Johnny Fratto, a Howard Stern Show regular, businessman, and self-described “mafia guru,” has died. He was 61-years-old.
Fratto, who was diagnosed with lung cancer three months ago, succumbed to the disease early Thursday morning. Johnny was in the hospital surrounded by family when he passed away peacefully, TMZ reported.
Johnny Fratto was born in 1954 to father Louis Fratto, a racketeer and organized crime figure in Chicago, Illinois, and Des Moines, Iowa, beginning in the 1930s and lasting until his death in 1967. In 1939, Louis became the mob boss of Iowa and made his headquarters in Des Moines. While in Chicago, he often worked with infamous crime boss Al Capone, and once he moved his headquarters to Des Moines, Fratto became the Iowa distributor of “Canadian Ace Beer” — a Capone family business.
Johnny Fratto — whose brother, Frank, died in the same plane crash that killed Rocky Marciano in 1969 — became known as the “mafia prince,” having grown up around organized crime. In later years, he would describe himself as the “Paris Hilton of the mafia.”
“I haven’t done anything, yet somehow I seem to be the guy that’s always in the light.”
Though Johnny sometimes hinted that he had his own mob connections and called himself a “mafia guru” on social media, his wife, Jowanka, denied the claims.
“[H]is father was a mobster. Johnny was not,” she explained.
In 2012, Fratto wrote a book about his life growing up as a mafia prince in the Midwest, Would You Read This Book if I Threatened to Kill You? The book was published by Harper Collins and was co-written by Matthew Randazzo, a well-known American true crime writer.
For many years, Johnny Fratto was a regular caller on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show. It was on Stern’s show that Fratto met and befriended other Howard Stern regular Eric the Actor (Eric Shaun Lynch), the three-foot ball of anger who frequently called into the show to yell at Stern and other staffers. Fratto soon became Lynch’s manager, getting him bit parts in television series’ such as Fringe, In Plain Sight, and American Dreams. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Eric Lynch passed away in September of 2014, and Fratto was the one to break the news on Twitter.
Johnny Fratto’s regular guest spot on the Howard Stern Show wasn’t his only gig, however. According to Heavy.com, among other businesses, Fratto was also the owner of custom motorcycle shop Beverly Hills Choppers, where Johnny counted numerous celebrities, including Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie, Nikky Hilton, Adrianne Curry, and Nicole Eggert, among his friends and clientele. Paris owns a custom $250,000 Beverly Hills Chopper motorcycle and was once photographed on the red carpet sitting astride one of Fratto’s creations.
According to Johnny Fratto, however, his Beverly Hills Choppers can’t be compared to the likes of other companies with similar names, such as Orange County Choppers.
“They are building motorcycles, I am building scooters — in no way shape or form do I belong in a category with them. You can compare my product to a Vespa on steroids.”
Despite everything else he did, though, Fratto admitted in a 2009 interview with Shabooty that his one true passion (and main source of adrenaline) was calling into the Howard Stern show.
“Something really challenging for me… weird thing as a caller, when you’re dialing that number, you’re gonna say something and they’re gonna put you through to Howard — there’s an element I can’t explain to you. It’s like your first kiss with a girl – either gonna go along with it, or gonna get shut down. It’s adrenaline – I love it.”
Aside from the lifelong friends he made as a regular on Howard Stern’s show, Johnny Fratto leaves behind his wife, Jowanka, and his children, sons Willie, Joey, and Johnny Jr., as well as daughters Alexis and Angela.
[Image via Facebook/Jowanka Fratto]