Owen Sound Library – Being Oscar

There’s no getting around it – Las Vegas was by and large built by the mob.

Without the mob, nothing the world’s gambling capital is known for would exist today.

As with all businesses – whether they’re legit or illicit – the need for legal representation does invariably come up.

Oscar Goodman didn’t set out to become a mob lawyer.

It all kind of fell into his lap after he represented his first mobster client and he exceeded expectations in spades.

From that point on, his rep as a tough fighter in the courtroom made the rounds of Sin City’s wiseguys and before long, Goodman was getting countless envelopes stuffed with cash.

There wasn’t anything nefarious about those cash payments – most mobsters simply kept very little money in the bank.

It wasn’t long before Goodman was representing some of the biggest names in the Vegas underworld including Benny Binion and Tony “the ant” Spilotro.

While you might not be familiar with Tony Spilotro, you’re very likely familiar with the character that was based on him – Nicky Santoro in Martin Scorcese’s Casino.

While filming Casino on location in Vegas, Goodman secured a role in the movie and found it remarkable how Joe Pesci managed to nail Tony Spilotro’s look and mannerisms right down to his gait and the crook in his arm.


After appearing in Casino, Oscar admitted to becoming hooked on acting and almost immediately after being sworn in as mayor on June 28th, 1999, he went straight to the city permit department and told them that moving forward, any studio seeking shooting permits in the city would have to feature him in their movies as a condition of the permit.

This new rule initially led to Oscar having a role in Rush Hour 2, with one problem – his scene ended up on the cutting room floor. After that incident, Oscar then put in a stipulation as part of the permit that his scenes could not be cut without legal repercussions.


Goodman’s turn as the mayor of Las Vegas was almost as colorful as his career as a mob lawyer.

He had run-ins with two past U.S. presidents, having had a public feud with Barack Obama.

There was also an instance in which Goodman and his wife had a private meeting with Donald Trump. Upon leaving the meeting, Goodman’s wife, Carolyn, said she couldn’t remember the last time she was in a room with two men with such enormous egos.


Today, Oscar runs a steakhouse and at the time of this video, his wife Carolyn is the active mayor of Las Vegas.

You can find Being Oscar at the Owen Sound library at 979.503309.

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