Jack "Legs" Diamond was shot and badly wounded countless times, he was called the "Gangster who couldn't be killed."
Diamond, born July 10, 1897, from his parents in Kilrush, County Clare, Ireland, spent his first years in Philadelphia. After his mother died of a viral infection when Diamond was thirteen, he and his younger brother, Eddie, fell with a group of troops called "The Boiler Gang." Diamond was arrested dozens of times for assorted robberies and ashes, and after spending a few months in a youth reformer, Diamond was drafted into the army. The life of the army did not fit Diamond very well. He served less than a year, then decided to go on AWOL. He was soon arrested and sentenced to three to five years at the Federal Penitentiary in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
Diamond was released from prison in 1921, and he decided that New York was the place where he could make his fortune. Diamond and his brother, Eddie, moved to the lower east of Manhattan, where they fell with a gangster named Lucky Luciano. Diamond has done some weird work for Luciano, including a little startup, along with young Brooklyn Vannie Higgins. Diamond's marriage to Florance Williams lasted only a few months (he was never home). But his luck changed, when Luciano introduced Diamond to Arnold "The Brain" Rothstein, a notorious gambler and financial wizard. This was the break Diamond was waiting for and he made the most of it.
After starting out as a bodyguard for Rothstein, Rothstein brought in Diamond as a partner in his heroin work. When his pockets became quite full of money and his need for Rothstein diminished, Diamond, in concert with his brother Eddie, decided to break away from himself. They realized they could make a hijacking package for the startup trucks of other mobsters, including those of Owney Madden and Big Bill Dwyer. This was not a very good idea, as Madden and Dwyer were part of a larger syndicate of criminals, including Luciano, the Dutchman Schultz, and Meyer Lansky. In short, Diamond was the persona non grata in the gangster world and free choice for anyone who wanted to get rid of him.
In October 1924, Diamond was driving a Dodge sedan on Fifth Avenue when, on 110th Street, a black limousine pulled up beside him. A rifle fired at Diamond from the rear window of the limo, but Diamond was too quick to be killed. He got down and hit the accelerator, without looking where he was going. Fortunately, he managed to escape from his gunmen and to the nearby hospital in Mount Sinai. Doctors pulled pills at his head, face and feet, and when police officers came to interrogate him, Diamond was ripped off.
"I don't know anything about it," Diamond said for the fuzz. "Why would anyone want to shoot me? They must have the wrong guy."
Soon, Diamond befriended a gangster who did not seek to kill him. His name was "Little Augie" Orgen. Orgen installed Diamond as a bodyguard. Instead, Orgen gave Diamond a good deal of his narcotics and narcotics business. This friendship went well until October 15, 1927, when Louis Lepke and Gurrah Shapiro drove down Orgen on the corner of Norfolk and Delancey Street, Diamond assuming he was safe on Orgen's safety. The diamond was shot in the arms and legs (probably by accident), requiring another trip to the hospital. Upon his release, he handled Lepke and Shapiro nicely, and as a result, the two killers offered Diamond Orgen's booty and narcotics business, as a reward for being foolish enough to get in the way of Orgen's bullets.
Now Diamond was at the top of the world. He had plenty of money to throw around and became a top chef in all the top nightclubs in New York City, usually with showgirl Kiki Roberts on his arm, despite the fact that he was still married to his second. wife, Alice Kenny. Diamond was regularly seen at the Cotton Club, El Fay and Stork Club, and his image was frequently seen in newspapers, which depicted Diamond not as a gangster but as a handsome man about the city. Soon Diamond was the owner of Hotsy Totsy Club on Broadway, between 54th and 55th Street, with Hymie Cohen as the front-runner. The Hotsy Totsy Club had a back room where Diamond often settled business disputes, usually shooting his opponents to death, then taking them as if they were drunk.
Diamond's fall began when, on July 13, 1929, three unreliable dock operators loaded up and started a ruckus at the Hotsy Totsy club bar. Diamond jumped, along with his bandmate Charles Entratta, to stop his manager from being agitated. "I'm Jack Diamond and I'm running this place," Diamond told the dock workers. "If you don't calm down, I throw your head (explosively)."
The speech did not work and soon began filming. When the smoke cleared, two dock operators were dead and one injured. As a result, Diamond and Entratta took the blade. While hiding, Diamond decided that before he could return to do what he was doing, the bartender and three witnesses had to be killed. And soon they were. Cohen also died, and the little girl checking the hat, the cashier and a waiter disappeared from the face of the earth. Diamond and Entratta, with everyone outside anyone who could hurt him, calmly turned to the police and said, "I heard we were being searched." No charges were ever filed against them, but Diamond realized that New York City was no longer safe for him, so he closed the Hotsy Totsy Club and moved to Greene County, New York.
From New York State, Diamond performed a small startup operation. But after a few months of impatience, he sent word back to the New York gangsters, namely Dutchman Schultz and Owney Madden, who threw Diamond's rockets in his absence, returning to take what was his own. This set a target right behind Diamond and became known as the "clay pigeon of the interlaced world."
Diamond was sitting at the Aratoga Inn bar near Arca, New York, when three men dressed as duck hunters dressed in the bar and filled Diamond with bullets. Doctors offered her little chance of survival, but four weeks later, Diamond left the hospital and told the press, "Well, I did it again. Nobody can kill Jack Legs Diamond. ”
Several months later, while Diamond was leaving an inn on the side of the road, he was shot four times; in the back, foot, lungs and liver, but again, he beat the chances that the doctors gave him and he survived. He was not so lucky in December 1931, when after a night of heavy drinking at the Kenmore Hotel in Albany, he headed back, drunk, to the nearby boarding house and fell asleep. The owner later said he heard Diamond praying for his life, before hearing three blows. It appears that two gunmen burst into Diamond's room, and while one of them held his two ears, the other put three beats in his brain.
The killers escaped in a red Packard, ending the myth that Jack "Legs" Diamond was the gangster who couldn't be killed.