Former caporegime of the Colombo crime family, Michael Franzese, left the world of organized crime to pursue careers as a motivational speaker, author, and consultant. Franzese was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 27, 1951. His estimated net worth is in the millions.
His income comes from a variety of sources, such as his book sales, speaking engagements, and organized crime consulting work for television and film. Franzese has a criminal past, but his financial success in legal endeavors shows that he is committed to changing his life and is on a path toward redemption.
Michael Franzese Net Worth
With a $1 million net worth, Michael Franzese is an American former gangster and the leader of the Colombo criminal family. May 1951 saw the birth of Michael Franzese in Brooklyn, New York.
Michael is the offspring of John “Sonny” Franzese, the rumored underboss from Colombo. Michael left college early to work as a crew commander for the Colombo family, a position known as the capo regime.
Along with the Russian Mafia, he sold millions of gallons of gas and was involved in gasoline bootlegging schemes. He was the richest and most powerful Mafia boss since Al Capone, and in 1986, Fortune Magazine ranked him as number eighteen on their list of the Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses.
Michael Franzese’s Early Life
Despite Michael’s initial doubts, Franzese was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 27, 1951, to John “Sonny” Franzese, an underboss in the Colombo crime family, and Cristina Capobianco-Franzese.
When Franzese’s mother divorced Frank Grillo—whom Franzese believed to be his biological father—he first felt John had adopted him. According to Michael, he was known as “Michael Grillo” until he turned eighteen.
However, it was later found that Capobianco, a 16-year-old cigarette girl at the Stork Club in Manhattan, had become pregnant with Michael after John, who was already married and had three children, had gotten her pregnant.
As a result, Capobianco married Grillo in order to avoid the disgrace of having an unmarried kid. Following the mob’s approval of John’s divorce from his first wife, Grillo vanished, and John wed Capobianco.
Michael Franzese’s Personal Life
Franzese is a double marriage. Franzese, his wife, Camille Garcia, and their seven children reside in Newport Beach, California. In 1984, while filming Knights of the City in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Franzese met his present wife. His choice to leave the mob was also motivated by his Christian wife.
After wearing a wire during talks with his father, Franzese’s brother, John Franzese Jr. testified against his father, Sonny Franzese, in a racketeering lawsuit in 2010. Michael said that his father “felt sick” because one of his kids had “betrayed him like this” and that his brother was a “nobody in the mob life.” After serving an eight-year prison sentence, his father was freed from prison in 2017 at the age of 100. He passed away three years later.
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He was released on November 7, 1994, and retired from the mob in 1995 by migrating to California with his wife and children after receiving many murder threats and contracts, including one from his father.
Franzese has publicly opposed organized crime since his 1994 release: “I never glorify my mafia existence. Mob life is nasty, and “I don’t know one family that hasn’t been totally devastated.”
He now speaks in schools, prisons, and other locations to motivate youth. He addressed Christian conferences and churches, including Willow Creek Community Church, in 2016.
Franzese told Bryant Gumbel on July 23, 2002, that he convinced New York Yankees players who owed Colombo loansharks to rig baseball games for betting in the 1970s and 1980s. The Yankees quickly refuted Franzese’s charges.
Franzese commented on Lionsgate’s April 2013 documentary The Definitive Guide to the Mob. In 2013, he appeared in the National Geographic documentary Inside the American Mob.
Franzese’s 2014 autobiographical movie God the Father was shown in 20 US cities. His life is told through stock video, animated recreations, and interviews. It credits religion for Franzese’s transformation.
He and Trevor McDonald starred in a two-part American Mafia documentary in March 2015. He said his wealth and the impact of the Colombo criminal family on his family made him turn away from organized crime.
He portrays a repentant mobster in Kevin Sorbo’s 2017 film Let There Be Light. Franzese hosted A Mob Story at the Plaza Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The Jeff Kutash-created and directed show premiered in October 2018.
Franzese co-founded “Slices Pizza” in 2019. Slices makes Sicilian-style square pizzas with Naples and Campania ingredients and Venice ovens. The brand began in California and had five locations nationwide at its peak. Franzese Wines, Armenian wines, was founded in 2022.
He starred in Fear City: New York vs. The Mafia on Netflix in July 2020. Franzese started YouTube in June 2020. He interviews, evaluates mafia-related movies, TV shows, and video games, and recounts his life on his channel. His subscribers topped 1,000,000 in January 2023.
Franzese wrote Quitting the Mob (1992), Blood Covenant (2003), The Good, the Bad, and the Forgiven (2009), I’ll Make You an Offer You Can’t Refuse (2011), From the Godfather to God the Father (2014), Blood Covenant: The Story of the “Mafia Prince” Who Publicly Quit the Mob and Lived (2018), and Mafia Democracy (2022).