Tony Bender
Strollo (wearing hat) surrounded by newsmen as he enters his car.


June 18, 1899 New York City, New York, U.S.


April 8, 1962 (aged 62) New York, U.S.





Cause of death


Resting place


Anthony C. Strollo (June 18, 1899 - April 8, 1962), aka "Tony Bender", was a New York mobster who served as a high ranking member of the Genovese crime family.

Early Years[edit | edit source]

Born in New York City, the son of Calabrian immigrants Leone and Giovannina Nigro. Strollo grew up in Manhattan near the Manhattan Bridge with two brothers, Emilio and Dominick. He married a woman named Edna Goldenberg who bore him several children. During Prohibition, Strollo gained a formidable reputation as a bootlegger and hitman. He was a cousin of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania mob family member Lenine Strollo (born c. 1930 Youngstown, Ohio) and Dante Strollo who is another reputed member of the Youngstown La Cosa Nostra syndicate. Lenine was officially inducted into the Pittsburgh mafia in 1917 and served under Michael Genovese. In the early to mid 1920s, Strollo worked for gang boss Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria. However, as the Castellammarese War heated up, Strollo defected to Salvatore Maranzano and become a trusted lieutenant and gunman. At this time, Strollo also became acquainted with then-Maranzano lieutenant, Joseph "The Godfather" Bonanno.

Luciano Crime Family[edit | edit source]

Following the death of Maranzano, Strollo joined the Luciano crime family, which became part of the National Crime Syndicate. Strollo assumed control of illegal gambling in New York's Greenwich Village as a lieutenant of boss Charles "Lucky" Luciano and underboss Vito Genovese. During this time, Luciano became suspicious of rival Michael "Little Apples" Reggione's growing influence and ordered his killing. On November 25, 1932, hitmen Joe Valachi and Peter Maione shot and killed Reggione with three gunshots to the head.

In 1936, boss Luciano went to prison on a pandering charge. Strollo and capo Michael "Trigger Mike" Coppola stepped up to help new acting boss, Vito Genovese. In 1937, there was another leadership change in the Luciano family as Genovese fled to Italy to avoid a murder indictment. Frank Costello now became acting boss and kept Strollo as a top capo. Strollo successfully operated a string of Greenwich Village nightclubs, including the popular Black Cat, the Hollywood, the 19th Hole (some say Christopher "Christy Tick" Furnari of the Lucchese Crime Family ran the 19th Hole), and the Village Inn.

Genovese Crime Family and Disappearance[edit | edit source]

In 1957, Costello was removed from power and Genovese took over the family. Strollo now oversaw operations for the Genovese Crime Family. However, in 1959, Genovese was sent to prison for 15 years on a trumped up narcotics charge. Showing his usual adaptability, Strollo soon met with Gambino family boss Carlo Gambino and pledged loyalty to him.

On April 8, 1962 Strollo disappeared from his residence in Fort Lee, New Jersey. It has never been determined who killed him, or why he was killed. Joe Valachi would later testify Strollo was probably killed on orders of Genovese, who suspected that Strollo had conspired with Luciano to send him to prison. But the 'Probably" factor means Valachi actually did not know. His death remains a mystery. There were rumors in late 1960s that he was still alive, and had faked his death to avoid being arrested.

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