Celebrities make the same stupid choices and mistakes the rest of us do. A lot of celebrities have committed crimes like drinking while driving, soliciting prostitutes, and doing illegal drugs. And some celebrities have committed really serious offenses such as murder or (allegedly) raping dozens of women in the United States. These crimes, though, are generally the product of terrible or ill-informed choices made by the celebrity in question. Some celebrities link themselves to an entirely different type of criminal element however.
Organized crime is, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a $1 trillion a year enterprise. Criminal empires encompass much of the globe, entangling the United States and every other country with their machinations. The FBI classifies organized crime as not only the stereotypical Mafia, made famous in the United States by crime bosses like Al Capone and Carlo Gambino, but also Asian criminal groups like the Triad, Russian gangs who emigrated when their countries economy shifted after the Cold War, and drug and slave traffickers from African nations like Nigeria. I am defining organized crime as any group of people who commit crimes for a planned reason, usually with a boss figure pulling the strings.
Celebrities get wrapped up in organized crimes due to the amount of money they are surrounded by and all the temptations that amount of money can bring. In this list we will look at 12 celebrities who have actively (as in of their own volition) or passively (as in they have been victimized) been involved with organized crime. This does not make the celebrity a bad person necessarily, but in some cases a victim of circumstance. Here are twelve celebrities involved in twelve different types of organized criminal enterprises.
12 Woodrow Wilson - Ku Klux Krazy
Woodrow Wilson was the 28th President of the United States, and his policies involving World War I made him an international celebrity, as he not only engaged the United States into action during the war but also helped end the war by pushing for the creation of the League of Nations. Wilson won the Nobel peace prize, and made a lot of positive changes for the country's citizens, especially Jewish and female citizens.
11 Lil Wayne - "Blood" Runs Deep In His Veins
The Bloods gang was created to compete against the Crips gang, which was dominating organized crime in Los Angeles. They are known for their hatred of Crips, bad grammar, and wearing red. Lil Wayne is a prominent rapper who identifies with the Bloods. Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Carter Jr., has been rapping since he was actually "lil" and has a lot of critical acclaim and a Grammy to show for his hard work and dedication to craft.
10 Wiz Khalifa - Blue Blooded Crip
The Crips were created in LA back in the 1960s, and are still a major, organized gang presence in the United States. They are known for extreme violence, poor grammar, and wearing blue. Wiz Khalifa is one prominent rapper who seems to be a member of the Crips.
9 Mark Wahlberg - Green Blooded Gang Violence
8 Joe Namath - Mafia Man Cave
Joe Namath is maybe the most important quarterback the New York Jets football team has ever had. Broadway Joe led the Jets to victory in Superbowl 3 in 1969, also winning MVP for that game and eventually being voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985. Namath has pursued other interests since he retired from football, including small movie roles, a lot of television work, and yes, even a bit of Broadway.
7 Dino Bravo - Canadian Black Market
Pro Wrestler Adolfo Bresciano, better known as Dino Bravo, was heavily identified with Canada. Called "Canada's Strongest Man," I remember watching Bravo battle the Ultimate Warrior for the Intercontinental belt when I was kid, Bravo decked out in his Canadian Fleur-de-Lis. Bravo was a former WWF tag team champion and WWF Canadian champion, but never made a huge impact in the WWE like Bret Hart or Hulk Hogan.
6 Edward James Olmos - Targeted by Mexican Mafia
Edward James Olmos is one of the most widely acclaimed Latino actors in the United States, having won two Golden Globes and an Emmy, and having been nominated for an Oscar for his movie Stand and Deliver. Olmos is also an important activist for Latino issues in America, traveling to colleges across the country and speaking about Latino rights.
It's amazing to think this great man would have enemies, but a movie he made in 1992 called American Me gathered quite a lot of them. The movie paints an unflattering portrayal of a Mexican mob boss, so the group in question put a bounty on Olmos's head. They wanted the actor to pay for the disrespect shown to them by the film, but Olmos seemingly came to an agreement with the group, because they rescinded the bounty before Olmos lost his life.
5 Ronald Reagan - Contra Guerillas
Ronald Reagan was a respected actor in the 1930s and 1940s, making dozens of films and later serving as President of the Screen Actors Guild. He also appeared on TV for a short period of time, but of course is most remembered as the 40th President of the United States. Reagan is revered by present day Conservatives, and thought of nostalgically by movie fans in the golden age of Hollywood, but remember when he sold guns to the worst people on Earth?
4 Jackie Chan - Targeted By The Triad
The Chinese Triad criminal organization dominates drug and human trafficking throughout China and other parts of Asia. They attempt to extort and make money whenever they can, from as many innocent people as they can. They have even attempted to manipulate Chinese cinema, but one actor has, in the past, stood up against them. Jackie Chan began his career as a stuntman for Bruce Lee, but since then has become more and more successful; his name being synonymous with martial arts films in the United States and films in general in Asia.
3 M.I.A. - Tamil Tigers
The Tamil Tiger group in Sri Lanka consider themselves revolutionaries, trying to keep their freedom and give their people independence from their evil government. However, the Tamil Tigers are technically an organized criminal group due to the crimes they commit in Sri Lanka to fund their operations.
2 Hakeem Olajuwon - Al-Qaeda Oopsy
Hakeem Olajuwon played pro basketball for the Houston Rockets for almost two decades. During that time Hakeem won two championships and a MVP award, making him a hero in Houston specifically and Texas generally. A devout Muslim, Hakeem decided to use his paycheck to give back to the Muslim community, a really wonderful act of charity, but the "Dream's" dream became a nightmare when he discovered he had accidentally been funding al-Qaeda.
1 Woody Harrelson - Contract Killing
Woody Harrelson got his big break on the sitcom Cheers, about a bar where everybody knows your name. But if Woody Harrelson's dad Charles knew your name you were in real danger. Charles Harrelson was a hitman, who killed several men on behalf of the mob. The most famous of Charles' victims was Judge John H. Wood; although Charles also, at one point, claimed to have killed John F. Kennedy.
Charles was arrested and died in prison, and luckily never had a very close relationship to his son. I'm sure that Woody Harrelson was actually better off without this dangerous man in his life, although as a kid it must have been terrible for him. At least he has had an amazing career to keep him inspired.
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