Paul Castellano, a.k.a. Big Paulie, The Banker
Years as Boss: 1976-1985


While Don Carlo Gambino lay on his deathbed, he gave control of the Family to his cousin Paul "Big Paulie" Castellano.  From 1976 until his assassination by John Gotti in 1985, Castellano would come to be known as the "Boss of Bosses".  
Big Paulie Castellano was never a mobster in the classic sense, but rather a racketeer. He didn't even hang out with other gangsters, preferring the company of businessmen, and other "important" individuals.  Perhaps one of the reasons he and Don Carlo were so close was that the Castellanos of Sicily  had been instrumental in Carlo Gambino come to America.  Another reason is that Castellano was a diplomat, a negotiator, and he would always try to solve problems through discussion rather than violence.  When violence was the only recourse, he would sometimes assign the killings to Roy Demeo, a ruthless hit man whose techniques weren't that different from those of serial killers.  Castellano had few enemies, but John Gotti believed
Aniello Dellacroce should have been made boss, and he had often been chastised by Castellano for dealing drugs and conducting operations without prior consultation. When Big Paulie was arrested by the FBI after bugs planted in the mobsters home had provided several hours of recorded evidence, rumors began to circulate as to whether he would rat out fellow Gambino Family members, Gotti, now acting in lieu of Dellacroce who had recently died of brain cancer,  decided it was time to plan Big Paulie's retirement.  The set up was simple, since he had not been able to attend Aniello Dellacroce's funeral, Castellano was invited to Spark's Steakhouse, a regular hangout of his, where he was to meet with Dellacroce's son, and pay his respects.  Little did he know it would be gunned down by two men, while John Gotti and Sammy Gravano watched from a nearby parked car.

 

 

Family TiesFamily Tree  | Mafioso Lingo 
Vincent Mangano
| Albert Anastasia | Carlo Gambino | Paul Castellano, 
Roy DeMeo | John Gotti, Sr. | John Gotti, Jr.  | Sammy Gravano

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Last modified: August 26, 2002