Organized crime figure Al Smiley in court
Luellen Smiley, daughter of Hollywood gangster Allen Smiley, was recently reunited with Ben Siegel’s daughter, Millicent, for the opening of the Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Tropicana. Smiley was Siegel’s most trusted friend and associate. Luellen and Millicent are set to rewrite history, and contest the vicious, one-sided representations of their fathers. According to Luellen, “Some people still think my father had a hand in Ben’s murder. I intend to change that.”
Artifacts and memorabilia from both fathers are displayed at the Mob Experience in a recreation of Ben Siegel’s den, where he lived with his family in the Los Angeles community of Holmby Hills. The untold stories of famous gangsters and the families who loved them are revealed in the interactive museum.
When Luellen heard that Millicent was involved with the Mob Experience, she flew to Vegas to see her. Millicent had already requested that a corner of her father’s room be saved for Smiley. “They were joined at the hip. Smiley was at the house all the time, and he was very good to my mother and us kids,” said Millicent.
When Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel was assassinated, Smiley was sitting next to him. Luellen, who had been shielded from her father’s criminal past, began researching her family’s history 20 years ago. After pouring over thousands of pages of FBI and INS files, Luellen discovered that J. Edgar Hoover had thwarted her father’s efforts to reform after the Siegel murder and attempted to coerce him into informing. According to Luellen, “They offered my dad immunity, but he told them, ‘I’m not an immunity kind of guy’.”
Luellen, and co-writer John A. Sanders, just completed a screenplay about her life growing up with gangsters. Luellen is finishing a book that will be released later this year. In it, she not only tells of her sheltered youth, but reveals the extensive research that fueled her explosive theory about the Siegel murder. She is a consultant with the Las Vegas Mob Experience and a columnist since 2004 when she began writing a weekly column in San Diego, “Smiley’s Dice.” Her series on Growing up with Gangsters won a Blue Ribbon with the California Newspaper Publishers Association. www.galleryloulou.wordpress.com