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Constantino Paul Castellano (1915-1985), better known as Paul Castellano, was a mafia boss in New York. Castellano belonged to the Gambino family, then New York's largest mafia family, headed by Carlo Gambino. He was born in Brooklyn.
Castellano became boss after Carlo Gambino's death in 1976. While many people wanted the position as boss, it is suspected that Gambino appointed Castellano as his successor because Castellano was married to Gambino's sister and Gambino was a man who believed that family should come first. But Gambino decided at the same time to make Aniello DelaCrosse his underboss, to prevent a street war from happening. After Gambino's death, DelaCrosse became Castellano's underboss.
It is said that Castellano tried to run the organization like a company, and his connections expanded to places as far away as Kuwait. As part of an effort to lead a more open life-style, he purchased a large mansion in the prominent Todt Hill neighborhood of Staten Island.
From these changes, some of his captains apparently began to lose respect for his leadership, believing that Castellano had lost touch with the essence of the organization. DelaCrosse, however, supposedly wouldn't approve of an attempt on his life, and thus they could not try to harm him.
On December 2, 1985, however, DelaCrosse died of lung cancer. Within two weeks, on December 16, Castellano and his driver were shot to death outside Sparks Steak House in Manhattan, apparently on the orders of John Gotti, one of Castellano's captains in Queens who succeeded Castellano as head of the Gambino family. This was later confirmed by the testimony of Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, a Gotti underboss, when he entered into a plea bargain with the government in 1990