With four (and soon to be a fifth) video game, a movie and two books (the most recent: Hitman: Damnation by William Dietz is out now) devoted to him, the enigmatic clone assassin Agent 47 is arguably one of the most well-known assassins in contemporary pop culture. While the cold-blooded 47 is an entirely fictional creation, there have been, on occasion, real hitmen who attained a strange sort of fame. Here are five of them:
1. Richard “The Iceman” Kuklinksi:
Mafia contract killer Richard Kuklinski was notoriously bloodthirsty, even by the standards of La Cosa Nostra. He didn’t just kill for profit, he did it for fun, too. Kuklinski would murder people for the slightest offense, and sometimes for no reason at all. He once shot a stranger in the head with a crossbow simply to see if the weapon would be a good choice for a future hit. Other victims he killed with cyanide, guns and a variety of other tools of the trade. Kuklinski earned the nickman “The Iceman” for his technique of freezing his victims and thawing them out later to disguise the time and place of death. By the time he was arrested (he tried to buy cyanide from a federal agent), Kuklinski reckoned he had killed at least a hundred people. Kuklinski has been the subject of several documentaries, and two movies based on his “career” are in the works. Agent 47 could probably relate to this quote from Kuklinksi:
“By now you know what I liked most was the hunt, the challenge of what the thing was. The killing for me was secondary. I got no rise as such out of it… for the most part. But the figuring it out, the challenge — the stalking and doing it right, successfully — that excited me a lot. The greater the odds against me, the more juice I got out of it.” – The Iceman: Confessions of a Mafia Contract Killer, Philip Carlo.
2. Christopher Dale Flannery:
“Mr. Rent-a-Kill” was an abusive, murderous thug with a long criminal record featuring convictions for a variety of crimes, but none of them murder. Flannery was implicated in the murders of lawyers, policemen and rival gangsters alike, but always slipped free from the legal system’s shackles on one technicality or another. The criminal justice system never brought Flannery down for his crimes, but his fellow criminals did: he disappeared in 1985. An inquest into the matter concluded that he had been murdered. His body has never been found. Flannery has been the subject of plays, movies and books alike.
3. “Igor the Assassin”:
In 2006, the sickbed images of Russian Alexander Litveninko were the stuff of nightmares. The former KGB agent turned journalist and critic of the Putin government died a horrible death, the victim of polonium-210 poisoning. As he wasted away, Litveninko told the world that Putin was responsible. UK authorities accused Russian agent Andrei Lugovoi of poisoning Litveninko, but to little avail: Lugovoi escaped to Russia. Still, there are many people who believe that Lugovoi just served as a distraction for the real assassin: a KGB agent known only as “Igor the Assassin.” Nobody knows the mysterious killer’s real name, but somewhere out there, there’s a Russian killer with plenty of polonium and a license to kill.
4. Chuck Barris:
While he may be best known as the former host of The Gong Show and the creator of The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game, Chuck Barris also claims to have been a CIA assassin. A book about his experiences, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, was adapted as a movie in 2002 – it bombed. Are we sure about Barris and his story? Nope. He’s an entertainer, though, and if his tale has entertained a few of his fans, then that’s alright.
5. Francisco Miguel N. (“The Boy”)
Francisco (authorities haven’t released his full name), also known as “The Boy”, is a sixteen year-old Mexican boy who is accused of committing over 50 murders on behalf of the Los Mazatlecos drug gang. As of just a couple of months ago, The Boy remains under investigation.