Mob molls are tough dames. They gotta put up with a lotta shit and a lotta bad juju. Not every broad has what it takes to hang with the Mob. Take bit-part actress Alice Granville (above) who was shot twice in the arm by her hitman husband Pete Donahue. Apparently she didn’t even wince. Donahue was a trigger-happy lieutenant for mob boss Dutch Schultz. Granville said her mob beau only shot her to prove how much he loved her. Hate to think what he got her for Valentine’s Day.
Or take fifteen-year-old Carmen Martinez (below)—who was willing to kill for her mob bf. That’s her struggling with cops on her way to Felony Court having been charged with the murder of seventeen-year-old Raul Banuchi in 1951. What says “I love you” more than whacking someone?
Being a Mob moll takes a lotta guts, a lotta loyalty and a helluva lotta just plain dumb. Here’s a rogue’s gallery of some hardboiled Mob molls.
Mob moll Smitty White claims the fifth while getting the third degree from New York’s finest after her boyfriend Ralph Prisco was shot and killed during a failed holdup in 1942. The word “moll” comes from “molly” as in the old 17th century English term for prostitute—though like many English words when transposed to America (fanny being an obvious example) the word developed a different meaning—as in the girlfriend or female accomplice of a gangster.
Big Mama Virginia Hill—the so-called ‘Queen of Mob Molls’ looks like butter wouldn’t melt…. when testifying she knew nothing about her boyfriend Bugsy Siegel’s crime record and Mob connections after he was whacked in 1951.
Mob molls were often ‘gun molls’—women who carried ‘heaters’ (pistols) for their love interest. However, the term ‘gun’ as in ‘gun moll’ was actually derived from the Yiddish word meaning ‘thief’ rather than firearm—though the latter association has since stuck. Here Margo Donahue gets fingerprinted for carrying a loaded .38 caliber pistol for her ‘accomplice’ and henchman boyfriend William Matea in 1961.
Lottie Coll—wife of the infamous Irish mobster Vincent ‘Mad Dog’ Coll—hides her face when being arraigned in court in 1933. Being a moll meant paying the consequences when the bill was served.
Ninteen-year-old Virgina Ornmark couldn’t give a flying fuck as she stares down the camera after her boyfriend Fred Schmidt, 24, was arraigned for the murder of a lingerie merchant in 1944. Being a moll meant you stuck with your man—no matter what.
It’s best not to ask questions. Rita Rio knew how to keep schtum. When her beau Louis ‘Pretty Boy’ Amberg—another of Dutch Schultz’s men—was found burnt to death in his car the same day Schultz was whacked, when asked what her bf did for a living, Rio said she had no idea because she didn’t enquire.
Not all molls wanted the quiet life—Margaret Kelly chose to join beau Frank Palumbo in the holdup of a dance hall in 1932. The holdup failed. The pair were arraigned for robbery and murder.
Once you were accepted into a Mob family—you were in for life. Only way out was a bullet to the brain. Here Palma Vitale shows the ‘poker face’ molls should wear when up before the judge on charges. Difficult to tell if Vitale is happy or sad that her perjury trial has been postponed in 1961.
Florence Garrity claimed life was no fun until she met her hitman boyfriend George Foley. In 1948, Garrity was lifted along with five others in a police roundup.
Gun moll Lillian Stang, 23, plays all dumb to assistant DA James McGrattan’s questions after getting pinched for packing heat. ‘You mean that thing ain’t no cigarette lighter?’
With her arm bandaged after being shot by police during a bloody shootout, gun moll Mary Duke nonchalantly strides into Newark police department in 1943.
Jean Hantover wasn’t as innocent as she looked—here she’s being arrested for assisting mobster George Zeller in a Brooklyn holdup in 1935.
Seventeen-year-old Nancy Serville arrested for being a lookout for mob gang in Queens in 1936.
Marion ‘Kiki’ Roberts was the showgirl lover of Prohibition-era gangster John (Legs) Diamond. Roberts was in bed with the mobster when he was shot.
Janice Drake being taken in for questioning after one of her mob lovers was whacked in 1952. Drake had a beauty queen who spent much of her spare time hanging out with mobsters—even though she was married to comedian Alan Drake.
But sticking with the Mob didn’t always mean a happy ending. This is what happened to Janice Drake—shot in the head alongside her boyfriend Little Augie Pisano in 1959.
Margaret Kane on her way via court to jail in 1932.
Via New York Daily News.