Last updated on February 14th, 2023 at 11:29 pm
Al Capone is one of the most notorious gangsters in American history. One of the most interesting aspects of Capone’s story is how he received the scars that earned him the nickname “Scarface.”
Even though Capone was responsible for countless violent crimes and was one of the most feared men in Chicago, a relatively minor incident led to him being called Scarface for the rest of his life.
Let’s explore the story behind Al Capone’s infamous nickname.
Working at the Harvard Inn
When Al Capone was young, a gangster named Frankie Yale recruited him into the Italian-American-dominated Five Points Gang. Yale was a criminal businessman peddling ice until he finally amassed enough money to start a bar on Coney Island named the Harvard Inn. Capone was one of the employees at the bar.
The Harvard Inn was highly profitable due to its proximity to water, which allowed easy access to alcoholic beverages during Prohibition.
Capone was a jack of all trades at the Harvard Inn, doing everything from dishwashing to table service to bartending and bouncing.
It wasn’t a glamorous or prominent job, but Capone was good at it. Customers enjoyed young Al’s jovial bar service and occasional dance moves.
The youth’s eyes could display a pleasant, amusing gleam at a moment’s notice, and he could switch from a friendly to an aggressive demeanor on a dime.
This ability was especially valuable in a seedy dive club like the Harvard Inn, where fights frequently led to murders. Yale observed Capone’s bouncer adeptness and invited him to join his inner circle.
How Al Capone got his scars
One night during an extreme heatwave, a man named Frank Galluccio came to the Harvard Inn accompanied by his fiancée and younger sister Lena.
Taking an interest in Lena, Capone asked her to take a walk on the beach with him, which she declined. Instead, Lena informed her brother what had just happened between her and Capone.
As they prepared to leave, Capone playfully remarked that Lena had a lovely figure, which offended Galluccio.
Since Galluccio could not match Capone’s strength in a straight fight, he drew a knife and stabbed Capone in the face and upper neck before fleeing the bar.
The nickname “Scarface”
The scars left on Al Capone’s face would be a defining characteristic from that point forward, giving him the nickname “Scarface.”
The nickname irritated Capone to the point where he frequently powdered his face and manipulated photographs to be shot from his right side.
Capone was extremely embarrassed about how he acquired the scars. Rather than admit that they came from a struggle with a small man over his sister, he insisted that he got them when he was fighting in France during World War I, even though he had never served in combat at any point.