Late for the Opera: "Samoots" Amatuna

Oct 14, 2009 - by Allan May - 0 Comments

Samuel Samuzzo Amatuna

Samuel Samuzzo Amatuna

The story of a flashy Chicago gangster who killed his first man at age 17, then rose to the top of mobsterdom -- only to find that not only is it lonely at the top, but dangerous.

by Allan May

"In the first place, according to the ‘boys in the racket,’ Samoots was the most generous of them all," said a close friend. He would go to the local barbershop and buy the boys haircuts and shaves. Samoots would then ask someone to help him pick out a new suit and then buy that man one to match. "He never knew when to stop giving," another friend said, "Those who knew him said his hands were always open and he always had a smile."

But, if he wanted someone removed… "Sure," said one of his intimates, "If he wanted a guy knocked off, he’d have him knocked off, what the hell? But he was a good guy just the same."

Samoots, whose real name was Samuel Samuzzo Amatuna, had a short but colorful career in the Chicago underworld. Called the "Beau Brummel of Little Italy" by the newspapers, his rise and fall paralleled that of the Genna gang of Chicago, a family of six brothers with a ruthless reputation with whom Amatuna was once closely associated.

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