The world is constantly changing, and it’s partly because of the constant turning of the wheel of change that so much of what actually goes on around us is hidden. The secrets of history can only truly be revealed by those who were there to bear witness. Jack O’Halloran is a former boxer, actor, and now, author of the book Family Legacy. Jack shares some gruesome historical secrets with Dr. Diane Hamilton. Throughout his life and career, Jack has witnessed a great amount of events that you will not want to miss out on.
We have Jack O’Halloran. He’s a former heavyweight boxer, Irish Jack. He’s an actor. You’ve seen him in all kinds of movies. He’s the author of Family Legacy, regarding his relationship with Gambino crime boss Albert Anastasia. This is going to be interesting.
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Family Legacy: Histories Hidden From View With Jack O’Halloran
I am here with Jack O’Halloran who is a former boxer fighting as Irish Jack. He’s also a former actor. He’s best known for acting in films like Superman and Dragnet. He is an inductee into the California Boxing Hall of Fame and boxed with some of the biggest names including George Foreman and Ken Norton. He’s been in some of the rings with some of the most amazing people. He’s also the author of Family Legacy, about a former crime boss of the Gambino crime family, Albert Anastasia, who was shot and killed in a barbershop. I want to have him talk about that. This is going to be interesting. Welcome, Jack.
How are you?
I’m great. I’m looking forward to chatting with you. You have such an interesting background from acting and boxing. I live two doors down from Muhammad Ali. His house is in my neighborhood and I used to walk by his house every day.
He was a dear friend.
What an amazing guy. I loved that he had these little boxing gloves that hung from the rearview mirror of his car outside his house. Every time I walked by, I thought it was cute. Your background is fascinating to me. Our good friend, Sharon Lee, has introduced you to me and you have had an amazing career. You started boxing before you got into Hollywood, correct?
First, I played pro football. I went from football to boxing, then from boxing to Hollywood.
What got you into boxing?
Muhammad Ali. When I played football, it was an era when you couldn’t play until your class graduated. They didn’t have certifications in those days. I had left school early and the Jets had taken me, picked me up, and kept me on what they call a farm as long as I can baseball where they have minor leagues and stuff. They keep people so they could bring them up for professional leagues. I was up with the New York Jets and the Philadelphia Eagles had a good ball team. A lot of my good friends were down there.There are times when you're your own worst enemy. Click To Tweet
When I was eligible to play, I asked Ewbank if I could get down and play in Philadelphia. He said, “Yeah, but you’ve always got a home here,” or whatever. When I went to Philly, Jerry Wolman had just bought the team. He hired a coach called Joe Kuharich, who traded the championship football team away in about two months. Muhammad Ali had just won the title. I was despondent over how this guy had broken up this team. I said, “Wow.” I then said to a friend of mine, “I can beat that guy out.” They said, “That’s a good idea.” They put me in a gym and six months later, I embarked on a professional boxing career.
I couldn’t box amateur because in those days if you were professional in one sport, you couldn’t participate in an amateur sport. I had to go into the professional fighting. It worked out well. I had 16, 17 fights and they come up with a diagnosis that I had a disease called acromegaly which is a disorder of the pituitary gland and told me I shouldn’t be boxing at all. I didn’t pay much attention to that. I continued to go for the next 8 or 9 years. I was 1 of 10 fighters in the history of boxing that reached a certain level of the top ten heavyweights in the world as a ranked fighter and never boxed amateur.
I was my worst enemy. I got a little bit despondent when I found out about the acromegaly and it was a weird disease that caused a lot of depression. That’s why they said, “How could you possibly get mentally ready for a fight?” I was a tough case in the streets and I could fight. I had good ability and I got away with a lot because I had a natural athletic ability. If I had trained like my friends, like Ali and stuff, I probably would have reached a heavyweight championship. I’ve been inducted in several Hall of Fames because I did well within my sport.
I remember hearing Irish Jack a lot. That was a huge thing. My dad used to constantly have Cosell and Ali fights going on the radio when I was a kid. They were always bantering back and forth. Did you know Howard Cosell too?
I knew Cosell. Ali and I were signed to fight four times and it never came off for one reason or another.
Did you ever do it off of television? Did you ever do a friendly match or box with him as a friend?
We put on a few shows up in his camp and a couple of other places. He was an amazing individual when you spent time with him one-on-one. He was a totally different person. He was hyped up to be a media guy and was a terrific athlete. No matter what sport Ali would have gone into, he would have excelled. He was a great athlete and a great fighter. He had great ability. He was in command of himself for a long time until he got at the end of his career. It was sad because they thought he had Parkinson’s and things of that nature, but there were four young doctors from Philadelphia that found out that his body was poisoned. He had here a camp up in Pennsylvania and it was next to a mink farm. The spray that they used to control the mink was poisoning his body and broke it down. That’s what caused his Parkinson’s and a lot of his problems. I miss him. He was a neat guy to know.
He’s not as big of a guy as you are. You’re 6’5”.
He was about 6’3”, somewhere around there. I have a funny story. He was buying a house in Cherry Hill and one of the few white people that were around him diligently was a guy called Gene Kilroy. He was a good friend of mine. He and Kilroy were in a car together and he was looking at a house he was buying in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He called me on the phone one day and I was boxing out in San Diego at that time. I move around. I went to Philly, Boston and I was out in San Diego. When I went to fight Ken Norton, I stayed there. I became the California heavyweight champion. He called me on the phone. He said, “You have to do me a favor.” I said, “Sign the contract to fight me. I’ll do whatever favor you want.” He said, “You’re fighting my brother this week and you’ve got to get him out of boxing because he’s embarrassing me.” I said, “Is Rahman Ali your brother?” He said, “That’s my brother.” I said, “I better go to the gym and train for a couple of days.” I knocked his brother out in San Diego and he never fought again. I called him on the phone. I said, “Where are we going?” He was a good guy. I like him a lot.
You watch a lot of these people who’ve gone through all this. Watching television and movies about Rocky or whatever we see from our perspective.
Rocky was my life story. The first picture I ever did was Farewell, My Lovely with Robert Mitchum. Stallone did a small part in that movie because he came out with a crew. There was an actor by the name of Joe Spano out in New York. He used to bring 5, 6 actors to a picture to do character roles. Stallone came out with him to do a role in Farewell, My Lovely. He was just writing the Rocky script and he had never been to Philadelphia. I was a gangster. My father was involved with the mafia and the people that are on my contract were mafia people. He picked my brain every day about the gym where I fought, the fact at the waterfront, and the whole thing of Philadelphia.
It also makes me laugh when he got up in the morning, he broke the eggs and put the eggs in it. I did that. I still do it. I’ve been doing it for 60 years. I eat the shells and everything. I put everything in a blender. That’s where the vitamins are. People don’t understand that the vitamins in the egg are in the shell. That’s calcium. I used to do that every morning and I told him that he should break the eggs. I put them in a blender. I put a little vanilla in there and Bob’s your uncle. He said, “Wow,” and so he put that in the movie. That’s what made me laugh. That’s the character that he created. He was then doing the second or third movie and somebody asked me, “He wants to talk to you about doing a role or something,” and it dawned on him. He wasn’t tall.
Is he half of your size like 5’6” or something?
I remember I went down to see him at MGM. He had an office at MGM and he’s standing behind his desk. He had a platform behind his desk so he would look taller.
Do you know how tall he is?
He’s about 5’8”, 5’9”. They had this movie out called The Irishman. I don’t know if you’ve seen it. The actors are great. De Niro is a great actor and Joe Pesci, but De Niro is playing a guy by the name of Frank Sheeran. He’s from Philadelphia. I knew him well. Frank Sheeran is my size and De Niro is 5’8”. How they do the story is that Sheeran was the killer of Jimmy Hoffa and Joe Gallo. These are all mysteries that no one ever saw. I know for a fact that Frank Sheeran never killed Jimmy Hoffa because I knew who killed him.
Why don’t you write that up?Everybody blames the mafia, but the mafia never killed innocent people. Click To Tweet
We’re going to get around to that one day probably. Jimmy was a good friend. I knew Jimmy well. I had a lot of admiration for Jimmy Hoffa. He was a man’s man. He would never ask you to do what he couldn’t do himself. I went around the country with him a few times, different things. I met him in Philadelphia when we had a couple of strikes down in the waterfront.
Do you know where he’s buried?
I will tell you this. He’s not buried anywhere. They will never give up his body. All the stories that come out are fictitious. One of the greatest stories, there’s a friend of mine and he was in jail in Illinois. His father owned a gentleman’s farm right outside of Chicago. He usually went out and tended to his father’s farm. He tills it and turns it over and everything. They locked him up and his father had nobody to help him turn the earth over at his farm. He told the FBI, “I shouldn’t be saying this, but Hoffa is buried in my father’s farm.” They went and they dug the whole farm. They did the job that this guy would have done for his father. They didn’t find anything, but there were a lot of laughs about that. He coerced them into digging up the farm.
You know a lot of secrets. Was there a second shooter of Kennedy? How many secrets do you know from your connections?
There have been many books written and many theories about this and theories about that. If you wanted to ask a question of who’s the one person who’s responsible for Jack Kennedy’s death, it was his father. His father made a lot of enemies in his life. Going back to the Depression, Joe Kennedy was a smart banker. He was the youngest banking president in the history of America. His father-in-law was Honey Fitzgerald, who was an Irish gangster who became a Senator of Massachusetts. He was a wealthy man. He controlled all the liquor that came in from Scotland and everything into America. He redid the Boston Harbor. He’s a wealthy man and he married his daughter, Rose Fitzgerald.
In the time of the Prohibition, Joe Kennedy had a warehouse up in Canada with a guy from New Jersey. They were bootlegging because they got all the whiskey and everything from his father-in-law. They took them up into Canada and they were bringing it back down into their country. He was bringing a load of booze. It was coming down and he hijacked it. He took it somewhere where it wasn’t supposed to go. It belonged to a group called the Purple Gang who were prominent killers. These guys were nobody to play with. He hijacks their load of booze and they told him, “You’re a dead man.” He ran to his father who said, “What will I do? I can’t help you. You go to Chicago and sit down with a man named Joe Esposito,” who was one of the first dons in the country. He went out and sat down with him and Joe’s producer. He said, “You’re a good earner. You’re a smart kid. I like you a lot. You go back to Boston. I’ll take care of the Purple Gang, but you belong to us in Chicago now. Do you understand that?” They had them on the thumb.
There was a group in Chicago called the Hamilton Club, which was a strong political club like the New York Athletic Club. The President and everybody used to hang out there. They took Joe Kennedy and they sent him to Hollywood. They introduced him to Randolph Hearst of RKO studios. The distribution deal that they had was put together by Joe Kennedy. He put all the Jewish theater owners together. If you look underneath all the paperwork, you’ll find his name. Randolph Hearst was a good friend of his. He owned all the newspapers on the West Coast and Joe ran around with every movie star there. Chicago owned the Cinematographer Union. They controlled the film industry and they introduced him to it.
In 1926, America became a war bearing country after World War I. We started manufacturing war surplus and everything. We were taking jobs away from Europe and they felt that they weren’t being paid back. What a lot of people don’t maybe understand is when the first bank was put together in America, it was constructed of $10 million, $9 million that came from Europe and $1 million from America. The money was lent by the inner circle of Geneva through London. They claimed they weren’t getting paid back enough, then we were taking jobs. There was a lot of squawking going on. The Hamilton Clubs said to Joe Kennedy, “We want you to do something for us.”
He stole $5 million of common stock right in public daylight and no one ever saw it. They said, “That’s good. You’re a clever kid.” They designed the short sell and it was aimed at 30 companies in Europe, one of them being a company that a man called Black Jack Bouvier owned from his father and his uncle. He was Jackie Kennedy’s father. It belonged to the Rothschild family. They went bankrupt because Joe constructed this short sell. What the short sell did was they were successful the first week. That’s where Kennedy got all his property down along the East Coast, Florida and North Carolina.
How do you know about all of this?
Because I was told directly by people who were involved. You never read this in a book. They did the short sell for a week. It made a tremendous amount of money and they effectively did what they wanted to do. They knew that these companies that went bankrupt would have to reinvest back in the country to get their money back. What they did was when the short sell works so well, it took off a couple of days. When they’re coming back to finish it, the country panics and it caused the crash of ‘29 and that was your original cause of the crash. When it was over, the government turned around to Joe Kennedy and said, “You did a great job. Here’s what we want you to do. You’re going to rewrite the laws of the SEC.” They knew that people had to reinvest back in the country and they wanted it under their terms.
He spent five years as the head of the SEC up until 1935. At the end of that, they said, “You did a great job, commendable, terrific. What we want you to do is you’re going to become the Ambassador to England. He became Ambassador Joe Kennedy and he went to England. America wasn’t in the wars yet. Before he went to England, some people in Chicago grabbed him, sat him down and said, “Listen up here. When you go over there, there are some people who want you to sit down with, because we want to tie some things together tighter over there.” The first guy that he has gotten therewith was the Shah of Iran, who was a gangster and they put a bank together. With that bank, they lent money to Hitler. Hitler took that money and came back to the same group. He added a guy called Chris Shogi and bought all the weapons.
Everyone turned around and said to Joe Kennedy, “You can’t do this. You’re lending money to our enemy.” He didn’t think he was doing anything wrong because America wasn’t in the war yet. He was a greedy guy, everything was about money. They flew him out of England. They kicked him out. They sent him home. Nobody ever knew why he got sent home. The Gore family from Indiana owned the papers on the East Coast and Hearst owned the papers on the West Coast. There was no television then. The radio stations were owned by a man in Texas. Nobody ever said why Joe Kennedy was thrown out of England. That was never divulged. He came home as Ambassador Joe Kennedy and he went on with his life. The first person he wanted to be president was his older son, Joe Kennedy, who was a great pilot. This is how the bankers of Geneva started to get even with him. They were angry about what happened with the Depression.
They formed a company that had an airplane that was like a kamikaze plane. They were going to fly it into the munitions factories of Germany during World War II and put a halt to the war. They needed a test pilot. Young Joe Kennedy was a great pilot and a very astute soldier. He was already mustered out. He was two weeks away from getting out of the service. They talked to him into test piloting this plane. He test pilot the plane, the plane crashed and he died. Two weeks later, they scrapped the whole deal. They put that whole thing together. That was the first stroke of getting even with Joe Kennedy. All of his sons paid for his errs in life. Instead of killing him, they made him watch his sons die.
If you look at Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas, the whole thing was reconstructed of how they got down to Dealey Plaza. It took them three months to restrict where they were going to do this drive with the Kennedy, the President of the United States, with an open car and all that stuff. The real truth be known, Jack Kennedy would not have lived out his term. He was ill. He had four diseases. They shot him up every day. He suffered from Addison’s disease, which caused deterioration defect. He had syphilis and two other diseases that were carrying his body up. His father would have rather seen him die the way he died than die of the disease and put a mark against the family. You would say, “That’s cold,” but then you look at his father, he lobotomized his own daughter.
His daughter spent her whole life in an institution. He did that because she suffered from ADD, which they had no understanding of in those days. He was afraid she was going to go off the rails at some function and embarrassed the family. He lobotomized her and put her in an institution. That’s cold. When Jack Kennedy was killed, everybody said, “Who’s the number one cop in the country?” They looked at Hoover. Hoover wasn’t the number one cop in the country, but Bobby was. Bobby was the Attorney General. Four people went to see him including Adlai Stevenson and begged him, “Do not let your brother go to Texas.” The animosity down there is horrendous. The animosity being this. All the oil guys in Texas had a business called surplus oil and they were making a fortune from it because they paid no tax on it. It was all clean under the table money.
When Jack Kennedy was elected president, his father whispered in his ear, “You have to put a tax on those guys down there because they’re getting away with a lot of money and you could tax it.” That tax cost them $200 million a year. That made them unhappy. When you try to construct what happened to Jack Kennedy, they look at four different fashions of people that were responsible for his death, the CIA, the mafia, different organizations and the oil guys down in Texas. They were trying to blame everybody, but it was put together by the bankers or the inner bankers of Geneva. The guy who orchestrated the hit on Kennedy was a guy that they did a movie about called The Jackal, Carlos Sanchez. He was the number one assassin out of Europe.The drug business was just opening up, and they saw a lot of money there. Click To Tweet
Is that The Jackal from the Bruce Willis movie?
The original Jackal, they did the first movie with Edward Fox. The guy was clever and they never caught him. The guy that’s doing time in a jail in France is not the Jackal. He’s down in South America where he has a huge farm. This guy was one of the smartest guys. He never talked on the telephone. Whenever he did business, they put X amount of dollars in the bank account and he took care of the business. He was the guy with the umbrella at Dealey Plaza. He orchestrated the whole thing down there. It was the first thing he ever did in America. They were looking for him at one time badly. This is a true story.
They thought they had him captured in a city. They were checking every person that got on an airplane that was leaving the city. He had a garment that he could put on and dressed like a woman. They didn’t check on them and everything. They thought he was a woman that got on the plane. He walked off the plane as a man. They never caught him. He was that clever. He was an intuitive, clever guy. He never killed innocent people. It was all business. Everybody blames the mafia. The mafia never killed innocent people. It was like my father’s company, Murder Incorporated. They didn’t go around shooting innocent people.
Let’s talk about who your father is for people who don’t know. I’ve read some people say he maybe wasn’t your father on this book that you wrote about the Gambino crime family and Albert Anastasia. Is he your father? Is this a true story? The Family Legacy is the book that he wrote in 2010. Can you tell us a little bit of background for that?
It was time to tell the truth about a lot of things. Albert was my father. In 1940, 1941, 1942, they were looking for Albert everywhere and he was in the Army. He was a sergeant and he was in Indian Gap, Pennsylvania teaching soldiers how to be longshoremen because he controlled all the waterfront in America. He was hiding in the Army in Indian Gap, Pennsylvania. He never spent a night there. He was in Philadelphia every night. He met my mother and my mother made him looked like a boy. It was wartime and my stepfather, Paul O’Halloran, was an aviator. He was overseas in the war. My mother met Albert in Philly and there was an affair and I was the product of it. I was born in 1943.
Weren’t you raised with him?
No, I was raised down in Philadelphia, but I had minders around me all the time. There was a man called Rip Collins, who was an Irish guy who was one of the heads of the IRA. They had a presence at the waterfront in Philadelphia. Rip was a bright guy. He was an engineer and he worked for General Electric, but he was an IRA guy. He was friends with my father and my mother and he was a minder of me. He taught me a lot of serious things in my life.
Is that like a nanny or a bodyguard or a combination of both?
He looked after me. He was always there and he taught me a lot of things. There is an exercise that he taught me when I was a kid. He taught me how to read a book, listen to a radio show, listen to a conversation in the hallway or another room and be cognizant of everything that was going on at the same time. How to compartmentalize your mind and the way you started that was he gave me a list. He used to make a list of 50 items and number them. I would have 60 to 120 seconds to look down this list and hand it to him. He would give me a number, I would give him the item. He’d give me an item, I’d give him the number. When I went down this whole thing, I learned how to compartmentalize it in my mind. It was learning how to memorize certain things and put them in a certain order. It works very well. I could sit in a chair in a room, be listening to a radio show, reading a book, hear a conversation and be perfectly in tune with all three items at one time.
Did they tell you when they were teaching you these things who your father was or did you not know at that time?
No, they never did.
When did you find that out?
When he died. I met him briefly right before he died. I was supposed to go and sit down with him and they assassinated him a week before he came down to see me. He knew he was going to die. He knew it was going to happen. Albert was a bright guy and the reason why they killed him, if you ever see The Godfather and Marlon Brando when they went to get into the drug business and Brando said, “If I touch it, my children will touch it and it will be the downfall of the families.” My father said that and they begged him. Even up to the night before they assassinated him, they met him at the same hotel he was killed. They met him that night and they begged him, “Please, Albert. It’s only business.” The drug business was just opening up and they saw a lot of money there.
Even though the families were against it, my father said, “We didn’t sign up for this garbage. I don’t want this stuff coming through my porch. I’m not into this. It’s harmful to our families. It’s a bad deal.” They assassinated him when they did, it was the most prolific assassination recorded in the history of mafia. The guy was killed in the barber chair. A year or two later, Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello sat me down and they apologized. They said it was the worst mistake they ever made because Albert was the glue that kept everybody together. He was a kingpin. He was the most powerful guy in the country and the Gambino family, Carlo Gambino was an underboss of my father. It was the Anastasia family that turned into the Gambino Family.
In writing this book, what is your opinion of mafia and crime families after all this?
You have to understand something. We had three more books to come out. The story that I’m telling you is the fact that if you go back to 1900, in the beginning, the government, industry, organized crime and unions were all partners. They were partners with each other and the illicit money that they made in those days they got from gambling, loansharking and extortion. If you didn’t have money, how could you pay them? They made sure you went to work. They created a lot of jobs in the country. They owned the unions.
My father controlled the waterfront. They have construction companies. They’ve invested in insurance companies. They’ve invested in General Electric and Westinghouse. They put a lot of money back into the growth of the nation. No one ever talks about that. When you go back in history like where I was raised in Philadelphia as a kid. I lived in a neighborhood that you wouldn’t even walk in, but we never locked our front doors. Kids play down the street from sunup to sundown. Nobody ever bothered them. There were no drive-by shootings. The neighborhoods were protected and well taken care of. People took care of their areas and crimes were not rampant.In the beginning, the government, the industry, organized crime and unions were all partners Click To Tweet
We have gangs and what we have now is a little different. We have so much crime now. Are you saying there are different reasons for it?
You’re an intelligent woman. Let me say this to you. What was the first Prohibition in America?
Are you talking about alcohol?
It was not alcohol. The first Prohibition was the Harrison Act in 1914. You’re a doctor. You understand what’s going on in the medical world. What the Harrison Act did was he gave birth to big pharma. Before the Harrison Act went into place, you could walk into a store and you could buy marijuana and cocaine was in Coca-Cola. You could buy drugs right across the counter, but there was no addiction. When the Harrison Act went into place, all pharmaceutical drugs were put under control.
You go back in history and people in the ‘20s and ‘30s, nobody ever got a divorce. You were married to an abusive person and everybody had 5, 6, 7, 8 children. The wife was a housewife and stayed at home. She had all these babies and took care of the family, etc. What was going on was they were tired and they were worn down. They went to a doctor and they were handed out scripts and the scripts were for sleep, which will come up in the morning and Valium that put them to sleep at night. These drugs were going into their bodies and those drugs were going into fetuses. Children were being born with addictions.
In 1970, they did a documentary out of a major hospital in New York called The Littlest Junkie. What it was about was these babies were being born and they were crying, screaming and cramping. Nobody could figure out what the problem was. One doctor said, “These kids are going through withdrawal.” When their mothers were carrying them and they’re doing drugs, that blood’s gone through their system. When they come out of their mother and they weren’t getting supplied with the drug, they were going through withdrawal. Their bellies were cramping and they were crying. No one could figure out what was making them do that. They showed that documentary only one time on television.
When we had the ‘60s, marijuana and all this other thing, people wonder why people were so subjected to addiction. It goes all the way back to right there. No one ever wants to look at that. No one ever wants to own up to it like they don’t up to a lot of things in the country. The whole prohibition thing was all about taxation. The whole thing about CBD oils and marijuana and all of this being legalized, all that was about taxation. They didn’t know how to tax it. You can take seeds and throw them in your backyard and grow marijuana because it’s a wild plant. How is the government going to control it?
I worked in pharmaceuticals for years and I’ve watched the way that things have progressed throughout time. All these stories that you have are fascinating. I’m sure that you have several books that you could write based on your experiences. We didn’t even get into the Hollywood thing and I saw that you were going to be in partnership with Jay Samit who’s been on my show.
Jay is an amazing guy. He’s my partner. We’re going to build a studio in Nevada. We had one in Long Beach, California. He and I were putting the studio together and it was a great idea. We had a great piece of property. It was in between LA and two airports, John Wayne and another airport. It was the Boeing building. We had an amazing building and it was a great idea. We had it all together and we had the money and everything all ready to go and to our wait, the world fell apart financially. It took us a few months to get Boeing to sign a PSA to take the building. In that interim, the world fell apart and the money fell apart.
We’re going to do one in Nevada and what we’re going to do is build a four-million-square-foot studio, which should have been done years ago. We’re going to put every bit of entertainment under one roof for the very first time, all the technologies and everything. We’re putting smart city next to it to house 20,000 to 25,000 people because that’s how many people we’re going to employ. People only have to travel fifteen minutes to work instead of two hours each way. I live in Redondo Beach. If I’m doing a picture at Warner Bros., it takes me 1.5 hours to get up into the Valley to go to Warner Bros. and go to work each way. If you’ve got a bunch of technicians that are working and they’re traveling all this distance to get to work, there’s a lot of stuff on their minds by the time they get there.
If you want to keep something cost-effective, you had people only traveling fifteen minutes to work without all the stress and all the aggravation. They can pay attention to what they’re doing, can’t they? It becomes much more cost-effective. There are fewer errors and all along with the production thing. If you only have to walk fifteen seconds to get something finished and everything else is at your disposal, it makes the product cost-effective. We’ve got a great deal that we’re putting together in Nevada and we’re going to build a major studio towards Jay’s dream. He always wanted to run a studio and he’s an exceedingly smart guy. Jay is an amazing individual and he’s a dear friend.
I liked Jay. He was great on the show. Your connections are amazing. I mentioned your work in Hollywood and that you were in King Kong and Mob Boss. You get to play some of the tough guy or henchman they call you and some of them. You’ve also met some amazing people. I know you worked with Christopher Reeve.
I was fortunate. I worked with Brando. They tried to get me in the film business way back in 1966, ‘67. Steve McQueen did a picture called The Thomas Crown Affair and he did it in Boston. I was just starting my boxing career. When he came to Boston, we looked after him and made sure he was okay. I like Steve a lot and we became good friends. He said to me, “You’ve got to come down on the set and I’ll put you in the movie. We’ll get you a card and come out to Hollywood. We’ll have a lot of fun.” He was a bang around guy. He was a good guy. I said, “I don’t think so. It’s not my cup of tea.” He said, “No, you’d be great. It will work out well.” I said no and he kept trying to entice me to come out. He did a picture where his name was Captain O’Halloran and he called me, “How did you like your name up in lights?” He was always trying to edge me.
I knocked out a guy in LA called Manuel Ramos in 1968 and he was the number two ranked heavyweight in the world and they came to me to do The Great White Hope. The deal was put together by a friend of mine, Raymond Patriarca, who was one of the biggest dons in the country. They wanted to get me off the streets, so they send me to Hollywood. Eddie Floyd III put the deal together. He was at Fox. The Great White Hope was the biggest movie in Hollywood. It was the story of Jack Johnson. James Earl Jones was doing the lead role and they wanted me to play Jess Willard. They called me on the phone and I was living in New Jersey. They flew me out to Hollywood to meet the producer and all. They thought the deal was done. I was supposed to walk in the room and sign a contract and it was a done deal.
The guys explained to me, “You’re going to go to South America for six months. This is going to be a big movie. You’re going to get a lot of notoriety from it.” I’m saying to myself, “I’m getting ready to fight Ali for the title and you want me to go to South America for six months to do a movie?” The guy said, “We’re going to pay you $1,500 a week,” which was a lot of money in those days. I said, “$1,500 a week, I give that away in tips. What are you paying me?” I declined. I said, “I don’t think this is good for me. There’s a guy named Jim Beattie. He’s a big white kid. He retired from boxing and lives in Minneapolis. He’s got six mouths to feed. He needs a job.” “Are you telling me no to guys here?” I said, “Yeah, this is not for me.” Eddie Floyd was sweating bullets in the hallway. He listened to this whole thing because the East Coast wanted me to do this movie to get off the street.
I come out of the room and he said, “You’re going to get me killed. Raymond is going to be mad.” I said, “Don’t worry about it, I’ll talk to Raymond, don’t worry about a thing.” I’m leaving the building and this shows you how small Hollywood is. I’m coming down the steps of Fox and James Earl Jones is coming up the steps. He stopped me and said, “You’re Jack O’Halloran.” I said, “You’re James Earl Jones.” He said, “Is it true what I’ve heard about you?” I said, “I don’t know. What did you hear?” He said, “You told Hollywood to take the biggest movie that we have and stick it.” I said, “If you want to put it that way.” He’s not going to shake your hand. I never met anybody like that in Hollywood. We became good friends. McQueen called me on the phone. He said, “What are you doing?”
All of my life, they came to me for a couple of other pictures. I kept saying no. When I retired from boxing, they called me up and said, “There’s a picture we think you should do.” I had an agent for commercials and stuff in San Diego. Mary was a great lady. She called me up and said, “They’re looking for you to do a picture.” I said, “What picture?” She said, “Farewell, My Love with Robert Mitchum.” I looked around what I was doing and I said, “Maybe it’s time.” I went and met the director in New York. They flew me out and I did a screen test and Robert Mitchum said, “It’s either he or I don’t do the movie.” I blame it all on Mitchum.
You worked with some of the biggest names and you have a very interesting life. I’m sure a lot of people are going to want to read your book and find out more about you. Is there some way they could reach you best?
There’s a site called FamilyLegacyTheNovel.com and you go to that site and it takes you right to Amazon. It’s a great read. The first book I did was From My Father’s Death to Kennedy’s Death. We tell the truth about the Kennedy assassination and a lot of other things. The next book will go up to the Nixon impeachment and I’ll tell the truth about that. Lots of things have been done and said about people being thrown under the bus. When the government didn’t want partners, he started separating. It started with the Kennedys. The Kennedys were the ones who opened that door. It started with Bobby Kennedy.
When Jack Kennedy was made president, if it wasn’t for Chicago, he had never been nominated. He would never get nominated when he was in California. Here’s where the animosity started. HL Hunt went to California with a suitcase full of money and he gave it to Joe Kennedy for Johnson to run as Jack Kennedy’s vice president. When he was running to be nominated, his father told Chicago, because Chicago had him under their thumb. Sam Giancana was the voice of Chicago at the time. He told them that he had everything sewed up, the electoral votes and all this other stuff.
Meyer Lansky and the people on East Coast didn’t want Jack Kennedy to be running for president. They already owned Nixon. What do they need Kennedy for? There was a big argument over it. Sam Giancana convinced them. He said, “We got this guy poked his ears.” He’s going to give Joe Kennedy a problem because they had Joe Kennedy under their thumb. He said that he would have both his sons’ ears. They said, “What are you going to do with Bobby?” They’re going to make him ambassador to Ireland and put him out of the country. The deal went down. The first two days of the nominations weren’t going the way Joe Kennedy envisioned it to go. He called up Chicago and said, “We have a problem.” Sam said, “You told me you had all this taken care of.” He said, “We got it.”
Illinois for the first time went Democrat. Three other states around them turned Democrat and they still didn’t have enough electoral votes. There was only one state left on the fourth day of this nomination run that could put them across the line. That was West Virginia and because of the coal mines and there was a lot of money in West Virginia and we own several illegal casinos there. They called up some people, some debt was excused and West Virginia raised their hand and Jack Kennedy was nominated. When he was nominated, he runs for president. In the state of Illinois, there were people who voted because it was a close race if you recall. There were people in Illinois that voted twenty times and they were dead. That all came out afterward.
As soon as he was elected, his father whispered in his ear and he made his brother the attorney general. He told Bobby, “Put all my good friends in jail.” They went after the mafia. Genovese was a fool and created the thing in Pennsylvania and the upper New York where the Appalachian thing happened and exposed the mafia. Prior to that happening in 1957 at my father’s death, everybody was in a controlling factor. J. Edgar Hoover was a guy from Chicago with his boyfriend, Tolliver. They came to the FBI and they were the fastest rising FBI agents ever because in 1939, my father handed him Louis Lepke, who’s the number one wanted gangster in the country at the time. My father had him for two years. They were partners in Murder Inc. He’s a white color Jewish guy. He’s a strong union guy and cold. He should have killed a guy that he didn’t kill. The guy ran to the FBI and became the first rat and single-handedly sacked Murder Inc. when he put eleven guys on death row.
You have many stories. We can be here and going through some of the most interesting theories of what happened in history. I want to know what happened to Marilyn Monroe.
I can tell you about Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn was great but she was a flirtatious young lady. She had an affair with Jack Kennedy, but she fell in love with Bobby Kennedy. When she got pregnant with his child, which she did eleven other times and had eleven abortions, she tried to call him up to tell him, “Don’t worry about it. I’ll take care of it like I always do,” and he cut her off. She couldn’t reach him anymore. She started drinking and taking pills and she was talking ramble and ramble. Sam Giancana took her up to Lake Tahoe for a weekend to see how bad she was talking. After that weekend, the lady has to die, unfortunately.
Do you think they killed her?
I know exactly how she died. The reason for the whole fuss of it was they wanted her diary because she wrote everything down. The FBI wanted her diary because if they had the diary, Kennedy was going to run for president again and it will give Hoover the ammunition to bloom. The mafia wants her diary because there are a lot of things in there because she knew a lot. The diary is in Europe and it will surface soon.
That could be your next book. I would find that fascinating. There are many people who would find this such an interesting reading. I hope that your work with Jay Samit turns out to be successful because Jay is an amazing guy. I want to thank you for being on this show, Jack. This was interesting and I learned a lot of things I hadn’t heard. This could be a whole other show. We’ll keep this for next time, but thank you for being my guest and I appreciate you being on the show.
I’d like to thank Jack for being my guest. I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
About Jack O’Halloran
Jack O’Halloran is a former boxer fighting as “Irish” Jack and actor. He is best known for acting in such films as Superman, Superman II, Dagon: Troll World Chronicles and Dragnet.
Jack is an inductee into the California Boxing Hall of Fame and has boxed some of the biggest names including George Foreman and Ken Norton.
Jack is the author of Family Legacy about former boss of the Gambino crime family, Albert Anastasia who was shot and killed in a barbershop.
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