George "Bugs" Moran (1893-February 25, 1957) was a Chicago Prohibition-era gangster. Born to Irish and Polish immigrants in Minnesota in 1893, Moran moved to the north side of Chicago in his teenage years. Growing up, he ran with several gangs and was imprisoned three times before turning 21. He earned the nickname "Bugs" after assaulting a tailor who he felt was gouging him because of his ethnicity, leaving the tailor with two broken arms and two broken legs. The name "Bugs" came from those who thought he was nuts or "buggy."
Moran began trying to make a name for himself in the Chicago underground, running liquor and hosting craps games. Eventually, Moran joined Dion O'Banion's gang, bringing his small-time rackets along with him.
Battling Johnny Torrio
In 1924, O'Bannion was killed by Johnny Torrio's men and Moran became second in command behind Earl Weiss. On January 25, 1925, Weiss and Moran tried to kill Johnny Torrio, but just before Moran could kill him execution-style, Moran's gun misfired and, lacking any further ammo, a furious Moran had to back down. The now-terrified Torrio decided to retire and handed his operation over to Al Capone.
Battling Al Capone
Weiss and Moran's bootlegging operations remained the only serious challenge to Al Capone's empire in Chicago and Moran and Capone became ongoing rivals because of it. The two led bloody turf wars against each other for many years. Moran hated Capone and verbally attacked him in the press, as well, saying "Capone is a lowlife." Moran also felt superior to Capone's gang because Capone's gang was involved in the prostitution racket, something Moran, a devout Catholic, refused to dabble in.
Several associates of Moran were killed by associates of Capone in the notorious St. Valentine's Day Massacre in 1929. Moran escaped death by being late to the warehouse where the massacre took place.
When Prohibition was lifted in 1933, the various Chicago gangs began to decline and the same was true for Moran. In 1936, Moran got revenge on Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn who helped to orchestrate the Valentine's Day massacre, but this was one of the gang's final major actions. Moran's remaining gambling institutions were taken over by the growing syndicates, led by Meyer Lansky and Charles "Lucky" Luciano.
In July 1946, Moran was arrested for robbing a bank messenger in Ohio of $10,000, a paltry amount compared to Moran's lifestyle during the Prohibition days. He was convicted and sentenced to ten years but was arrested again for an earlier bank raid shortly after his release. He was sentenced to another ten years at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary, but died in prison of cancer on February 25, 1957. He was given a pauper's burial just outside of prison.