Bugsy Siegel was born Benjamin Siegelbaum, on February 28, 1906, in Brooklyn, New York. The son of Jewish immigrants, Siegel was raised in the crime-ridden section of Williamsburg, where Irish and Italian gangs were rampant.
In 1918, Siegel befriended Meyer Lansky, with whom he established the Bugs-Meyer Gang -- a band of ruthless Jewish mobsters that ran a group of contract killers under the name Murder, Inc.
Known for his quick and violent temper, the ruthless Siegel became one of the most infamous and feared gangsters of his day.
Along the way, he became one of the first "celebrity" gangsters.
Siegel was also a major driving force behind large-scale development of the Las Vegas Valley. In 1945, Siegel and his girlfriend, actress Virginia Hill, moved to Las Vegas, where he began working toward his dream of building a gambling mecca in the Nevada desert. With funding from the eastern crime syndicate, construction of the Flamingo Hotel and Casino began under Siegel's supervision.
On the evening of June 20, 1947, Siegel was killed, when a barrage of bullets tore through his living room window in Beverly Hills. Simultaneously, three of Lansky's cohorts entered the Flamingo Hotel and declared a takeover. Although Lansky denied involvement in the hit, there is little doubt that Siegel was murdered on syndicate orders.