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NY Trivia: An Answer You Can’t Refuse

Dutch Schultz

Q: Which of the following NY gangsters was NOT Jewish: Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, Dutch Schultz, Louis “Lepke” Buchalter, Arnold “The Brain” Rothstein, “Kid Twist” Reles, Meyer Lansky, Otto “Abadaba” Berman, Mickey Cohen, Albert “Tick–tock” Tannenbaum.

Bonus Question: Name the actors who played these notorious men.

A: They were all Jewish.

This has additional info about the history of Jewish gangsters and the role they played in fighting Nazism and the formation of Israel.

Warren Beatty/Bugsy Siegel

Bonus: Warren Beatty played Bugsy Siegel in “Bugsy.” In that same film, Ben Kingsley played Meyer Lansky and Harvey Keitel played Mickey Cohen.

Hoffman and Hill

Dustin Hoffman played Dutch Shultz in “Billy Bathgate.” In the same film, math wiz Abadaba Berman was played by Steven Hill.

Tony Curtis starred in the 1975 biopic, “Lepke.”

In “The Godfather” films, the character Hyman Roth, based on Meyer Lansky, was played by Lee Strasberg, nominated for best supporting actor. Patrick Dempsey plays a young Meyer Lansky with Christian Slater as his Italian partner in crime in “Mobsters.”

Michael Lerner portrayed Arnold Rothstein, the gambler who allegedly “fixed” the 1919 World Series, in “Eight Men Out.” In the HBO series “Boardwalk Empire,” Rothstein is portrayed by Michael Stuhlbarg (“A Serious Man”).

Lee Strasberg as Hyman Roth (Meyer Lansky)

Robert DeNiro and James Woods play fictitious Jewish gangsters in Sergio Leone’s 1984 epic, “Once Upon a Time in America.”

Look for the next New York Trivia question on Friday and make plans now to join Menorah for a celebration of Jewish New York, honoring Professor David Shneer. Sunday, September 18, 5:30 pm at the Avalon Ballroom.  To register for “New York, New York” click here. Questions?  contact or visit

Read More: A New York State of Mind

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Director of Menorah: Arts, Culture and Education at the Boulder JCC. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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