CONTACT: Dr. Nathan Katz, Academic Director of the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU: firstname.lastname@example.org & 305.348.3909
As the daughter of underworld kingpin Meyer Lansky, Sandra Lansky grew up during the heyday of the Mafia, experiencing the glitz of Mad Men-era Manhattan, pre-Castro Cuba, Rat Pack Las Vegas, and Fontainebleau Miami Beach. She also was privy to many of her father’s secrets. And like those in his inner circle, she kept mum on all of them.
Until now. Sandra Lansky is breaking her 50-year silence with a tell-all memoir, Daughter of the King: Growing Up in Gangland, recounting her life as a Jewish Mafia princess and of organized crime’s purported influence at the highest reaches of government and world affairs.
Lansky and her co-author, veteran Hollywood chronicler William Stadiem, will be the featured speakers at a book event Sunday, March 30 at 2 p.m. at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU. The program is free and open to the public, and books will be available for sale.
It’s fitting that Meyer Lansky’s daughter would choose the museum as a place to speak of her Life with Father. Formerly the Beth Jacob Congregation, the Orthodox synagogue was where Lansky senior worshipped after moving to Miami Beach in the late 1940s. A stained-glass window bears his name on the south side of the Art Deco-style building.
“They say his seat was right down in front so that he could get out quickly if he needed to,” said museum executive director Joanne Arnowitz.
Sandi Lansky Lombardo, as she is known today, also calls South Florida home. But it wasn’t always that way.
Raised in upper-class splendor on New York City’s Upper West Side, she was educated at the best private and finishing schools, rode horses in Central Park, dressed in couture, partied at the hottest clubs, and dated celebrities and society scions—all while still in her teens. The Paris Hilton of her day, she was among the richest and most eligible girls in the world, a self-described wild child whose excesses sometimes brought her to the brink, from drug addiction to marrying and divorcing before the age of 20.
But for all her high living, Sandi knew better than to keep a high profile. She remained tight-lipped about her father’s secrets, a number of which he only revealed to her towards the end of his life, including a plot he and fellow mobster Charlie “Lucky” Luciano hatched to assassinate Hitler and Mussolini, as well as enlisting the help of the Kansas City underworld to use their connections to the White House to persuade President Harry Truman, a Missouri native, to support the creation of the State of Israel.
The March 30 book event is presented by Florida International University's Jewish Studies Initiatives.