Luellen Smiley, NSNC member, is the daughter of reputed mobster, Allen Smiley, who was a close friend and confidant of famous Las Vegas mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel and was just feet away from Siegel the night he was murdered.
She has been a columnist since 2004 when she began writing a weekly column in San Diego called “Smiley’s Dice.” Her series on Growing up with Gangsters won a Blue Ribbon with the California Newspaper Publishers Association.
Luellen is currently writing a book based on her life as the daughter of a gangster. She has completed a feature-length screenplay based on her story and has done years of extensive research that led to TV and documentary film interviews regarding the mob scene.
“Yesterday marked a pivotal moment in a seventeen year search, discover and write-the-story journey.” Luellen said recently, speaking of an interview with KNPR, Nevada Public Radio, aired May 11, 2011.
In the fascinating must-hear interview, Luellen said that her father always wore a disguise of respectability to protect her and never spoke of his activities with the mob. He was drawn away from a career in Hollywood filmmaking to follow Siegel. He like gambling and enjoyedthe glamor and power represented by the mob. She began her research to find out the truth about her father vs. the fiction that is often attributed to members of the mafia. Much of her research was from government and FBI documents obtained through the freedom of information act.
Luellen Smiley reunited with Ben Siegel’s daughter, Millicent, for the opening of the Las Vegas Mob Experience at the Tropicana. Artifacts and memorabilia from both fathers are displayed at the Mob Experience where the stories of famous gangsters and the families who loved them are revealed.