William Radkay -- ex-gangster was favorite at Alcatraz reunions





It was a brisk day on Alcatraz a few years ago when William Isaac Radkay began warming up the crowd the old-fashioned way during a reunion of former guards and prisoners -- by spinning yarns.

The rakish former pal of George "Machine Gun" Kelly told how he once took six slugs in his backside for not stopping when police yelled "Halt." He decided to keep them, he quipped, "for posterity."

"I was on the top 10 list and didn't even know it," he said, deftly reeling in his rapt audience before delivering the punch line. "I didn't know anybody wanted me."

In the end, everybody -- even the former prison guards on Alcatraz -- wanted Willie Radkay, the last surviving Great Depression-era gangster to be locked up on the Rock.

The man who was shot eight separate times by police and lived to tell about it died of old age on Sept. 24 at in Fort Scott, Kan. It was his 95th birthday.


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