The War that Crippled the Mafia – Crime Time talks to cop, mafia researcher and author Rick Perello about Danny Greene – the Irish-American racketeer who took on La Cosa Nostra, as in the film KILL THE IRISHMAN, released on Blu-ray and DVD on 26 September by Anchor Bay Entertainment.
Over the summer of 1976, thirty-six bombs detonate in the heart of Cleveland while a turf war raged between Irish mobster Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson, Thor, The Book of Eli, The Punisher, King Arthur) and the Italian mafia.
Based on a true story, KILL THE IRISHMAN chronicles Greene’s heroic rise from a tough Cleveland neighborhood to become an enforcer in the local mob.
Turning the tables on loan shark Shondor Birns (Christopher Walken) and allying himself with gangster John Nardi (Vincent D’Onofrio), Greene stops taking orders from the mafia and pursues his own power. Surviving countless assassination attempts from the mob and killing off anyone who went after him in retaliation, Danny Greene’s infamous invincibility and notorious fearlessness eventually led to the collapse of mafia syndicates across the U.S. and also earned him the status of the man the mob couldn’t kill.
Rick Porrello wears many hats. He is a Cleveland-area police chief and author of The Rise and Fall of the Cleveland Mafia. Porrello began writing this first book during research into the murders of his grandfather and three uncles who were mob leaders killed in Prohibition-era violence. Porrello is an accomplished jazz musician and soloist. In 1981, at age eighteen, he took over the drum throne from his brother Ray Porrello, then stickman for Sammy Davis Jr. for seven years. That fortunate break started Rick on a two-and-a-half year stint involving extensive travelling. Accompanying Mr. Davis, Rick also had the honour of working with the great Count Basie Orchestra.
Despite the excitement and promise of such early success, a second career interest eventually pulled Rick from the Davis gig and he returned to Cleveland to begin college studies. In 1986, despite opposition from family and friends, Rick traded his sticks for a badge and .38 special when he joined the police force. Since childhood, Rick had an increasing interest in police work and despite a skyrocketing music career, he decided that protecting the public was more important to him then entertaining them. Rick Porrello continues to perform in the N.E. Ohio area.
In 1998 Rick self-published To Kill The Irishman: The War that Crippled the Mafia, the definitive story of Danny Greene, a fiercely proud Irish- American racketeer who took on La Cosa Nostra, sparking events that led to the fall of several Mafia families. Amazingly, this self-published titled was optioned for film before it even hit the shelf and now thirteen years later is a movie (2011) Kill the Irishman starring Ray Stevenson, Christopher Walken, Val Kilmer and Vincent D’Onofrio, and directed by Jonathan Hensleigh. Rick’s latest title is Superthief – A Master Burglar, the Mafia and the Biggest Bank Heist in U.S. History, and is under option for film. The title won second place in ForeWord Magazine’s 2005 Book of the Year Awards true crime category, and was a finalist in the 2006 Independent Publisher Awards.
Rick is credited as Executive Producer on Kill the Irishman and has served as a consulting producer for two documentaries. He is host of AmericanMafia.com, the internet’s biggest mob history site.