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Mob Molls: Incredible photos show the lady companions of the New York Mafia

Ian Smith

Behind every great man, there is a great woman, and behind every great mafia man, there is an equally great gun moll woman.

A gun moll or mob moll  is the female companion of a male professional criminal. “Moll” derives from “Molly”, used as a euphemism for “whore” or “prostitute” and attested at least since 17th century England.

In the U.S., the term has mostly been applied to a woman associating with an American gangster of the 1920s and 1930s, and in most cases remarkable only because of his notoriety. Extended use of the term without awareness of the Yiddish root, however, has invited interpretations of “gun” as suggesting more than simply criminal associations. Bonnie Parker and Blanche Barrow were gun molls in this stronger sense, and especially notable examples in general, because of their accompanying the rest of the Barrow Gang to the planned locations of violent crimes, and in Parker’s case, apparently directly assisting at least to the extent of loading guns in the midst of shootouts.

NY Daily News made an amazing overview to the most popular mob molls in New York.

Graphic content ahead

Joseph Costa/New York Daily News

Actress Alice Granville shows off two bullet holes in her arm at Roosevelt Hospital after she was shot by her hitman husband, Pete Donahue, 1931. The mob moll said Donahue shot her at a nightclub party to prove his affection. 

Mob Moll, Margaret Kane smiles at she leaves the Ridgewood Court for jail in 1932.

Margaret Kelly joins Frank Palumbo as the two are arrested for a dance hall hold up and a murder.







Mob Moll Rita Rio, denied she ever knew the real identity of her boyfriend Louis (Pretty) Amberg who was found cremated in his car.

A policeman brings 17-years-old Nancy Serville into custody in 1936.



Smitty White was arrested and held at police headquarters in 1942 after her boyfriend Ralph Prisco was shot and killed during a failed hold up.



This is Mary Duke a mob moll arrested for a gun duel in 1943.

19-year-old Virgina Ommark and her  beau Frank Schmidt  stare blankly at the camera after being arainged for the murder of a lingerie merchant in 1944.



Florence Garitty, the gun moll of hitman George Folley. About living with hitman she said: “Life was no fun till I met him.”


Virginia Hill was also known as “The queen of the gangster molls.” She was the girlfriend of  Brooklyn mobster Bugsy Siegel. Hill was out of town when his boyfriend was slain in her home and shot through the window with a riffle.

Janice Drake was once a beauty pageant contestant and Miss New Jersey.She spent countless nights in clubs and restaurants with some of the most senior figures in organised crime despite being a wife (to nightclub comedian Alan Drake)

Twice Janice Drake dined with men who were gunned down the following day. Here she is photographed in 1952 as police take her into questioning after playboy Garment district boss Nat Nelson was murdered in a mob assassination hours after he was seen out with her.

Drake suffered her own unhappily ever after when she was found shot to death in the front seat of a black Cadillac with mobster Little Augie Pisano in 1959.

15-years-old mob moll Carmen Martinez doesn’t go down without a fight, as she is hauled off by police for the murder of 17-years-old Raul Banuchi.

Palma Vitale was a significant member of the mafia. She was a pro on putting up a poker face.

photos descriptionss and photos courtesy of  New York Daily News


Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News