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Trapani, Sicily, Italy
June 12, 1934|
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Early life[edit | edit source]
He was born Antonio Trangorello in Trapani, Sicily. His family emigrated to New York three years later, arriving at Ellis Island on July 18, 1906. He later moved to Chicago with his family and girlfriend. One time he and a few of his friends were in a movie theater, when local Irish police raided it. He changed his name to James McLain to avoid being beaten up.
Prohibition-era[edit | edit source]
McLain took a run-in with a few Purple Gang members, They were fighting with him telling him that it was a Jewish area. One of them pulled a gun and shot at him. Both of them missed, but hit and killed his girlfriend.
McLain got back at the Purple Gang with the help of Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn. He started work in McGurn's speakeasy, the Green Mill, as a bartender. He later became involved with McGurn's crew inside the Chicago Outfit which at the time was run by Johnny Torrio and Al Capone.
McLain helped McGurn kill Frankie Yale in 1928.
St. Valentine's Day Massacre[edit | edit source]
James suspectedly helped plan the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929, which was meant to bring the war of the North Side Gang to an end by killing George Moran. Six members of the North Side Gang were killed, but Moran survived. He was not suspected for the killings because a local flower shop owner claimed he was with McLain at the time.
Later years[edit | edit source]
On August 25, 1933, the Western Open golf championship began at Olympia Fields Country Club in the far south suburb of Olympia Fields, Illinois. McLain entered the competition, using his birth name. When McGurn was arrested, McLain thought it would be a good idea to leave as well, as someone could easily find out who he was.
When Frank Nitti took control of the Chicago Outfit, he didn't think McLain was going to keep his mouth shut about the happenings on St. Valentine's Day. However, Paul Ricca thought that McLain was a good assassin and gunman, so he kept him on board.