The Associated Press’ Wayne Parry tracked down Ed Devlin, a gentleman in Margate, New Jersey who, as a young man took bets and ran numbers for Nucky Johnson, the real man who was the basis for HBO’s new series main character, Nucky Thompson (played by Steve Buscemi).
His high school yearbook lists his name as Edward “Nucky” Devlin _ a nickname he earned because everyone knew Devlin had the ear of the biggest man in town.
While Enoch “Nucky” Johnson was running things in Prohibition-era Atlantic City _ including booze, prostitutes and gambling dens _ a teenager named Ed Devlin was getting a taste of Johnson’s real-life “Boardwalk Empire” from the periphery.
Before he finished high school, Devlin had already learned how to take bets from people and deliver money _ on time _ to the bookies, how much northside prostitutes charged for an encounter and, most of all, the one rule in Atlantic City: never cross Nucky.
“In my world, he was a god,” said Devlin, now 89 years old. “Atlantic City was my kingdom, and he was the king.”
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