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Gangster Homes

Posted by Jude Buttle on 21 August 2008

A gangster and one of the leading lights in the development of Las Vegas, Bugsy Siegel was notorious as a narcissistic, sociopath with blood soaked hands, who finally fulfilled the old adage that those who live by the sword will die by the sword, or in his case a .30 calibre carbine.

Gangster's Paradise

The last home of Benjamin ‘Bugsy' Siegel - 810 Linden Drive, Beverly Hills, LA

Photo by pingnews.com

Okay, so technically Benjamin ‘Bugsy' Siegel didn't actually own this place, but the ego-centric gangster stayed there on a regular basis as it was the rented accommodation of mobster moll and Siegel's fiery lover, Virginia Hill.

Hill and Siegel were known for their incessant fights, and just before his assassination at the house, Hill had hopped on a plane to Paris to cool down after yet another major bust-up with Bugsy. She was never to see Siegel alive again.

Rumours persist that she had in fact been advised to make herself scarce by the Mob, who were looking to dispose of Bugsy after growing tired of his light-fingers, skimming over the Syndicate's bankroll for the Las Vegas project.

Notorious Residents

The five bed room 7,000 square foot Spanish style house was built in 1928 and once belonged to matinee heart-throb and Hollywood legend Rudolph Valentino.

Virginia Hill rented 810 Linden Drive in 1946 and stayed there until just before Siegel was slain in the summer of 47'. Hill, a.k.a ‘The Flamingo,' was a sharp tongued, sassy, southern peach, with enough guts and spirit to stand toe-to-toe with any gangster, including Frank Nitti, Al Capone and eventually Bugsy Siegel.

Siegel, who stayed frequently at the house in Linden Drive, is widely acknowledged as the man who put Vegas on the map, turning it from a dirt-track into an ostentatious, kitschy casino complex that stands today.

His hotel The Flamingo (named after Hill's nickname) was the first super hotel to be built on the now famous Vegas strip.

Domestic Bust Ups

On the night of June 20, 1947, Siegel had escaped the stifling Vegas heat for the cool shadows of the Moorish-style house in swanky Beverly Hills. Settling onto the sofa in the living room and perusing a copy of the Los Angeles Times, Siegel was sent reeling by a hail of bullets fired from a .30-calibre military M1 carbine.

A popular myth is that Siegel was shot in the eye, but the autopsy report revealed that the bullet actually entered the back of his skull, exiting through an eye-socket. Investigators apparently found the eye across the bloodied room, some distance away from the body. Siegel died instantly of cerebral haemorrhaging.

Though it was never proven, most accepted that it was a Mob hit, organized because Siegel had overspent with the Mobs money on his plans for his Vegas club, the Flamingo. But worse still, he was suspected of stealing some of the funds and getting Hill to stash the cash in an off-shore account.

The gunman has never been identified, no one was ever charged with Siegel's murder, and the crime remains unsolved to this day.

Paying the Price

After Bugsy's murder, Hill left the mansion and spent most of her time in Europe. In 1966 she was found dead near a stream in the snow in Austria, an apparent suicide as she'd swallowed some sleeping pills. However, the theory that she was silenced by the Mob never went away.

The house was bought in 1951 by a lawyer and her surgeon husband. Apparently at the time, neither knew that Siegel had been gunned down there.

It didn't change hands again until 2003, when a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon purchased the property for around $4 million.

Since it was last bought, the mansion has seen some significant renovations with the original door being restored, apparently in bullet proof steel... eerie, so maybe the ghost of Bugsy Siegel still resides.


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