Hi, Martin Scorsese? Meet This '60s Teen Model-Turned-Gangster-Moll-Turned-Stunt Driver

I don't know if this holds true for anyone else, but one of the first sex scenes that really blew my head off as an impressionable, unbecoming child was Sonny Corleone (James Caan) at the wedding in The Godfather. So I'll cop to an ensuing weakness for Mafia moll stories of all kinds, from Goodfellas' Karen to Tony's cabal on The Sopranos to crazy, crazy Judith Exner, and even those hissing, spitting leather handbags women on Mob Wives, who don't have the same level of pathos or intelligence of the previous examples but do literally punch each other in the face so hard that they rupture blood vessels in each others' eyeballs, which is almost as good.

But even if you don't share my predilection, if you thought "Hey Girl" Gosling was cool in Drive, you obviously don't know about Georgia Durante, whose memoir The Company She Keeps is currently being considered for an HBO or film adaptation (David Chase!). In 1968, the 17-year-old Durante was the most-photographed teen in the country, a model known as "the Kodak girl," but her fresh-faced look hid a natural proclivity for hanging around wiseguys, even when she was making bank modeling for Kodak since the age of 12.

She was attracted to the mobsters and the violence, she would later acknowledge, because it was familiar. As was often the case of molls in those days, Durante had an unhappy home life; she was a virgin but had been raped by her elder brother back in Rochester, which was why she left for the city alone. She took a job in a mob nightclub for fun, and proved her mettle one night after driving a customer with a gunshot wound to the hospital on request. The Mafia adopted her, sort of. They called her "Georgie Girl" and employed her as the wheel girl for robberies and collections, even to deliver sealed letters to boss Carlo Gambino in Brooklyn. Nobody would pull over a girl that adorable.

She wound up being courted by and marrying gangster Joe Lamendoa, who eventually ended up abusing her, even putting a gun to her head multiple times. Eventually, things in the business went south for Lamendoa and he took Durante and their seven-year-old child on the lam to Southern California. The abuse plateaued, and Durante fled with her daughter, seven dollars in her pocket.

Hiding back in New York in a model friend's apartment, a down-and-out Durante noticed a lot of car commercials on TV, most of which simply slapped wigs on stunt drivers when women were called for, and realized she could parlay her talent into an above-board enterprise. And she did! She doubled for Cindy Crawford in a popular Super Bowl ad and, although having retired from the biz after injuries, now runs her own stunt driving company for both men and women.

Nice to know we don't all have that pesky women-driver problem.

Female stunt driver used to drive for the mob [Examiner]