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.
Bonus: Warren Beatty played Bugsy Siegel in “Bugsy.” In that same film, Ben Kingsley played Meyer Lansky and Harvey Keitel played Mickey Cohen.
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”).
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 Kathryn@boulderjcc.org or visit www.boulderjcc.org.
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