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Willie Sutton

Willie Sutton

Why did Willie "The Actor" Sutton rob banks? As he himself put it:

"Because I enjoyed it. I loved it. I was more alive when I was inside a bank, robbing it, than at any other time in my life."

He never said, "That's where the money is."


Where the Money Was: The Memoirs of a Bank Robber, Willie Sutton with Edward Linn, Viking, (1976). Despite the (inevitable) title, Willie admits it was a reporter who came up with the famous line. If he had of thought of it, Willie said, he probably would have said it. But he didn't.

A surprisingly good book. Although ghost written, you do feel you're listening to Willie talk. Much of it is probably a close transcription of Willie's own words as it rings close to Willie's first book (also written with a ghost writer). You get the same feeling when reading Alvin Karpis's autobiographies (also both ghost written).

I, Willie Sutton Willie Sutton and Quentin Reynolds, Popular Library (1953). Willie's first book. Prompted in part because Willie was disturbed that kids looked on him as a hero. How could young people admire someone who had spent virtually all of his life in prison? He knew that despite the flamboyance of his style, in the end, his life had been a miserable failure.

"Willie Sutton, Banker's Friend", Time, October 26, 1970. A brief article on how Willie starred in a commercial for the Mastercard of Connecticut's New Britain Bank & Trust Company. At the time Willie had just been paroled after serving 17 years for a robbery which he said he didn't commit. Now he was living in Miami with his sister. For his half day's work, Willie got $1500