updated 1/2/2008 2:45:01 AM ET 2008-01-02T07:45:01

Salvatore "Bill" Bonanno, the oldest son of the late New York City crime chieftain Joe Bonanno and author of a book about growing up in a Mafia family, has died. He was 75.

Los Angeles literary agent Mickey Freiberg confirmed in an e-mail to The Associated Press that Bonanno died Tuesday in Tucson. The cause of death was a heart attack, according to Bonanno's nephew Anthony Tarantola.

Bonanno, who escaped mob hits and eventually the mob itself, wrote "Bound by Honor: A Mafioso's Story" in 2000. His Web site describes him as an author, movie producer and lecturer.

The book was an attempt to make sense of myths about the Mafia in America, the site says.

Bonanno was made a member of the Mafia by his early 20s, according to the site. He was the subject of Gay Talese's book "Honor Thy Father" and co-produced a 1999 miniseries based on the autobiography of his father, known as "Joe Bananas."

In 1968 Bonanno was imprisoned on contempt, credit card and other white-collar charges, according to his own biography. Between his first stint in prison and 1993, he spent 12 years behind bars for several convictions.

Bonanno spent decades as his father's adviser, before he joined his father in retirement in Tucson and became an author.

Bonanno's father died in 2002. Joe Bonanno was never convicted of anything worse than obstructing justice but had admitted to belonging to "the Commission," an organized-crime board of directors of sorts in New York and other major U.S. cities.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments