James Robert Iannone (he also went by the name ‘Danny Wilson’) was born in New York on January 1, 1914.
Iannone was a former Sergeant in the US Army, and served during World War ll. He was a prisoner of war for a time during his deployment.
He was involved in extortion rackets whilst living in New York, and after being arrested on a robbery charge he escaped from police custody. Shortly after this he moved to California. He was inducted into the Los Angeles crime family at some point during the 1940s by boss, Jack Dragna.
Iannone was supposedly a ‘muscleman’ and a killer, though Jimmy ‘The Weasel’ Fratianno remembered him being terrified of violence.
Iannone was somewhat of an expert at extortion – he shook down movie extras, forcing them to share their pay with the racketeers who controlled the jobs coming in from the casting bureau.
Hymie Miller was a cafe owner and had a sideline as a movie extra. The cafe he ran was often a base for local small-time criminals to congregate. Miller was shot at his apartment in November, 1937 and died a few days later in hospital. During the investigation into his murder, police uncovered the movie extras racket, and it was believed that Iannone killed Miller over a dispute in their partnership. Detective Warren Hudson told the press: “Miller and Iannone, in addition to the ‘loan shark’ racket, had been engaged here in ‘strong-arm jobs’, and had, through connections with individuals at film studios, obtained jobs for extras, who in turn had to ‘cut’ their pay with the pair”. Iannone wasn’t arrested until 1940, but there is no record of him ever being charged with the murder.
Iannone was again arrested in 1950 for allegedly killing two witnesses in a narcotics trial. One of the witnesses was former narcotics-dealer-turned-informant, Abraham Davidian. There was no conviction in that case either.
Iannone was still active in labor racketeering into the 1960s. He was once summoned before a Senate Rackets Committee and refused to answer any questions and so was tried for contempt.
In later years he operated as a loan shark and a bookie.
James ‘Danny Wilson’ Iannone died of natural causes in Los Angeles on April 6, 2002.
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