Sammy “The Bull” Gravano reveals thoughts on 2 Netflix shows about Mafia career

Salvatore "Sammy the Bull" Gravano opens up about his previous life in the Mafia and two new series on Netflix.
Published: Nov. 16, 2023 at 8:07 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — He’s the former underboss of the Gambino crime family, second in charge to famed mob boss John Gotti.

Since his prison release, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano has made Phoenix his home, and now his life, including turning on Gotti in court, is a focus of two new Netflix shows. It begs the question: why has the Mafia become one of the most popular true crime topics on screen?

If you know Gotti, you know his underboss, Sammy The Bull. They were a duo until Gravano turned on him in court after Gotti betrayed him, throwing Gravano under the bus for his crimes. “He said that’s the way it’s gotta be. I’m the boss. The boss has gotta go free, and that’s when I made the decision: f*** him. F*** Cosa Nostra. And I went on the other side to the government. I flipped,” Gravano said.

Gravano’s life and time in the Mafia is now on full display in two new Netflix docuseries, “How to Become a Mob Boss” and ‘Get Gotti.” “What’s your take on the fact that people seem to have such an intrigue with the Mafia even to this day?” asked True Crime Arizona correspondent Briana Whitney. “I really don’t really know. It’s that bad boy thing. I think everybody has that little bit of want to be a bad boy, or do certain things that you’ve maybe fantasized about, so now you’re talking about or looking at guys who did that,” Gravano said.

Gravano is not shy about his role in the Mafia. He said he was involved with 19 murders, including the planning and execution. “Of the 19 murders you were involved, in how many did you physically pull the trigger on?” asked Whitney. “A few,” said Gravano.

“So, most people would probably consider that a serial killer. Do you consider yourself a serial killer?” asked Whitney. “No,” said Gravano.

“Why?” asked Whitney. “What do I consider a serial killer? A person who kills for no reason. For self-enjoyment, or whatever,” said Gravano.

He told us he absolutely disagrees with serial killers, who he believes are psychologically stimulated by murder. To Gravano, his murders were merely orders. “Cosa Nostra is the government to me. I’m a soldier in Cosa Nostra. So, when I’m ordered to kill, I kill,” he said.

He’s most well-known for being the underboss to Gotti, then famously becoming a government informant in a trial where his testimony and wiretaps took “The Teflon Don” down.

But it was he and Gotti who carried out the murder of their boss, Paul Castellano. New to us Thursday, Gravano said he never wanted Gotti to become boss after Castellano in the first place. He wanted Frank DeCicco to be the boss and told him. “You become the boss. I didn’t want John to be the boss,” Gravano said. “He’s got an ego like the Empire State Building.”

Fast forward to life after prison, Gravano now focuses on prison reform, humane conditions while incarcerated, and fighting the drug epidemic. “These are things that fill my life now,” Gravano said with pride.

But in true Gravano style, with a true sense of humor, he said he can’t possibly be perfect. “I’m not a drinker. I don’t do drugs. I don’t gamble. I’m a womanizer, what?! Can I say that?! Just a little bit. I gotta have something!” he laughed.

You can watch “How to Become a Mob Boss” and “Get Gotti” on Netflix, and if you want to learn more about Sammy the Bull, he has his own YouTube channel and podcast called “Our Thing,” and you can listen to our past True Crime Arizona podcast episode with him about his life, and what he learned after becoming a government informant.

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