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Richard Kuklinski (The Iceman) Biography

Richard Leonard Kuklinski (April 11, 1935 - March 5, 2006), also known as The Ice Man because he froze some of his victims. Born to father Stanley Kuklinsky and mother Anna Kuklinsky in Jersey City, New Jersey, to a strictly Catholic family. He was the older brother of Joseph Kuklinski, also a convicted murderer. I have first heard of Kuklisnki on an HBO program in which he was interviewed. Some of the quotes below are from that program.

Few months later, I accidentally came across a book titled "The Ice Man" by Philip Carlo which is a thorough examination of Kuklinski's life. I decided to browse through the book and found myself enticed by the writing style. The book allowed me to gain a deeper insight into the life of Kuklinski and his violent crimes. Suspiciously, Richard appears to be calm and quiet in his interviews where he explains, in shocking detail, how he murdered his victims.

Richard is known to have been working for several Italian-American crime families and according to him, have murdered over 200 people in his career over a fourty-three-year period. Sometimes, Richard had to travel to various regions of the world such as Brazil, Africa and Europe on a "business trip." In his interviews Richard is a quiet, sincere and humble personality, never bragging about his actions and seemingly only shaken by talking about regretting his murders and the secret he held away from his family for so many years.

Parents, criminal activity and residence

Richard Kulinksi's mother, Anna was born in Dublin. Anna's parents emigrated to Jersey City in 1904. She worked in a meat-packing facility. His farther, Stanley had emigrated from Warsaw, Poland. He married Anna in July 1925. Stanley Kuklinski was a trainboard rail transport worker, working as an assistant conductor. Rail tracks ran just about everywhere in Jersey City, carrying heavy black locomotives. At the time, Jersey City was in large part populated by Polish immigrants. It was an attractive spot for the Polish people to live because of a number of Polish Catholic churches, the demand for physical labor work and the convenience of living within close proximity to Manhattan, New York City - the center of the world.

Richard's violent personage and the "take no prisoners" attitude comes from his relationship as a child with his parents. Hi parents were extremely abusive and more than often Richard would be punished, physically and psychologically abused for no apparent reason. Richard would murder people to do his job as a hitman. However, in his early 20s, when he became dangerously addicted to alcohol his life was sliding down the spiral. During that time Richard would kill people for reasons such as someone giving him a wrong look out on the street. He would stalk and murder his victims with different weapons each time, to confuse the investigators. He once used a bar from a clothes line to severely beat six young men from a street gang that accosted him. Richard eventually met an 18 year old Italian girl, Barbara whom he eventually married, although, because he wasn't Italian himself he wasn't very favored by Barbara's family.

For his residence, Richard preferred the quiet of the nearby woods, also a place to hide bodies. During an interview, Richard once explained he doesn't particularly enjoy the killing, but it is the stalk, the planning and the hunt that he enjoys much more. He was a contract killer by profession and disposing of the bodies was essential to not being caught by the investigation authorities. The police knew about his connections to the Mafia but could never trace any evidence because Richard was a clever man. On one occasion he dumped a body into a well where it remained for a long period of time until it froze. This was done intentionally to mislead the investigators as to the time of when the murder actually took place. This event gave Richard the nickname The Ice Man.

Richard's first murder was committed at the age of 14 on the streets. Although it was an unintentional murder, after a while of feeling sour, Richard found enjoyment in committing crimes and actually killing people. And sure enough it was paying off. On the other hand, it was a way to get paid for doing work for other people as well as release anger and years of abuse onto other living things, whether they were people or animals such as rats in the woods.

Kuklinksi preferred to kill his victims on the first blow, carefully carrying out his plans as he stalked and murdered his target. Eventually his experience and efficiency murdering people have gained him a reputation among numerous Mafia organizations for which he would start to work. Richard Kuklinski was Sammy the Bull Gravano's partner in the killing of Paul Castellano at Sparks Steakhouse. John Gotti hired him to torture and kill the neighbor who accidentally ran over his child. For an additional price, Kuklinski would make his victims suffer; he conducted this sadistic business with coldhearted intensity and shocking efficiency, never disappointing his customers. By his own estimate, he killed over two hundred men, taking enormous pride in his variety and ferocity of technique. He says that he feels no remorse for murdering people.

The story of Richard Kuklinski's murders ends a little later than desired. After hundreds of men murdered, in 1986 an investigation by the task force of state took place, inspecting every bit of evidence available with the possible relation to Richard Kuklinski. Because Richard's technique was different each time he attacked his victims, it was difficult to put the pieces of puzzle together, the murders were just too diverse in their nature.

An undercover agent named Dominick Polifrone was put in place to gather additional evidence leading to a warrant of arrest. Dmonick told Kuklinski that he was also a hitman working for the Mafia in New York City. He then recorded Kuklisnki talk about his murders and offered to perform a hit for him. The investigators realized that Kuklinski might have intentions killing the agent due to Dominick's openness about his own work. Richard Kuklinski was finally arrested on December 17, 1986 by the task force.

Kuklinski's trial was televised and he was charged with at least five murders. He confessed to all of the murders, admitting that it was a part of his job. This came as a complete disbelief to his family; wife, children and relatives. Richard Kuklisnki was sentenced to two lifetimes in prison and was the first to be eligible for parole at the age of one-hundred and eleven.


  • "My husband is a good man, a kind man - a great father. All my children's friends are always saying they wish they had a dad like my husband - like Richard." - Mrs. Barbara Kuklinski on the day Richard was arrested.
  • "Richard is both fascinating and as frightening as your worst nightmare. He represents the worst of who we are - yet, he is absolutely fascinating to listen to." - Sheila Nevins, HBO producer.
  • "This is the devil - No question about it. This is the devil!" - Dominick Polifrone, undercover AFT operative.
  • "He's responsible for over two hundred murders - I mean personally responsible." - Gaby Monet, HBO producer.
  • "He killed with huns, poison, bats, knives, strangulation, his fists, ice picks, screwdrivers, hand grenades, and even fire. We've never seen anything like him. Truth is, we've never even heard of anything like him." - Bob Carroll, New Jersey deputy attorney general.
  • "Even now, I mean so many years later, my stomach gets all tense and my hands tremble when I think about him. But I love my dad. I love him a lot! None of it was his fault... My father married the wrong woman." - Merrick Kulinski.
  • "When he told me he loved me, which he often did, I'd say 'Me too.' That's it... just 'Me too.'" - Barbara Kuklinski.
  • "My father terrorized us. We never knew when or where he'd explode. We tried to hide it from my brother because he would have tried to do something, protect us, you know, protect my mother, and my farther would've killed him, I'm sure. One time this woman with kids in her car cut him off and he got out of the car at a light and tore the woman's door right off her car." - Chris Kuklinski, Richard's daugther.
  • "They thought I didn't know what he was doing, but I saw all the broken furniture and I knew my father did it. I saw my mother's black eyes. I kept an ax under my bed and a machete just next to the bed because of him." - Dwayne Kuklinski, Richard's son.
  • "I'd never hurt a woman or a child. It's just not in me." - Richard Kuklinski.
  • "He's very crafty and cunning, like osme kind of jungle predator that nobody ever sees until it's too late. We knew about him - I knew about him, was tracking him for years, but could never pin anything on him." - Detective Pat Kane, New Jersey State Police.
  • "My mother was cancer. She slowly destroyed everything around her. She produced two killers; me and my brother Joe." - Richard Kuklinski.
  • "There are two Richards, and I never knew who would be walking in the door. He could be generous to a fault, or the meanest man on earth." - Barbara Kiklinski.
  • "We called him 'the Ice Man' because he froze some of his victims, kept them in an icebox he had for a while, then put them out so we could not tell when the murder actually took place, you see." - Paul Smith, new Jersey Organized Crime and Racketeering Bureau investigator.


To learn more about Richard Kuklisnki, you may continue your research with the book called "The Ice Man", by Philip Carlo, based on over 240 hours of in-prison interviews with Richard at Trenton State Prison.

The quotes above have been taken from the book to give a better insight into the life of Richard Kuklinski to people who are doing research or writing biographies for their school papers.

The book itself is a thorough biography of Richard Kuklinski based on the interviews with Richard as well as the people who knew him and the people whom he lived with.

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