This week, Ira Sternberg spoke with Ori Spado, author of “The Accidental Gangster: From Insurance Salesman to Mob Boss of Hollywood.” In this 30-minute episode of Talk About Las Vegas, Spado talks about his decision to live a life of crime; why, though he knew the top organized crime figures, he refused to become a “made man”; his reputation as a fixer in Hollywood; some of the famous people he met and befriended in the film business; his connection to Las Vegas; his decision to take a plea deal that sent him to prison; and why he decided to write the book as a message to young people.
After serving in the army, Spado returned to his hometown, Rome, New York and worked at various jobs until he sold insurance for the Prudential Insurance Company. After his first marriage and three children, he moved to San Francisco where he married his second wife and then after another divorce, moved to Beverly Hills. It was there where he became known as a Hollywood fixer doing favors for A-list celebrities and others. People referred to him as “The Hollywood Mob Boss.”
In 2008 he was arrested and brought to Brooklyn on a Colombo crime family RICO indictment. (Spado has enjoyed a friendship with the legendary underboss Sonny Franzese of the Colombo family for more than 40 years and remains friends to this day. In addition, Spado has known the bosses of several mafia families throughout America, including Frank Costello, Meyer Lansky, Russell Bufalino, Carlo Marcello and Joey Pyle from London.)
After his conviction, he served his time at the U.S. Federal prison in Lompoc and then returned to Beverly Hills, where he is involved in a few film projects and other legitimate business.