Joey Gallo (Joseph Gallo)

Joey Gallo

Joey Gallo

Joey Gallo born and raised in the Red Hook section of Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Umberto and Mary Gallo. Joey Gallo grew up in a world already shaped by crime. His father was a bootlegger during the Prohibition era, and he encouraged his boys Larry, Joey and Albert, to be hoodlums and killers and to remove all competition in their illegal enterprises. Joey Gallo was nicknamed “Joey the Blond” because of his full chest of blond hair. In 1950, after an arrest, he was temporarily placed in Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Within a decade, however, Joey Gallo was a mid-sized Brooklyn vending machine racketeer and the head of a gang he called the “Mod Squad,” which included such members as Vinnie the Sicilian and Sammy the Syrian. Joey’s first wife, whom he married around 1960, he later divorced in the mid-1960s, and then in July 1971 remarried, was Las Vegas showgirl Jeffie Lee Boyd. Later in 1971, Jeffie divorced Joey again. The couple had one daughter, Joie Gallo. In early 1961 the Joey Gallo crew attempted to kidnap the entire Profaci leadership. Profaci escaped capture, but the crew was able to get Profaci’s brother-in-law and underboss Joseph Magliocco along with four Profaci capos. The Gallos demanded a more favorable financial scheme for the hostages’ release. Joey Gallo wanted to kill one hostage and demand $100,000 before negotiation, but Larry Gallo overruled him. After a few weeks of negotiation, Profaci made a deal with the Gallos. However, Profaci was busy planning his revenge. He bribed Carmine Persico to secretly work for him and planned his next strike. In May 1961, Profaci gunmen killed Joseph “Joe Jelly” Gioelli, Gallo’s top enforcer. As the years progressed, the Gallo brothers were unable to tend to their usual rackets and started running out of money. Joey Gallo tried to extort payments from a cafe owner, who immediately went to the police. In November, 1961, Joey was convicted on conspiracy and extortion for attempting to extort money from the businessman.On December 21, 1961, Gallo was sentenced to 7 to 14 years in state prison. Joey’s prison time amounted to ten years, during which he worked hard to establish alliances with African-American and Italian gangsters. He was careful to nurture his name recognition, too. His story became the subject of the Jimmy Breslin book The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, which was later turned into a 1971 film. Even Bob Dylan came to admire the sharp tongued gangster, and even wrote a song in his honor, simply titled “Joey.” In March 1972, three weeks before his death, Joey Gallo married 29-year-old actress Sina Essary. Joey became the stepfather of Sina’s daughter, Lisa Essary-Gallo.

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  • April, 07, 1929
  • Brooklyn, New York


  • April, 07, 1972
  • Manhattan, New York

Cause of Death

  • murder at Manhattan restaurant


  • Green-Wood Cemetery
  • Brooklyn, New York

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