The proof that their friendship endured until Judge
Younger’s untimely death is found in a December
1985 letter which is in response to a plea for help
from Sonny to his friend, Irving Younger. True to
his Off Off Broadway life style Sonny had at this
point changed his name to 'Ntoni Bastanio. Sonny
"'Ntoni" was thrown in jail again (to be detailed
later). He wanted help from Judge Younger and
needed to see him, if possible. Sonny wrote a
letter to Younger while in the North Facility on
Rikers Island. On December 10, 1985, Judge
Younger replied with a very touching letter to his
friend. He apologized and explained that he was a
professor at the University of Minnesota Law
School and couldn’t break away from his
commitments to travel to New York City and visit
with Sonny. Nevertheless, he did include in his
letter his office and home number should Sonny
want to contact him. (The telephone numbers have
been redacted). To me this was solid evidence of
the depth of their friendship. What judge would
give his home phone number to an inmate in
prison? It is a great pity that Younger was never
able to finish his autobiography with the promised
chapter about Sonny.
To read more see the chapters Back In Business
and Off Off Broadway in the book.
|Did Professor Irving Younger know family members?
The relationship started with Sebastiano "Sonny" Della Universita defending himself in a trial in which a fairly
new Assistant United States Attorney Iriving Younger was the prosecuting attorney. Over the years the
friendship grew, and Younger became a Judge.
Think about it! What New York judge would perform a wedding ceremony for a known ex-gangster in his private
quarters if he didn’t have a very special relationship with the groom? He probably had been called upon to
perform similar wedding ceremonies for socialites and high-society businessmen with regularity, but Good-
Looking Sonny and his young fiancée? No way! There was a very special connection between the two of them.
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