A gun moll (aka gangster moll) is the female companion of a male professional criminal. In some contexts, "gun moll" more specifically suggests that the woman handles a firearm.
When the term came into usage in the first decade of the 20th century, "gun" was not derived from the English word "gun", but from the Yiddish word meaning "thief", variously transliterated into English as ganef, gonif, or goniff, itself derived from Hebrew "Ganav" (גנב). However, this distinction gradually disappeared, especially when such women became associated with gangsters noted for their frequent use of guns.
"Moll" derives from "Molly", used as a euphemism for "whore" or "prostitute" and attested at least since 17th century England. It is also worth noting that "molly" is a term for a female cat, though it is much more rarely used than "tom" is for males.
In the U.S., the term has mostly been applied to a woman associating with an American gangster of the 1920s and 1930s, and in most cases remarkable only because of his notoriety. Extended use of the term without awareness of the Yiddish root, however, has invited interpretations of "gun" as suggesting more than simply criminal associations. Bonnie Parker and Blanche Barrow were gun molls in this stronger sense, and especially notable examples in general, because of their accompanying the rest of the Barrow Gang to the planned locations of violent crimes, and, in Parker's case, apparently directly assisting at least to the extent of loading guns in the midst of shootouts.
Prominent gun molls
Prominent, true-life gun molls (and the men they were associated with) include:
- Beulah Baird – Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd
- Mae Capone – Al Capone
- Dee David (née DaLonne Chisam; 30 April 1923 – 12 November 1976 – later Cooper, Brumer & Jackson, through four marriages) — Associated with Frank Niccoli (alias Frankie Burns) (1910 – 2 September 1949), Mickey Cohen and Fred (Alfred Gerardo) Sica (11 September 1915 – 10 December 1987) Dee David was an aspiring actress, playing bit-parts in several movies, such as the hat check girl in Alias a Gentleman (billed as DaLonne David), and the uncredited role of Rita (the "Blonde") in the detective thriller Calling Homicide (billed as Dalonne Cooper)."
- Jean Delaney (Crompton) – Tommy Carroll
- Phoolan Devi Indian dacoit, Gun Moll of Vikram Mallah, later turned into the gang leader after his death
- Victoria DiGiorgio Gotti – John Gotti
- Judith Exner – was an American woman who claimed to be the mistress of U.S. president John F. Kennedy and Mafia leaders Sam Giancana and John Roselli.
- Evelyn "Billie" Frechette – John Dillinger
- Buda Godman (née Helen Julia Godman; 4 December 1888 – January 7, 1945) – John Homer T. ("Dapper Jackie") French, member of the Lou Blonger Gang of Denver. A photo of Buda holding a gun is found in Philip S. Van Cise's Fighting the Underworld.
- Catherine Greig – James Whitey Bulger
- Maria Victoria Henao – Pablo Escobar
- Karen Hill – Henry Hill
- Virginia Hill – Bugsy Siegel
- Mary Kinder (née Mary Northern; 29 August 1909 – 21 May 1981) – Harry Pierpont
- Opal "Mack Truck" Long – Russell Clark
- Edna Murray wife of "Diamond Joe" Sullivan, who was executed for murder in 1924. She then married Jack Murray, who was imprisoned for 25 years in 1925. She then lived with Volney Davis, until they were both arrested for kidnapping in 1935.
- Mary O'Dare – Raymond Hamilton
- Bonnie Parker – Clyde Barrow
- Geraldine "Geri" McGee Rosenthal – Frank Rosenthal
- Kathryn Thorne (née Cleo May Brooks; 18 March 1904 – 28 May 1985) – George "Machine Gun" Kelly
- Helen Gillis (née Wawzynak; 23 March 1908 – 3 July 1987) – George "Baby Face" Nelson
- Monica Bedi – Abu Salem. Azamgarh gangster operating from Mumbai and arrested from Portugal.
Fictional gun molls
- Nancy – Bill Sikes in Oliver Twist.
- Marie Garson (played by Ida Lupino) – Roy Earle (played by Humphrey Bogart) in High Sierra.
- Tallulah — Character from Bugsy Malone; Fat Sam's girlfriend, the speakeasy's star performer and Bugsy's ex.
- Breathless Mahoney – Character from the Dick Tracy comic strip as well as films such as, from 1990, Dick Tracy, where Breathless Mahoney was portrayed by Madonna.
- Alicia Hunt – Character from Batman, played by Jerry Hall; Carl Grissom's girlfriend and Jack Napier's mistress.
- Elvira Hancock – Character from Scarface, played by Michelle Pfeiffer; initially the trophy wife of drug dealer Frank Lopez, then that of the film's anti-hero, Tony Montana.
- Harley Quinn, the Joker's girlfriend and criminal associate, appearing in comic books, animated series and films, portayed in the movie Suicide Squad by the actress Margot Robbie.
- Elizabeth Jennings, a KGB spy in 1980s Washington DC sharing a fake marriage with another KGB agent in The Americans, portrayed by actress Keri Russell.
- Italian and Italian American gangsters and mafiosi often refer to their mistress as a comare (Italian for "godmother"), often Americanized to goomah, goomar, or gomatta.
- Moll – common term for whore or prostitute, and also the nickname of a 17th-century criminal Moll Cutpurse.
- Cocota or Cocotinha, the Brazilian term for a promiscuous, or often criminal-related, girl or woman.
- "the definition of gun moll". Dictionary.com.
- "Ganef - Define Ganef at Dictionary.com".
- Long Beach Independent – Long Beach, California – Wednesday, August 3, 1949 – p. 23
- Long Beach Independent – Long Beach, California – Thursday, July 21, 1949 – p. 32
- "California, Death Index, 1940–1997," index, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/VP2B-9BC), Accessed 24 Aug 2013, Alfred Gerardo Sica, 1987.
- Long Beach Press-Telegram – Long Beach, California – Friday, November 2, 1956 – p. 23 (This article points out that DaLonne had actually lived with Fred Sica for a number of years.)
- "Dalonne Jackson". IMDb.
- Van Cise, Philip S. Fighting the Underworld. (Cambridge, Mass.: The Riverside Press, 1936) OCLC 435739
- "Bollywood recounts gangster Abu Salems moll, Monica Bedi". India Today 28112005. 2005-11-28. Retrieved 2017-05-13.
- Canby, Vincent (June 15, 1990). "Dick Tracy (1990) Review/FIlm; A Cartoon Square Comes to Life In 'Dick Tracy'". The New York Times.
|Look up gun moll in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- Don't Call Us Molls: Women of the John Dillinger Gang by Ellen Poulson
- The Daily Beast