Did Frank Lucas’ wife really buy him the fur coat and hat?
Frank Lucas fur coat and wifeYes. According to the American Gangster true story, it was Frank’s wife, Julie Lucas, who bought him the fur coat, which he at first thought was her new coat (BET, American Gangster). Frank is convinced that the chinchilla coat was what led the police to take note of him. The movie uses the $50,000 chinchilla coat and $10,000 matching hat in an attempt to show the pitfalls of being an over-flamboyant gangster. In real life, Lucas also spent $140,000 on a couple of Van Cleef bracelets. -New York Magazine
Did the fur coat really give him away?
“No,” Richie Roberts said in an interview. “Law enforcement knew of him. Frank doesn’t believe that, but law enforcement certainly knew of him and his people. But certainly it brought a lot more attention onto him, that coat. You don’t go around showing that kind of money when the people who are trying to arrest you are making in those days $25,000 a year, and you’re showing a coat that’s like five years salaries. It gets these guys a little angry. So, it was a bad mistake” (HOT 97 FM). Specifically, Richie is speaking of the flamboyant mistake that Frank made when he wore the chinchilla coat and hat to the March 8, 1971 Frazier vs. Ali fight at Madison Square Garden. The above picture of Frank Lucas and his wife Julie was taken on the night of the fight. The detectives in attendance noticed Frank, whose seats were closer than those of the Italian Mafia (BET, American Gangster series).