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Joe Valachi
(American Celebrity)

Date of Birth:
September 22, 1903

Date of Death:
April 3, 1971


Quote count:

Times favorited:

Joseph 'Joe Cargo' Valachi was the first Mafia member to publicly acknowledge the existence of the Mafia. He is also the person who made Cosa Nostra a household name.

In October 1963, Valachi had testified before Arkansas Senator John L. McClellan's congressional committee on organized crime that the Mafia did exist. Although the low-ranking Valachi's disclosures never led directly to the prosecution of many Mafia leaders, he was able to provide many details of its history, operations and rituals, aiding in the solution of several uncleared murders, as well as naming many members and the major crime families. His testimony, which was broadcast on radio and television and published in newspapers, was devastating for the mob, still reeling from the November 14, 1957, Apalachin Meeting where state police had accidentally discovered several Mafia bosses from all over the United States meeting at the Apalachin, New York, home of mobster Joseph Barbara. After the Apalachin exposures and Valachi's testimony, the mob was no longer invisible to the public. He is the son-in-law of Gaetano Reina after Valachi married his oldest daughter Mildred, over the objections of her mother, brother and uncles.

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