This is the final Mugshot March post of 2022, so it had better be good.
And it gets no better than the original Public Enemy #1, John Herbert Dillinger.
Dillinger, the charismatic bank robber and 1930s outlaw, had a fascinating, but all-too-short life. He was born on June 22, 1903 in Indiana, to a humble farmer and his wife.
His life of crime, like so many others, was initially the result of a dumb mistake. He got married in 1924, and just four months later, an unsuccessful robbery led to being charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and assault with intent to rob. The judge threw the book at Dillinger, sentencing him to 2-14 years on the conspiracy charge, and 10-20 years on the assault charge. His new wife promptly divorced him.
There was a moment, in May 1933, when he was paroled from prison and he briefly stood at the crossroads. He could have played it straight or he could cross over into infamy. I bet you know what he chose to do!
An interesting thing about Dillinger is how different he looks in each picture. While still recognizable, he might look old in some pictures, and a few months later, he was snapped looking like he was about 17. He did have plastic surgery at one point to disguise himself, but it’s more than that.
Dillinger was a real celebrity. People wanted to pose with him for pictures, everyone–even law enforcement–wanted the souvenirs proving they met the famous outlaw.
He had a distinct Old Hollywood vibe, an outlaw Humphrey Bogart.
Dillinger was betrayed by the pernicious Anna Sage, the lady in red, who worked with the FBI to set up the famous outlaw. He was shot and killed outside the Biograph Theatre in Chicago, one month after his thirty-first birthday.
Enter the Mugshot March 2022 contest here to win a signed paperback copy of my new historical true crime book, Has it Come to This?
4 thoughts on “Mugshot March: John Dillinger, outlaw”
Very cool post, I think this was one cool criminal! Plastic surgery in the 20’s/30’s? That’s hardcore! Although I know nothing about Dillinger at all, these pics ooze sex and crime and passion. Even the “church lady” in the group photo is not having it, for obvious reasons. Fun one!
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Yeah you can see why people were/are so fascinated by him
He remains a legend, even after all these years. I couldn’t really tell what type of plastic surgery he’d had as he looked much the same to me in all the pictures. Who knew plastic surgery was even an option back then?
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It’s really startling how different he looks in these pictures, but I think they were taken before he had anything done. I’m not sure about that. Take a look at this Before/After picture ran in the St.Louis Star the day after Dillinger was killed—I’m not so sure he was unrecognizable.