Who was the character Nucky Thompson based on?


Quick Answer

The character of Enoch Malachi "Nucky" Thompson from the HBO TV series "Boardwalk Empire" is based on former Atlantic City political boss and racketeer Enoch Lewis "Nucky" Johnson. He was said to have controlled Atlantic City and Atlantic County politically from the 1910s through 1941.

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Full Answer

Enoch L. Johnson was born January 20, 1883, and died December 9, 1968. As in the series, he also had two wives, with the first one dying from tuberculosis. Other similarities to the character include his living in the Atlantic City Ritz-Carlton, wearing a red carnation on his lapel, and having a younger brother.

Changes made to the fictional character of Nucky Thompson include the adoption of his second wife's children, the murders he commits, and his direct involvement in bootlegging. Johnson had no children and was never directly involved in murder. While he did earn profits from alcohol vending in Atlantic City, he was never involved in its production.

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