The gangster that inspired Ridley Scott claimed to earn $ 1 million a day in his day.
Former American drug baron Frank Lucas, who is the main character of the film “American Gangster“, died on Thursday, May 30, at the age of 88, said his nephew on his Facebook page.
Aldwan Lassiter told the Rolling Stone magazine website that his uncle had died of “natural death”, without further details.
Raised in North Carolina and 16 years old in Harlem, Frank Lucas was one of the great heroin purveyors of New York’s famous black-box district and also Newark, New Jersey’s main city, between the late 1960s and 1975.
In addition to his violence and intimidation, he owes his success to his network, which allowed him to bypass traditional intermediaries to buy directly in Asia.
Frank Lucas said he carried drugs into military coffins that repatriated soldiers who fell on the Vietnamese front, a version that has since been challenged by several actors of the time but retained in the film.
He said in a long interview with New York magazine in 2000 that he was making $ 1 million a day in his own time, consumers being drawn to the unusual purity of his merchandise.
The legend of Frank Lucas was also forged by his flamboyant exits, especially during the boxing bout, in 1971, between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden, where he had presented himself with long coat and hat in chinchilla.
“I could not let people who earned less money than I parade thinking they were the masters of the world,” he explained in his autobiography, “Original Gangster”.
The interview with New York magazine was the basis of Ridley Scott’s American Gangster, in which Denzel Washington plays Frank Lucas.
Arrested in 1975, he collaborated with the US authorities in many cases, which will earn him parole in 1981, when he was sentenced to 70 years in prison in 1976.
He was again arrested and sentenced in 1984 to seven years in prison for drug trafficking.