Too tough to fuggedabout: Notable Mafia nicknames

Former New England Mafia boss Luigi "Baby Shacks" Manocchio was sentenced Friday to 5 1/2 years in prison for his role in the shakedown of Providence, R.I., strip clubs. AP takes a look at some of the more notable nicknames associated with the mob and tries to shed light on their sometimes murky origins:

— Vincent "Vinny Gorgeous" Basciano, former acting boss of the Bonanno crime family, owned a beauty salon in the Bronx called "Hello Gorgeous" and was known for being obsessed with his personal appearance; serving life on racketeering and murder charges.

— Anthony "Tony Bagels" Cavezza, an accused Gambino family mobster known for his affection for New York bagels. He was indicted in Jan. 2011 as part of a sweep in New York, New Jersey and Rhode Island and awaits trial on charges including running an illegal gambling business scheduled later this month; has pleaded not guilty.

— Anthony "Tony Ducks" Corallo, a New York City mobster and boss of the Lucchese crime family, earned his nickname because of his ability to duck subpoenas and convictions during his long criminal career. Died in a prison hospital in 2000.

— Carmen "The Cheeseman" DiNunzio, former underboss of the New England mob, got his nickname because he was the portly owner of a cheese shop in Boston's North End; now serving a 6-year prison sentence for bribing an undercover FBI agent posing as a state official to try to win a $6 million contract on Boston's Big Dig highway project.

— Vincent "The Chin" Gigante, headed the Genovese organized crime family, known for faking mental illness for decades to hide his position. His nickname apparently came from his mother's pronunciation of "Cincenzo," a variation of his name in Italian, and his childhood friends shortened that to "Chin"; died in prison in 2005 at age 77.

— Manocchio is also sometimes called "Baby Shanks." The nickname "Baby Shacks" is said to have been given to him because he had an older relative nicknamed "Shacks," which was bestowed because of that man's relationships with numerous women.

— Carmine "The Snake" Persico, de-facto boss of the Colombo crime family, earned his nickname for switching sides in a mob faction battle. Persico has been serving a 139-year sentence since 1987 on racketeering charges.

— Harry "The Hunchback" Riccobene, a Philadelphia mobster. At 4-foot 11-inches, he was known as "little Harry" until a police officer dubbed him "Hunchback" for his short, bent stature. He died in prison in 2000 while serving a life sentence for murder.

— Francis "Cadillac Frank" Salemme, former boss of the New England mob, so named because he owned a bunch of auto body garages in Boston. Salemme later became a government witness. Released from prison in 2009, he is now believed to be in the witness protection program.

— Philip "Chicken Man" Testa, briefly led the Scarfo crime family in Philadelphia. Testa's nickname is believed to have come from his involvement in a poultry business. He had a heavily pockmarked face, caused by a bad case of chicken pox, which is also thought to be one of the reasons for his nickname. Testa was killed by a bomb in a mob assassination.


Sources: AP, newspaper archives, FBI.