I saw the movie Bugsy a few nights ago for like the hundredth time, or whatever. It is one of my favorite movies and what I get from Warren Beatty as Bugsy and from what I know about Bugsy, is that Beatty did a great job playing Bugsy. And had Bugsy decided to give up the mob, which is almost impossible to do, but lets believe in Santa Clause for a second and say he was able to do that, Hollywood would’ve been perfect for him. As either an actor himself, playing gangsters, but with his personality and humor, he would’ve been able to do other things.
There’s this saying that the friendship between Ben Siegel and actor George Raft, is that Benny, was a mobster that wanted to be an actor. And George, was an actor that wanted to be a mobster. Which is why George Raft got so many gangster roles as an actor and actually got tired of that and wanted to do something else. And if you see The George Raft Story, a movie about the life of guess who, that movie makes it clear that Raft was tired of playing gangsters and wanted to do other things. Ben Siegel as an actor, probably would’ve had a similar career as his buddy George Raft. I mean, he was a Jewish gangster and one of the most successful ones.
I believe the legacy, or at least the positive side of Ben Siegel’s legacy is what we see as Las Vegas today. Before Ben Siegel, Las Vegas was essentially a hick Southwestern town of about ten-thousand people or so. Today, it’s a town of over five-hundred and eighty-thousand people and an area of about two-million people. It is one of the biggest and most economically successful cities in America today. And a lot of that has to with the casino and gambling industry. Siegel, didn’t put all that together himself. But he had the vision that others used to build Las Vegas in what it could be. A great big city where people from all over the country and even world, could go to and have a great time. All of that got started with Ben Siegel.