Joseph (Joe) Colombo

Joseph (Joe) Colombo

Leader of a mafia family
Date of Birth: 16.06.1923
Country: USA

  1. Biography of Joseph Colombo
  2. Leadership and Controversy
  3. Italian-American Civil Rights League
  4. Assassination and Legacy

Biography of Joseph Colombo

Joseph Colombo was the leader of the Colombo crime family, which was one of the infamous "Five Families" of the American Mafia. He was born into an Italian-American family, and his father Anthony Colombo was once a member of the Profaci family, which eventually became the Colombo family. In 1938, Anthony Colombo was found strangled in a car. Joseph Colombo attended New Utrecht High School in Brooklyn for two years before dropping out to join the U.S. Coast Guard. However, he was discharged from the Coast Guard in 1945 due to health issues.

For ten years, Colombo worked as a dockworker, and then spent six years as a salesman in a meat company. His last legal job was as a real estate agent, but his main source of income came from his involvement in organized crime. Colombo was highly regarded and rose through the ranks to become a capo, or captain, in the Profaci family.

Leadership and Controversy

In 1962, the head of the Profaci family, Joseph Magliocco, passed away and Colombo, along with representatives from the Bonanno family, organized a conspiracy to assassinate the leader of the Lucchese family. Colombo was chosen to carry out the hit, but instead, he not only spared the target but also revealed the details of the conspiracy to him and his allies from the Gambino family.

The Mafia Commission summoned Bonanno and Magliocco to a trial, and Magliocco was eventually fined $50,000 and removed from his position. The Commission then appointed Colombo as the new leader of the family. At the time of his appointment, Colombo was only 41 years old, which was relatively young for a Mafia boss. He also became the first New York family boss to be born in the United States.

Italian-American Civil Rights League

In the spring of 1970, Colombo founded the Italian-American Civil Rights League. Unlike many of his counterparts, he was not afraid to give interviews to journalists, participate in charitable events, and deliver speeches at formal gatherings. In the spring of 1971, Paramount Pictures began working on the film "The Godfather." Some were concerned that the movie would not be well-received by the local Italian-American community, but Colombo managed to avoid any issues. He personally met with the producer and, after the producer agreed to omit the terms "Mafia" and "Cosa Nostra," Colombo guaranteed the support of the league.

Assassination and Legacy

In 1971, Joe Gallo, a former adversary of Colombo's who had once kidnapped him to pressure the Profaci family, was released from prison. Colombo planned to reconcile with him and even offered him $1,000, but Gallo refused, demanding $100,000 to forget the past conflict. On June 28, 1971, Jerome Johnson shot Colombo at a rally celebrating Italian Unity Day. Johnson was apprehended but was immediately killed by a second shooter who remains unidentified. Colombo was paralyzed for seven years until he regained limited movement in 1976. He passed away from a heart attack on May 22, 1978.