Saturday, 20 July 2013

Eddie "Popeye" Egan & Sonny Grosso

These two legendary New York cops are famous for breaking up the so-called "French Connection" that actually happened way back in 1961.  The drug problem was certainly nowhere near as entrenched as it became in the late 60`s and into the seventies.  The seizure was of 112 lbs of heroin which was a record amount at the time.  The subsequent film of it was extremely fictionalised because Egan, Grosso and their colleagues spent much of their time on surveillance.

    Edward Walter Egan was born in New York on the 3rd January 1930 and his ambition was to be a cop, and not only did he become one of "New York`s Finest" but he also achieved a great reputation.  The "French Connection" made him and Grosso and as such, in later years, they appeared in films whilst still as cops.  Egan played Gene Hackman`s supervisor in the film.  Hackman went out on patrol with Egan and observed how he worked amongst the addicts.  He uses one of Egans` methods at the start of the film.  "Picking your toes and playing kipsy" was something he said to unsettle addicts and villains.

    A film about him was brought out in 1973 entitled "Badge 373" starring Robert Duvall.  He retired from the NYPD and went into films and TV, before retiring to Florida in 1994. A year later he succumbed to cancer.  He is survived by his four children, two half-sisters and his fiancee.

    Salvatore "Sonny" Grosso was born in Dusseldorf, around 1932/33, and he became a detective in the NYPD, partnered with Egan.  Roy Scheiders` character "Buddy Russo" was based on Grosso.  Scheider did another tough cop film called "The Seven-ups" which was based on files Grosso was said to have come across in the NYPD archives, about a small unit dedicated to tackling certain villains.  After retiring from the force, he became a big time film and TV producer with numerous credits to his name.