List of Boardwalk Empire characters

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The following is a list of characters from the HBO television show Boardwalk Empire. The show dramatizes the prohibition era in Atlantic City and the early history of the American Mafia. Many of the characters on the show are fictional. Some are (loosely) based on historical figures; of these, some use the name of the person upon which they are based, while others have had their names changed for the program.


Main characters[edit]

Actor Character Season(s) Character notes Based on
1 2 3 4 5
Steve Buscemi Enoch "Nucky" Thompson Main The corrupt treasurer of Atlantic County and its most powerful political figure. Enoch L. Johnson[1]
Michael Pitt James "Jimmy" Darmody Main Does not appear A former Princeton student who served in World War I. After returning home, Jimmy is hired by Nucky Thompson as his driver. Jimmy Boyd[2]
Kelly Macdonald Margaret Thompson (formerly Schroeder, née Rohan) Main A young Irish widow and mother, she turns to Nucky for help and eventually becomes his lover and later, his wife. Mary Ill[1]
Michael Shannon Nelson Van Alden / George Mueller Main A former Prohibition agent on the run after the murder of his former partner. Under the alias George Mueller, he inadvertently gets caught up in the conflict between Dean O'Banion and Al Capone. William Frank[1]
Shea Whigham Elias "Eli" Thompson Main Nucky's younger brother and former sheriff of Atlantic County. Alfred "Alf" Johnson[1]
Aleksa Palladino Angela Darmody Main Does not appear Jimmy's wife and the mother of his young son. No historical basis
Michael Stuhlbarg Arnold Rothstein Main Does not appear A powerful and intelligent New York gangster who enters into business with Nucky Arnold Rothstein
Stephen Graham Al Capone Main A low-level Chicago gangster with ambitions of leading the Chicago mob Al Capone
Vincent Piazza Charles "Lucky" Luciano Main A Sicilian-American gangster and close associate of Rothstein Charles "Lucky" Luciano
Paz de la Huerta Lucy Danziger Main Does not appear Nucky's mistress and a former Ziegfeld Follies dancer No historical basis[2]
Michael Kenneth Williams Albert "Chalky" White Main Nucky's counterpart in Atlantic City's black community No historical basis
Anthony Laciura Edward "Eddie" Kessler Main Does not appear Nucky's German personal assistant and valet. Louis Kessel[1]
Paul Sparks Mickey Doyle Main An Atlantic City bootlegger Mickey Duffy[1]
Dabney Coleman Commodore Louis Kaestner Main Does not appear Nucky's mentor and predecessor in Atlantic City, Jimmy's biological father. Louis Kuehnle[1]
Jack Huston Richard Harrow Recurring Main Does not appear A former Army marksman who allies with Jimmy and later Nucky. Disfigured during the war, he wears a mask over half of his face. No historical basis
Gretchen Mol Gillian Darmody Recurring Main Jimmy's mother and an old friend of Nucky's. She is also Luciano's former lover. No historical basis
Charlie Cox Owen Sleater Does not appear Recurring Main Does not appear An Irish immigrant and IRA member. He has an affair with Margaret, while working his way up in Nucky's organization. No historical basis
Bobby Canavale Gyp Rosetti Does not appear Main Does not appear Sicilian gangster backed by Joe Masseria, who challenged Nucky. No historical basis
Ron Livingston Roy Phillips Does not appear Main Does not appear A wealthy out-of-town businessman who finds himself getting involved with Gillian Darmody. No historical basis
Jeffrey Wright Dr. Valentin Narcisse Does not appear Main Harlem racketeer who challenges Chalky. Casper Holstein[3]
Ben Rosenfield William "Willie" Thompson Does not appear Recurring Main Eli's oldest son and Nucky's nephew who becomes an assistant U.S. Attorney in New York City. No historical basis

Recurring characters[edit]

Actor Character Season(s) Character notes Based on
Greg Antonacci Johnny Torrio Seasons 1–5 Capone's boss in Chicago Johnny Torrio[1]
Erik Weiner Agent Sebso Season 1 Van Alden's partner.
William Hill Alderman George O'Neill Seasons 1–2 One of Nucky's political cronies and ward bosses.
Robert Clohessy James Neary Seasons 1–2 One of Nucky's political cronies and ward bosses
Dominic Chianese Leander Whitlock Seasons 2-5 Atlantic City lawyer and ally to the Commodore
William Forsythe Manny Horvitz Season 2-3 Philadelphia gangster
Anna Katarina Isabelle Jeunet Seasons 1, 3 A French woman who owns an haute couture shop on the boardwalk.
Max Casella Leo D'Alessio Season 1 A Philadelphia gangster Doyle owes money to. Leo Lanzetta[1]
Edoardo Ballerini Ignacius D'Alessio Season 1 Leo's brother and another gangster Ignatius Lanzetta[1]
Anatol Yusef Meyer Lansky Seasons 1–5 A young protégé of Rothstein and partners with Luciano Meyer Lansky[1]
Joseph Riccobene Frankie Yale Seasons 1, 3–4 Brooklyn gangster Frankie Yale[1]
Kevin O'Rourke Edward L. Bader Seasons 1–4 Atlantic City mayor Edward L. Bader[1]
Dana Ivey Mrs. McGarry Season 1 A prominent leader of the Women's Suffrage and Temperance Movements. Susan B. Anthony[1]
Geoff Pierson Senator Walter Edge Seasons 1–3 New Jersey Senator who thwarts some of Nucky's plans. Senator Walter Evans Edge
Pearce Bunting Bill McCoy Season 1-4 Sea captain and rum runner for Nucky Thompson Bill McCoy[1]
Tracy Middendorf Babette Seasons 1–3 Owner of Babette's Night Club
Natalie Wachen Lenore White Seasons 2–4 Beautiful wife of Chalky White, and mother to his three children.
Michael Zegen Benny Siegel Seasons 2–3, 5 A low-level criminal working card-games for Lansky and Luciano. Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel
Glenn Fleshler George Remus Seasons 2–4 A major bootlegger based in Ohio; refers to himself in the third-person. George Remus
Julianne Nicholson Esther Randolph Seasons 2–4 Assistant Attorney General who investigates Nucky for election fraud. Mabel Walker Willebrandt
Ivo Nandi Joe Masseria Seasons 2–5 New York mob boss who backs Rosetti against Nucky. Joe Masseria
Christopher McDonald Harry Daugherty Seasons 1–3 Campaign manager to Warren G. Harding, and later his Attorney General. Harry M. Daugherty
Daniel Cox (Season 1); Ed Jewett (Season 2 on) Jess Smith Seasons 1–3 Aide to Harry Daugherty. Jess Smith
Arron Shiver Dean O'Banion Seasons 3–4 Irish-American mob boss in Chicago and rival of Johnny Torrio and Al Capone. Dean O'Banion
Stephen Root Gaston Bullock Means Seasons 3–4 Con artist, FBI agent, and "fixer" for bootleggers. Gaston Bullock Means
James Cromwell Andrew Mellon Seasons 3–4 Secretary of the Treasury who testifies at a government hearing that, if Prohibition is to be effective, more money needs to be spent. Andrew W. Mellon
Meg Chambers Steedle Billie Kent Season 3 A young Broadway actress who begins an affair with Nucky. Killed in an explosion meant for Nucky. Billie Dove[4]
Chris Caldovino Tonino Sandrelli Seasons 3-5 Right-hand man to Gyp Rosetti and Mafia lieutenant.
Brian Geraghty James "Jim" Tolliver Season 4 FBI agent under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover posing as a corrupt prohibition agent under the name Warren Knox in Atlantic City. Killed by Eli after trying to blackmail him.
Eric Ladin J. Edgar Hoover Season 4 Director of the Bureau of Investigation. J. Edgar Hoover
Domenick Lombardozzi Ralph Capone Seasons 4-5 Al Capone's brother. Ralph Capone
Morgan Spector Frank Capone Season 4 Al Capone's level-headed brother. Frank Capone
Margot Bingham Daughter Maitland Season 4-5 Singer and ward of Dr. Valentin Narcisse who begins an affair with Chalky White.
Giampiero Judica Salvatore Maranzano Season 5 Powerful New York Mafia boss at war with his right-hand man, Lucky Luciano. Salvatore Maranzano
John Ellison Conlee Louis Kaestner Season 5 The Commodore as a young man. Louis Kuehnle

Characters as performers[edit]

Actor Performer Episode Notes
Stephen DeRosa Eddie Cantor "Boardwalk Empire",

"Broadway Limited",
"A Return to Normalcy",
"A Dangerous Maid",
"You'd Be Surprised",

comedian and singer
Erin McGrath[5] Edith Day "Anastasia" "Alice Blue Gown" (from "Irene")
John Treacy Egan[6] Duncan O'Connor "Nights in Ballygran" "Carrickfergus"
A'Lisa Miles Mamie Smith "Home" "Crazy Blues"
Kathy Brier Sophie Tucker "Belle Femme" "Some of These Days"
Remy Auberjonois Hardeen "Paris Green" magician and escape artist (brother of Houdini)

Characters as athletes[edit]

Actor Athlete Episode Notes
Devin Harjes Jack Dempsey "What Does the Bee Do?"

"Peg of Old"

boxer (heavyweight champion, 1919–26)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Johnson, Nelson (2010). Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City. Plexus Publishing, Inc. ISBN 978-0-9666748-6-6. 
  2. ^ a b "Interview: 'Boardwalk Empire' creator Terence Winter". September 9, 2010. 
  3. ^ Moaba, Alex (2013-09-05). "'Boardwalk Empire': Jeffrey Wright On The Real-Life Racketeer Who Inspired His Season 4 Character (VIDEO)". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  4. ^ Billie Dove,
  5. ^ Venutolo, Anthony, 'Boardwalk Empire' episode 4, 'Anastasia': Nucky's birthday bash and back room deals, The Star-Ledger, October 11, 2010
  6. ^ Venutolo, Anthony, 'Boardwalk Empire' recap: Van Alden busts up Nucky's Celtic bash, The Star-Ledger, October 18, 2010