, Philip and Paul and a daughter named Connie.
Becoming a Mobster
He was indicted into the Mangano Mafia family in 1940 as Made Member, where Carlo Gambino, his first cousin was a captain. After Anastasia took charge of the Mangano Family and had its title changed, Big Paul was made a captain. But in 1957, Anastasia was killed by Vito Genovese and this made Gambino to take charge of the family changing it to the Gambino Crime Family. Paul Castellano, his cousin was made his right hand man.
A mafia meeting at New York’s Appalachian region on 17th November 1957 saw Paul to visit it, instead of his boss Gambino. A raid by the police made others to run away, but Paul surrendered without resistance and got sentenced to imprisonment for just a year.
With his success in his family meat business, he had owned numerous businesses by 1950s, which included Ranbar Packing Inc., The Pride Wholesale Poultry and Meat Corp. and Blue Ribbon Meats. He also was more into loansharking business.
When Gambino wanted Castello to succeed him, there was noticed outrage among the street soldiers, since the latter was seen to be a greedy snob, demanding 15% take from the street soldiers, unlike other captains who demanded 10%. However, with some struggle he became the Gambino family head, but was later killed by a Gotti shooter.