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You have probably heard about gangster John Dillinger’s famous shooting at the hands of the FBI outside a movie theater, but his death was only the beginning—for one part of his anatomy at least. This is when America’s biggest outlaw also became known as the most its most well-endowed man.

Public Enemy No. 1

During the Great Depression, Dillinger ran a group of bank robbers robbed 24 banks and 4 police stations in their time. He quickly earned a bad-boy reputation through a series of daring robberies and his bombastic personality. He loved the spotlight, styling himself as a modern-day Robin Hood. The newspapers ate it up, running salacious stories of his misdeeds and bravado character.

wanted-john-dillingerIt all caught up to him at the Biograph Theater in Chicago. Dillinger was set up by Ana Cumpănaș, a madam at an Indiana brothel. The Romanian immigrant contacted the FBI in the hopes of staying in the country in exchange for the information. The FBI jumped on the chance to catch the elusive criminal, although they did not follow up on their promises to Cumpănaș. 

Dillinger attended a movie the following evening with Cumpănaș and another prostitute, Polly Hamilton. Cumpănaș had stated she would wear an orange dress so the Agents would be able to spot her. J. Edgar Hoover gave the Feds the license to shoot if Dillinger looked to be resisting in any way. In the famous scene that followed, Dillinger walked out of the theater, with two women on his arms, and spotted the Agents attempting to arrest him. He reached into his pocket for his gun, determined to shoot it out. He was shot four times and was declared dead by the time he reached the hospital.

Public Penis No. 1

This is where things get interesting—for his penis, at least. His mythology had already been set in the public’s imagination, and the thrilling tale of how he went out only made it stronger. Reportedly, people were even dipping their handkerchiefs in his blood while he was still laying on the sidewalk. Quite a souvenir!

13906889_1His body was put on display for public viewing. Word that he died in the company of two women set fire to the public’s curiosity. Tales of ‘the woman in the red dress’ only added to the fervor. He had become a sex symbol—post-humously, of course. It was said, “lived as he died, with a smile on his face and a woman on each arm.”

Over 15,000 people came out to get a gander at the infamous ladies’ man, including a set of bikini-clad women. They had him propped up for viewing and covered by a sheet. At some point, rigor mortis set in and gave the impression that Dillinger was really enjoying the afterlife.


Although it was just his hand, the saga of John Dillinger’s penis took America by storm. The image was reproduced in countless newspapers, including a few that edited out the scandalous bulge.

As his penis entered into urban legend, you can be sure that every adolescent and bored housewife in the nation knew what had been hidden in Dillinger’s pants. Rumor had it that his giant erection took away so much blood from his brain, Dillinger would lose consciousness when aroused. We’re not sure how that equals him being a good ladies man, but those were different times. It was said to be somewhere between 16 and 23 inches, and that he would often use his penis as a weapon to bash adversaries over the head with. No wonder he was a gangster. He was always packing!

dillDillinger had become bigger in death than in life. It was said that his member was kept preserved in a jar of formaldehyde and kept on the desk of J. Edgar Hoover, and that it was finally shipped to the Smithsonian, where a penis such as his must be kept for posterity. Although the FBI and Smithsonian both deny the existence of Dillinger’s penis jar, we like to think it’s still out there somewhere, waiting for its day to rise again.