Is John Dillinger's Preserved Willie on Display at the Smithsonian? [View Resource]
John Herbert Dillinger, Jr. (1903 – 1934) was an American gangster and bank-robber in the Depression-era in the United States.
He was charged with the murder of an East Chicago police officer, but never convicted. During his bank heists, a dozen victims—prison officers, police, federal agents, gangsters and civilians—were killed. His gang robbed two dozen banks and four police stations. Dillinger escaped from jail twice.
In 1933-34, among criminals like Lester Gillis (Baby Face Nelson), Pretty Boy Floyd, and Bonnie and Clyde, Dillinger was the most notorious of all. Media reports were spiced with exaggerated accounts of his bravado and daring. The public demanded federal action and J. Edgar Hoover developed a more sophisticated Federal Bureau of Investigation as a weapon against organized crime.
After evading police in four states for almost a year, Dillinger was wounded and returned to his father's home to recover. He returned to Chicago in July 1934 and met his end at the hands of police and federal agents who were informed of his whereabouts by Ana Cumpanas. On July 22, the police and Division of Investigation closed in on the Biograph Theater. Federal agents, led by Melvin Purvis, moved to arrest him as he left the theater. He pulled a weapon and attempted to flee but was shot three times and killed.
- Lawrence Tierney played the title role in the first film dramatization of Dillinger's career; Dillinger (1945).
- Director Don Siegel's 1957 film Baby Face Nelson, starred Mickey Rooney as Nelson and Leo Gordon as Dillinger.
- In 1959's "The FBI Story" starring James Stewart, Jean Willes plays Anna Sage and Scott Peters plays Dillinger. Peters, a small-time actor, went uncredited in this role.
- Director Marco Ferreri's 1969 film Dillinger Is Dead includes documentary footage of real John Dillinger as well as newspaper clips.
- 1973's Dillinger, directed and written by John Milius with Warren Oates in the title role, presented the gang in a much more sympathetic light, in keeping with the anti-hero theme popular in films after Bonnie and Clyde (1967).
- Lewis Teague directed the 1979 film The Lady in Red, starring Pamela Sue Martin as the eponymous lady in the red dress. However, in this film, it is Dillinger's girlfriend Polly in red, not the Romanian informant Anna Sage (Louise Fletcher). Sage tricks Polly into wearing red so that FBI agents can identify Dillinger (Robert Conrad) as he emerges from the cinema.
- A TV film Dillinger was released in 1991, starring Mark Harmon.
- Director Michael Mann's 2009 film Public Enemies is an adaptation of Bryan Burrough's book Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-43. The film features Johnny Depp as John Dillinger and Christian Bale as FBI agent Melvin Purvis, but is inaccurate in some major historical details, such as the timeline of deaths of key criminal figures including Pretty Boy Floyd and Baby Face Nelson.
For more information: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Dillinger
Source: Wikipedia (All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License and Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.)