John Gotti, the late US crime boss who has been immortalised over the years in TV and film, is the subject of Netflix's upcoming documentary series, Got Gotti.


The three-parter is set in 1985, when John Gotti was one of the most powerful men in New York, and also the most surveilled. His involvement in the death of ‘Boss of Bosses’ Paul Castellano saw Gotti become the head of America's most powerful crime syndicate in history - the Gambino family.

The docuseries chronicles Gotti’s meteoric rise and crashing fall – as shared by those who were responsible for bringing him down.

As we await Netflix's new true crime series - launching on 24th October - look back at the notorious crime figure and his eventual demise.

Who was John Gotti?

John Gotti was born in the Bronx, New York City, on 27th October 1940, and was the fifth of 13 children of John Joseph Gotti Sr and Philomena Fannie DeCarlo. His family descended from San Giuseppe Vesuviano, in the province of Naples, Italy.

During his adolescence, Gotti skipped school and became involved with New York street gangs before working with the Mafia-associated Fulton-Rockaway Boys gang. He married Victoria DiGiorgio in 1962, and they had five children.

Gotti eventually became part of the feared Gambino family alongside his brothers Gene, Peter and Richard. Early jobs within the mob included robbing trucks with Thomas DeSimone, which became the inspiration for Joe Pesci’s gangster in Martin Scorsese's classic, Goodfellas.

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In 1985, Gotti helped to orchestrate the murder of the head of the family, Paul Castellano, and replaced him as the boss of the Gambino clan, America's most powerful crime syndicate.

During his time as boss of the Gambino family, Gotti was arrested and charged multiple times but was freed following a series of acquittals. He became infamous when he was acquitted in three consecutive court cases, which earned him the nickname the 'Teflon Don'.

What happened to John Gotti and how did he die?

In 1991, Gotti's underboss Salvatore 'Sammy the Bull' Gravano heard Gotti make disparaging remarks about him on an FBI wiretap that implicated him and Gotti in several murders. Gravano agreed to provide incriminating evidence to the FBI and testify against Gotti in court.

In 1992, Gotti was convicted of five murders, conspiracy to commit murder, racketeering, obstruction of justice, tax evasion, illegal gambling, extortion, and loansharking, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.

After his sentencing, Gotti was transferred to United States Penitentiary, Marion. In 1998, Gotti was diagnosed with throat cancer, from which he died at the age of 61 on 10th June 2002, at the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri.

His imprisonment and death led to the beginning of the end of the Cosa Notra, aka the mafia, in the US.

Since the 1990s, Gotti has been portrayed in six TV movies, two documentary series and three films, including 2018's Gotti, which featured John Travolta in the titular role.

Get Gotti airs on Netflix on 24th October. Sign up for Netflix from £4.99 a month. Netflix is also available on Sky Glass and Virgin Media Stream.

Check out more of our Documentaries coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what's on.


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