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Issue Date: March 2011

The Irishman Chronicles

Erick Trickey

As the film Kill the Irishman elevates Collinwood native Danny Greene into
the pantheon of Hollywood gangster antiheroes, we look back at Greene's life story,
his legend, and the gloomy yet seductive era when Cleveland was Bomb City, USA.

"Kaboom!" The mural's red letters shout, and the explosion streaks across the building's facade in happy white and orange. Danny Greene lived here 36 years ago, until a bomb crashed through the downstairs window, and the 41-year-old gangster and his 18-year-old girlfriend rode the collapsing bedroom down like an elevator.

Collinwood has changed a lot since 1975, but the bohemian re-inventors of the Waterloo Arts District have found a way to pay homage to their street's incendiary moment in Cleveland history.

Right by the record store Music Saves, 15805 Waterloo Road is still a vacant lot, just like after the bombing, when Greene fenced it off, installed two trailers and raised the Irish flag. He sat outside sunning himself — shirtless to show off his broad, bronzed chest and the Celtic cross dangling from his neck — and, with a TV camera rolling, dared all his bomb-throwing enemies to come get him.


Film Features

Danny Greene's legend lives large on screen in Kill the Irishman and the documentary Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman.

  • Through Irish Eyes
    Actor Ray Stevenson talks about creating Danny Greene in Kill the Irishman.
  • Passion Project
    Tommy Reid, co-producer of Kill the Irishman and director of Danny Greene: The Rise and Fall of the Irishman, recalls where he first heard Greene's name.
  • Street Smarts
    Jonathan Hensleigh, director and co-screenwriter of Kill the Irishman, discusses bringing 1970s Cleveland to life on screen.
  • Review: Kill the Irishman
    The film version of Danny Greene's life has all the classic mob-movie elements.

Archive Dive

Cleveland Magazine stories have influenced every retelling of the city's 1970s mob wars in print and film. Here are four of our best pieces.

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