|Died||May 16, 1957 54) (aged|
|Department|| Bureau of Prohibition |
Cleveland Division of Police
|Rank||Chief Investigator of the Prohibition Bureau for Chicago in 1934|
Director for Public Safety for Cleveland, Ohio
Eliot Ness (April 19, 1903 – May 16, 1957) was an American Prohibition agent, famous for his efforts to bring down Al Capone and enforce Prohibition in Chicago, Illinois, and the leader of a famous team of law enforcement agents from Chicago, nicknamed The Untouchables. His co-authorship of a popular autobiography, The Untouchables , which was released shortly after his death, launched several television and motion picture portrayals that established Ness's posthumous fame as an incorruptible crime fighter.
The Bureau of Prohibition was the federal law enforcement agency formed to enforce the National Prohibition Act of 1919, commonly known as the Volstead Act, which elaborated upon the 18th Amendment to the United States Constitution regarding the prohibition of the manufacture, sale, and transportation of alcoholic beverages. When it was first established in 1920, it was a unit of the Bureau of Internal Revenue. On April 1, 1927, it became an independent entity within the Department of the Treasury, changing its name from the Prohibition Unit to the Bureau of Prohibition. In 1930, it became part of the Department of Justice. By 1933, with the Repeal of Prohibition imminent, it was briefly absorbed into the FBI, or "Bureau of Investigation" as it was then called, and became the Bureau's "Alcohol Beverage Unit," though, for practical purposes it continued to operate as a separate agency. Very shortly after that, once Repeal became a reality, and the only federal laws regarding alcoholic beverages being their taxation, it was switched back to Treasury, where it was renamed the Alcohol Tax Unit.
Alphonse Gabriel Capone, sometimes known by the nickname "Scarface", was an American gangster and businessman who attained notoriety during the Prohibition era as the co-founder and boss of the Chicago Outfit. His seven-year reign as crime boss ended when he was 33.
Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933.
Eliot Ness was born on April 19, 1903, in the Kensington neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. He was the youngest of five children born to Peter Ness (1850–1931) and Emma (King) Ness (1863–1937). His parents, both Norwegian immigrants, operated a bakery. Ness attended Christian Fenger High School in Chicago. He was educated at the University of Chicago, graduating in 1925 with a degree in political science and business administration, and was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon. He began his career as an investigator for the Retail Credit Company of Atlanta assigned to the Chicago territory, where he conducted background investigations for the purpose of credit information. In 1929, he returned to the university to take a graduate course in criminology taught by August Vollmer, a noted police reformer and chief of the Berkeley Police Department. Vollmer's ideas about professionalizing law enforcement would influence Ness throughout his career. 29-43, 64-67, 202-204:
Riverdale is one of the 77 official community areas of Chicago, Illinois and is located on the city's far southeast side.
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1890, the school is located on a 217-acre campus in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood, near Lake Michigan. The University of Chicago holds top-ten positions in various national and international rankings.
Political science is a social science which deals with systems of governance, and the analysis of political activities, political thoughts, and political behavior. It deals extensively with the theory and practice of politics which is commonly thought of as determining of the distribution of power and resources. Political scientists "see themselves engaged in revealing the relationships underlying political events and conditions, and from these revelations they attempt to construct general principles about the way the world of politics works."
Ness's brother-in-law, Alexander Jamie, an agent of the Bureau of Investigation (which became the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935), influenced Ness to enter law enforcement. Ness joined the U.S. Treasury Department in 1926, working with the 1,000-strong Bureau of Prohibition in Chicago. 67-71, 96-105:
Alexander Jamie was an agent of the Bureau of Investigation and eventually became the head of the Chicago department. He was later transferred to the Justice Department taking on the role of Chief Investigator with the Bureau of Prohibition in 1928. Alexander was the brother-in-law to Eliot Ness who was part of a famous team of law enforcement agents known for their efforts in bringing down Al Capone.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States, and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes.
In March 1930, attorney Frank J. Loesch of the Chicago Crime Commission asked President Herbert Hoover to take down Al Capone. Agents of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, working under Elmer Irey and Special Agent Frank J. Wilson of the Intelligence Unit, were already investigating Capone and his associates for income tax evasion. In late 1930, Attorney General William D. Mitchell, seeking a faster end to the case, implemented a plan devised by President Hoover for sending a small team of Prohibition agents, working under a special United States attorney, to target the illegal breweries and supply routes of Capone while gathering evidence of conspiracy to violate the National Prohibition Act (informally known as the Volstead Act). U.S. attorney George E.Q. Johnson, the Chicago prosecutor directly in charge of both the Prohibition and income tax investigations of Capone, chose the twenty-seven-year-old Ness (now assigned to the Justice Department) to lead this small squad. 170-172, 239-241, 247-250, 265-269, 311-314:
Frank Joseph Loesch was a prominent Chicago attorney, reformer and a founder of the Chicago Crime Commission, which attempted to combat widespread corruption and organized crime related violence.
The Chicago Crime Commission is an independent, non-partisan civic watchdog organization of business leaders dedicated to educating the public about the dangers of organized criminal activity, especially organized crime, street gangs and the tools of their trade: drugs, guns, public corruption, money laundering, identity theft and gambling, founded in 1919. The police, the judicial system, politicians, prosecutors and citizens rely on the Chicago Crime Commission to provide advice on crime issues and to communicate vital information to the public.
The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
With corruption of Chicago's law enforcement agents epidemic, Ness went through the records of all Prohibition agents to create a reliable team (initially of six, eventually growing to about ten) later known as "The Untouchables." Raids against illegal stills and breweries began in March 1931. Within six months, Ness's agents had destroyed bootlegging operations worth an estimated $500,000 and representing an additional $2 million in lost income for Capone; their raids would ultimately cost Capone in excess of $9 million in lost revenue. The main source of information for the raids was an extensive wire-tapping operation. Failed attempts by members of the Chicago Outfit to bribe or intimidate Ness and his agents inspired Charles Schwarz of the Chicago Daily News to begin calling them "untouchables," a term Schwarz borrowed from newspaper stories about the untouchables of India. George Johnson adopted the nickname and promoted it to the press, establishing it as the squad's unofficial title. 317-331, 349-365, 419-421, 493:
The Chicago Outfit is an Italian-American organized crime syndicate based in Chicago, Illinois, which dates back to the 1910s. It is part of the American Mafia originating in Chicago's South Side.
The Chicago Daily News was an afternoon daily newspaper in the midwestern United States, published between 1876 and 1978 in Chicago, Illinois.
Dalit', meaning "broken/scattered" in Sanskrit and Hindi, is a term mostly used for the ethnic groups in India that have been kept depressed by subjecting them to untouchability. Dalits were excluded from the four-fold varna system of Hinduism and were seen as forming a fifth varna, also known by the name of Panchama. Dalits now profess various religious beliefs, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Christianity. As per the latest census, they comprise 16% of India's population.
The efforts of Ness and his team inflicted major financial damage on Capone's operations and led to his indictment on five thousand violations of the Volstead Act in June 1931. But federal judge James H. Wilkerson prevented that indictment from coming to trial, instead pursuing the tax evasion case built by George Johnson and Frank Wilson. 385-421, 493-496 On October 17, 1931, Capone was convicted on five of twenty-two tax evasion charges. He was sentenced to eleven years in prison and, following a failed appeal, began his sentence in 1932. On May 3, 1932, Ness was among the federal agents who took Capone from the Cook County Jail to Dearborn Station, where he boarded the Dixie Flyer to the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary – the only time both men are known to have met in person. :423-461, 496-501:
The Cook County Jail, located on 96 acres in Cook County, Illinois, is the largest single site jail in the United States. Located at 2700 South California Avenue in the city of Chicago, it houses about 6500 prisoners and employs 3900 law enforcement officials and 7000 civilian employees.
Dearborn Station was the oldest of the six intercity train stations serving downtown Chicago, Illinois. It currently serves as office retail and entertainment space. Located at Dearborn and Polk Streets, adjacent to Printers Row, the station was owned by the Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad, which itself was owned by the companies operating over its line. The station now houses a shopping mall.
The Dixie Flyer was a premier named passenger train that operated from 1892 to 1965 via the "Dixie Route" from Chicago and St. Louis via Evansville, Nashville, and Atlanta to Florida. The Flyer's route varied in early years, but by about 1920 was set as follows:
In 1932, Ness was promoted to Chief Investigator of the Prohibition Bureau for Chicago. Following the end of Prohibition in 1933, he was assigned as an alcohol tax agent in the "Moonshine Mountains" of southern Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, and in 1934 he was transferred to Cleveland, Ohio. In December 1935, Cleveland mayor Harold H. Burton hired Ness as the city's Safety Director, which put him in charge of both the police and fire departments. Ness soon began a groundbreaking reform program inspired by the ideas of August Vollmer, which focused on professionalizing and modernizing the police, stopping juvenile delinquency, and improving traffic safety. He declared war on the mob, and his primary targets included "Big" Angelo Lonardo, "Little" Angelo Scirrca, Moe Dalitz, John Angerola, George Angersola, and Charles Pollizi. 493, 529-530:
Ness was also Safety Director at the time of several grisly murders that occurred in the Cleveland area from 1935 to 1938; though he had oversight of the police department, he was only peripherally involved in the investigation.Ness was the one who interrogated one of the prime suspects of the murders, Dr. Francis E. Sweeney, using a polygraph test. At one point in time, two victims of the serial killer were in close proximity to city hall, the place where he worked.
In 1938, Ness and his wife Edna divorced. His otherwise remarkably successful career in Cleveland withered gradually. He especially fell out of favor after he had the city’s large shantytowns evacuated and burned during the Cleveland Torso Murders. Cleveland critics targeted his divorce, his high-profile social drinking, and his conduct in a car accident one night where he was driving drunk. Although there were no victims in the accident, Ness, fearful that he might lose his job, tried to get the accident covered up. Later, his involvement in the accident was revealed by a local newspaper and calls for his resignation increased; however, Burton's successor as mayor, Frank Lausche, kept Ness on.
In 1939 Ness married illustrator Evaline Michelow. In 1942 the Nesses moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the federal government. He directed the battle against prostitution in communities surrounding military bases, where venereal disease was a serious problem. Later he made a number of forays into the corporate world, all of which failed owing to his lack of business acumen. In 1944, he left to become chairman of the Diebold Corporation, a security safe company based in Ohio.
After his second divorce and third marriage, he ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Cleveland in 1947, [ citation needed ] He also spent himself into debt. Ness was forced into taking various odd jobs to earn a living, including electronics parts wholesaler, clerk in a bookstore, and salesman of frozen hamburger patties to restaurants.[ citation needed ] By 1953 he came to work for a startup company called Guaranty Paper Corporation, which specialized in watermarking legal and official documents to prevent counterfeiting. Ness was offered a job because of his expertise in law enforcement. The company soon moved from Cleveland to the quiet rural town of Coudersport, Pennsylvania, where operating costs were lower.[ citation needed ] He made a decent income from GPC and moved with his wife and adopted son into a modest rental house.[ citation needed ]after which he was expelled from Diebold in 1951. In the aftermath, Ness began drinking more heavily and spending his free time in bars telling stories of his law enforcement career.
In 1931, a member of Al Capone's gang promised Ness that two $1,000 notes would be on his desk every Monday morning if he turned a blind eye to their bootlegging activities (roughly $33,000 a week in 2018 adjusting for inflation). Ness refused the bribe and in later years struggled with money; he died almost broke at the age of 54. Ness and his role in bringing down Al Capone had been largely forgotten at the time of his death in 1957. His heroic reputation underwent a resurgence with the posthumous publication of the 1957 book he had co-written with Oscar Fraley and the 1959 and 1993 television series, 1987 film, and related media adapted from it. 359-360, 531-532:
Ness was married to Edna Stahle from 1929 to 1938, illustrator Evaline Michelow (1911–1986) from 1939 to 1945, and artist Elisabeth Andersen Seaver (1906–1977) from 1946 until his death in 1957. He also had an adopted son, Robert (1946–1976). 124-125, 201:
Ness collapsed and died at his home in Coudersport, Pennsylvania, of a massive heart attack on May 16, 1957; he was 54. His ashes were scattered in one of the small ponds on the grounds of Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland. He was survived by his widow, Elisabeth Andersen Seaver, and adopted son, Robert.
The Western Reserve Historical Society houses additional Ness papers, including a scrapbook (1928–1936), copies of newspaper clippings (1935–1950), a typewritten manuscript detailing Ness's career in Chicago, and miscellaneous papers, including a report on the Fidelity Check Corporation and Guaranty Paper, of which Ness was president.
Numerous media works have been developed based on Eliot Ness's life and the legend surrounding his work in Chicago. The first of these resulted in Ness's last years from his collaboration with Oscar Fraley in writing the book The Untouchables (1957), which was published a month after Ness's death million copies. This book, among Fraley's other books about the Untouchables, was heavily spiced with fiction, including fictional characters and events, to make the books more appealing to a general audience. The 21-page manuscript that Ness wrote for the book was a more trustworthy source and only included the real events that Ness experienced during his career. His manuscript is housed in the archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society in Cleveland, Ohio.and went on to sell 1.5
The book was adapted in multiple media and inspired many additional works. The best-known eponymous adaptations include the 1959 TV series The Untouchables starring Robert Stack as Ness and narrated by Walter Winchell and the 1987 film The Untouchables by Brian De Palma starring Kevin Costner as Ness and featuring Sean Connery and Robert De Niro. These two fictionalized portrayals, more than actual history, have inspired numerous novels; a TV-movie, The Return of Eliot Ness. in which Stack returned to the role; a second, short-lived 1993 TV series titled The Untouchables ; stage plays such as Robert Ullian's In the Shadow of the Terminal Tower; and comic books such as Torso .
Max Allan Collins used Ness as the "police contact/best friend" character in his series of historical private eye novels featuring Chicago detective Nate Heller. Later he spun Ness off into his own series, set during his tenure as Cleveland's Public Safety Director. The first book, The Dark City (1987), depicted Ness's getting hired and undertaking a cleanup of the graft-ridden police force; the second, Butcher's Dozen (1988), his pursuit of the serial killer known as the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run. Bullet Proof (1989) pitted Ness against labor racketeers intent on taking over Cleveland's food service industry. Murder by the Numbers (1993) depicted Ness's investigation of the numbers racket in Cleveland. All of these novels, while fictionalized, were closely based on actual cases investigated by Ness and the Cleveland Police. Collins's also wrote a one-man stage play, Eliot Ness - An Untouchable Life, which was nominated for an Edgar award. In 2018, Collins collaborated with historian A. Brad Schwartz on a nonfiction dual biography of Ness and Capone, entitled Scarface and the Untouchable: Al Capone, Eliot Ness, and the Battle for Chicago.
Cleveland-based Great Lakes Brewing Company, which claims several connections to Ness (including the brewery owners' mother having worked as his stenographer), named an amber lager "Eliot Ness"and included several subtle nods to his career in the beer description and label art.
On January 10, 2014, Illinois' U.S. Senators proposed naming the headquarters of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Washington, D.C. after Ness.If approved, it would have been called the Eliot Ness ATF Building. However, Chicago Aldermen Ed Burke (14th Ward) and James Balcer (11th Ward) opposed the resolution in an article in the Chicago Tribune. In a news release, Burke said: "Eliot Ness had a checkered career after leaving the federal government. I simply do not think his image matches the actual reality of his legacy."
The Untouchables is an American crime drama that ran from 1959 to 1963 on the ABC Television Network, produced by Desilu Productions. Based on the memoir of the same name by Eliot Ness and Oscar Fraley, it fictionalized Ness's experiences as a Prohibition agent, fighting crime in Chicago in the 1930s with the help of a special team of agents handpicked for their courage, moral character, and incorruptibility, nicknamed the Untouchables. The book was later made into a film in 1987 by Brian De Palma, with a script by David Mamet, and a second, less-successful TV series in 1993.
The Cleveland Torso Murderer was an unidentified serial killer who was active in Cleveland, Ohio, United States in the 1930s. The killings were characterized by the dismemberment of twelve known victims and the disposal of their remains in the impoverished neighborhood of Kingsbury Run. Despite an investigation of the murders, which at one time was led by famed lawman Eliot Ness, then Cleveland's Public Safety Director, the murderer was never apprehended.
The Untouchables is a 1987 American gangster film directed by Brian De Palma, produced by Art Linson, written by David Mamet, and based on the book of the same name (1957). The film stars Kevin Costner, Charles Martin Smith, Andy Garcia, Robert De Niro, and Sean Connery, and follows Eliot Ness (Costner) as he forms the Untouchables team to bring Al Capone to justice during Prohibition. The Grammy Award-winning score was composed by Ennio Morricone and features period music by Duke Ellington.
The Untouchables is an autobiographical memoir about Eliot Ness co-written by Oscar Fraley, published in 1957. The book deals with the experiences of Eliot Ness, a federal agent in the Bureau of Prohibition, as he fights crime in Chicago in the late 1920s and early 1930s with the help of a special team of agents handpicked for their incorruptibility, nicknamed The Untouchables.
The Untouchables were special agents of the U.S. Bureau of Prohibition led by Eliot Ness, who, from 1930 to 1932, worked to end Al Capone's illegal activities by aggressively enforcing Prohibition laws against his organization. Legendary for being fearless and incorruptible, they earned the nickname "The Untouchables" after several agents refused large bribes from members of the Chicago Outfit.
The Secret Six was a name given to six influential businessmen in Chicago who organized the business community against Al Capone.
The Untouchables of Elliot Mouse is a 26 episode half-hour television animated series loosely inspired by the real life Eliot Ness, and his group of agents colloquially known as the Untouchables, and their investigation into the real life gangster Al Capone, although it does take some liberties with history. The series also parodies the violent atmosphere of Chicago during the Dry Law, as well as the old American films, their heroes and villains. The main characters in this series are four friendly mice: Elliot "Mouse", Gordon, Mr. Wilson, and Jack the Irishman, although there are also some cats and dogs.
The Untouchables is an American crime drama series that aired for two seasons in syndication, from January 1993 to May 1994. The series portrayed work of the real life Untouchables federal investigative squad in Prohibition-era Chicago and its efforts against Al Capone's attempts to profit from the market in bootleg liquor.
James "Mad Bomber" Belcastro was a Black Hand gang member, extortionist, and later chief bomber for the Chicago Outfit during Prohibition.
Frank John Wilson was best known as the Chief of the United States Secret Service and a former agent of the Treasury Department's Bureau of Internal Revenue, later known as the Internal Revenue Service. Wilson most notably contributed in the prosecution of Chicago mobster Al Capone in 1931, and as a federal representative in the Lindbergh kidnapping case.
William Jennings Gardner was an American football player, coach, and law-enforcement agent. While working as a Prohibition agent in Chicago, Illinois, Gardner served with Eliot Ness's "Untouchables," a group of hand-picked federal agents who, from 1930 to 1932, sought to put an end to Al Capone's illegal empire. Although Gardner was only involved with the group for a short period of time, he would be prominently mentioned in Ness's memoir of the investigation, The Untouchables, and inspire a recurring character in the 1959 television series based upon that book.
Oscar Fraley was the co-author, with Eliot Ness, of the famous American memoir The Untouchables.
Sammy is a popular humour Belgian comics series. It first started in 1970 in the weekly comic Spirou magazine, it has been published in book form, and even been the subject of several omnibus editions by Dupuis. Raoul Cauvin wrote the series while artist Berck drew the first thirty or so adventures before being succeeded by Jean-Pol.
Arnold J. Sagalyn was an American journalist, government employee and private consultant.
A list of books about Prohibition era gangster Al Capone:
The Scarface Mob is an American feature film directed by Phil Karlson and starring Robert Stack. It consists of the pilot episodes for the TV series The Untouchables (1959) that originally screened as a two-part installment of Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse in April 1959. The episodes were cut together and released in 1962.
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