Mobster Frank Santos Cotroni was known in mob circles as Le Gros, French for the Big Guy, and Il Cice, Italian for the tender, life-giving core at the center of a hard nut. The youngest of six Cotroni children, the Montreal-born mobster was certainly a hard nut.
He served more than half his adult life in prison, some of it for ordering five underworld killings of mob rivals in the 1980s, including one at the Seaway Hotel on Toronto's waterfront.
The Cotroni boys grew up in a gritty downtown Montreal neighborhood with a flourishing bootlegging trade, gaming houses and brothels.
He published a cookbook that combined his favorite recipes and what his publisher called his culinary memories. Moviegoers saw an actor playing Cotroni grilling a steak in the 1990 film Goodfellas, based on time he spent in the federal penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pa., with mobster Henry Hill.