Giacobbe "Jake" LaMotta Nicknamed "The Bronx Bull" or "Raging Bull"

Jun 27, 2020 180

BY: Marianna Randazzo

Known as The Raging Bull, or “the Bronx Bull for his aggressive fighting style, Giacobbe LaMotta grew up in the Bronx where he honed his boxing skills. The son of Sicilian immigrant Giuseppe LaMotta and Elizabeth LaMotta, Asa child, he was encouraged by his father to fight other neighborhood children as adult spectators would throw change into the ring. The money supported the family.

By 19, LaMotta had honed his skills enough to go pro, He beeame one ofthe leading fighters of the 1940s and early ‘50s when boxing was among the nation’s mest popular sports. He is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame and is considered one of the ten greatest middleweights of all time. In his prime, LaMotta refused fo cooperate with mobsters who controlled boxing.

Although he was a top-ranked contender, he was not granted a chance to fight for the championship until after he agreed to play along with the gangsters. In 1947 he deliberately lost a fight benefiting the gamblers who bet against him and was suspended for several months because his lackluster effort was so blatantly obvious. Throughout his life, LaMotta had a criminal record and was sent to reform schooland was incarcerated.

After hisretirement from boxing, LaMotta owned and managed bars. He also acted and performed stand-up comedy. He had roles in movies including "The Hustler" as well as several guest-star turns on TV's "Car 54, Where Are You?”. LaMotta wrote books about his life and career. His 1970 memoir, "Raging Bull: My Story” was adapted into a movie ten years after its publication.

Robert De Niro trained with LaMotta until LaMotta deemed him skilled enough to fight professionally, De Niro won an Academy Award. LaMotta was married seven times, most memorably to his second wife, Beverly Thailer, better known as Vikki in the film “Raging Bull." At 90, LaMotta tied the knot for the seventh time with longtime fiancée Denise Baker, nearly 30 years his junior, LaMotta lived until the age of 95.

SOURCE: Garibaldi Meucci Museum

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