Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal was the real life character played by Robert De Niro in one of my favourite films “Casino”. The film character Sam “Ace” Rothstein was a true to life portrail of Rosenthal.
Lefty Actually ran 4 casinos SIMULTANEOUSLY not one as portrayed in the film:
Stardust Hotel and Casino
He married Geraldine McGee played by Sharon Stone in the movie:
Geraldine (Geri) McGee Rosenthal (May 16, 1936 - November 9, 1982) was the second wife of Las Vegas sports handicapper Frank Rosenthal. She provided the basis for the character of "Ginger," portrayed by Sharon Stone in the 1995 movie Casino.
Geraldine and her sister, Barbara, grew up in the Sherman Oaks community of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley and went to Van Nuys High School with Robert Redford and Don Drysdale. She started going out with Lenny Marmor in high school. Their daughter, Robin L Marmor, was born December 27, 1957, in Los Angeles and, although Marmor never married her, talked her into moving to Las Vegas. ( Marmor Character was Lester Diamond payed by James Woods in the Film)
She met Anthony Spilotro ( Nicky Santoro Played by Joe Pesci ) while at a convention in Atlantic City, and later had an affair with him which would resume after marrying Frank Rosenthal. When Frank met Geri, she had been hustling in Las Vegas for close to eight years. She owned her own house and was raising her 11-year-old daughter Robin. She supported her ailing mother, Alice Pollock McGee, and her sister, Barbara Stokich (b. February 6 1934, d. May 7, 2000), whose husband had abandoned her with their two young sons. In 1954, her aunt received a large inheritance and offered to send her to Woodbury Business School, but Rosenthal wanted to go to UCLA or USC. Instead she got a job at Thrifty Drugs, then as a teller for Bank of America.
Marmor would visit Rosenthal and their daughter, usually for two or three days, often with the intention to borrow money. Occasionally, her father, Roy McGee, who was long separated from her mother, would visit. Besides Marmor and Rosenthal, she was also seeing John Hicks, who was 10 years her senior. His parents, who owned the Algiers Hotel and the Thunderbird Casino, disapproved of the relationship, threatening to take away Hicks' trust fund if he married Rosenthal.
Frank and Geri Rosenthal were married on May 1, 1969. They had two children, Steven and Stephanie. Their divorce was final January 16, 1981
Geraldine Rosenthal died from a drug overdose on November 9, 1982, and was buried at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles. Frank Rosenthal spent $50,000 to have a private autopsy conducted. Her death was determined to have been caused by a combination of alcohol, valium, and cocaine.
Rosenthal was born into a Jewish family in Chicago, Illinois, from the city's West Side, where he developed a close friendship with Anthony Spilotro. As a kid, Rosenthal would often skip class to attend local Chicago sporting events. He had numerous arrests and indictments for gambling crimes, including bribing players to fix football, basketball and other games, but few convictions.
A pioneer of sports gambling, Rosenthal secretly ran the Stardust, Fremont, Marina and Hacienda casinos when they were controlled by the Mafia. He was the first to operate a sports book from within a casino (previously, the inefficient norm had been to do the opposite), making the Stardust one of the world's leading centers for sports gambling. Another Rosenthal innovation was to allow female blackjack dealers; in just one year, this doubled the Stardust's income.
In 1976, when authorities discovered that Rosenthal was secretly running casinos without the Nevada license needed to officially do so, they held a hearing to determine his legal ability to obtain a gaming license. The board's decision: Rosenthal was denied a license as an employee in a casino. However, he later succeeded in an appeal before Judge Joseph Pavlikowski (who had been given a write off of $2,800 -- the cost of his daughter's wedding two years earlier -- at the same hotel at which Rosenthal had been working as a publicity director). An effort to have Rosenthal's name included in the Black Book (which would have banned him from being in or near any casino in Nevada, and could cause any casino he was found in to lose its license), was temporarily thwarted in 1988 by Judge Pavlikowski, but his decision was ultimately overruled.
It has been said that Rosenthal was nicknamed "Lefty" because, during a Congressional subcommittee hearing, he invoked the Fifth Amendment 37 times, not even answering the question of whether or not he was left-handed. In fact, however, he had the nickname from childhood, simply because he was left-handed.
Rosenthal married Geraldine McGee, and while she had a daughter, Robin L. Marmor, prior to their marriage (fathered by Lenny Marmor), Frank and Geri had two children together, Steven and Stephanie. The marriage ultimately ended in divorce, with Rosenthal attributing the failure primarily to McGee's inability to escape her alcohol and drug addictions. After leaving Rosenthal and stealing a significant portion of his savings, Geri died at a motel in Los Angeles on November 9, 1982, at age 46, of an apparent drug overdose. Her death was ruled accidental, from a combination of Valium, cocaine and Jack Daniel's whiskey.
Rosenthal survived an assassination attempt in 1982 after his car was rigged with explosives. Many people state that it was pure luck that he survived because his car was a 1981 Cadillac Eldorado which had a metal plate under the driver's seat (GM installed it to correct a balancing problem); it was the only thing that saved his life. He subsequently was forced out of Las Vegas (he was placed in "the Black Book" in 1988, making him persona non grata -- and unhireable -- in every Nevada casino ever since) because of his alleged ties with organized crime. He retired to Laguna Niguel, California, then to Boca Raton, Florida, and then to Miami Beach where he ran his website,
http://frankrosenthal.com. Rosenthal stated in an interview that he snuck in and out of Las Vegas all the time under disguises such as a wig or fake beard.
Rosenthal died of a heart attack in his Florida home October 13, 2008, aged 79