Everyone knows about the movie American Gangster which was released in 2007 and created havoc at the box office. The plot revolves around Frank Lucas, a notorious drug dealer in America, and his wife, Julianna Farrait. Denzel Washington plays the protagonist, while Lymari Nadal played his wife. The movie did good and made the audience curious about Frank Lucas and his wife, Julianna, the woman who once described herself and her husband as the Black Bonnie and Clyde.
The heroine kingpin was happy to share his rise and fall with the people. In fact, he published his autobiography in 2010 and was a paid consultant for the movie. Julianna, on the other hand, preferred staying largely in the shadows. Apparently, she played a crucial role in expanding her husband’s drug empire.
So, who is Julianna Farrait, and where is she nowadays? This article covers everything in detail.
Who is Julianna Farrait?
Also known as Julie Farrait, Julianna is the wife of the late gangster and drug dealer. Reportedly, she was born in 1941 in Puerto Rico.
Nobody knew Farrait before her relationship with Frank. She became a subject of interest in the media only after their marital relationship. Thus, information about her childhood and parents remains scarce.
When Did Frank and Julianna Marry?
So, how did the two meet?
Apparently, Frank and Julianna met on a plane while they were going to Puerto Rico, where Frank had come for vacation. They were traveling in first class when the kingpin noticed her walking down the aisle. They exchanged glances, and Frank instantly felt attracted to her. As they had a language barrier, it was initially difficult to communicate with each other, but Frank’s manager successfully took her New York address.
It seemed that the duo was meant to marry. After the first meeting, Frank and Julianna didn’t speak to each other for months until their paths crossed again in a club. This time, the duo chatted, came close to each other, and began dating.
As per reports, the duo tied the knot in 1967 in a private wedding ceremony at the justice of the peace in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Their close alliance referred to them as the black Bonnie and Clyde.
How many Children Did Frank and Julianna Have?
The couple had seven children together – three biological and four stepchildren. Their names are Francine Lucas-Sinclair, Frank Lucas Jr., Ray Lucas, Betty Lucas, Candace Lucas, Ruby Lucas, and Tony Walters.
A Coat That Led to Frank Lucas’s Downfall
By the 1960s and 70s, Frank Lucas successfully established his empire while his power was still growing each day. He had an ample amount of money to burn. Reportedly, he would shower his wife with many expensive gifts, and she would love her husband’s gesture.
In one of her early interviews, Julianna shared,
“I always remember the antique cream Mercedes that Frank bought for me after I had Francine. That ride was so gorgeous because the interior was pure leather and drove so smoothly.”
Frank was always known to be outspending the people surrounding him. In 1970, he was infuriated to show up at a Mohammad Ali fight in Atlanta and find other drug dealers wearing expensive mink coats.
He even shared this incident in his autobiography:
“There is no such thing as outtalking me, outhustling me, outthinking me, or outdressing me. I could not have people who made less money than me walking around thinking they ruled the world. I screamed it out to all who would listen: Ya’all think you gone outshine me? Bring that ass to New York City, and I will show every last one of y’all who the boss is.”
How Frank Was noticed in the Coat?
Julianna became quite sensitive about her husband’s insecurity and decided to offer a solution. She bought a chinchilla coat worth $125,000 and a matching hat worth $40,000 from a Jewish shop in Manhattan. Her doting husband proudly wore it to the fight. Little did he know he was attracting the wrong kind of attention!
Throughout the match, Frank was noticed by several detectives in the audience. They not even noticed his appearance but also saw that he was given a better seat than Frank Sinatra, another star guest at the fight.
Prosecutor Richie Roberts shared,
“Law enforcement knew of him. You don’t go around showing that kind of money when the people who are trying to arrest you are making in those days $25,000 a year, and you are showing a coat that’s like five years’ salary. It gets these guys a little angry so it was a bad mistake.”
“I often think back to that particular gift many times. I don’t believe it helped the police notice who he was, because, by then, they were already suspicious, but I do believe it brought attention from others – both positive and negative.”
The Bonnie To His Clyde
On the 28th of January, 1975, the New York Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration raided Frank and Julianna Lucas’ home in Teaneck, New Jersey. The police swarmed throughout the premises, making Julie panic. She threw several suitcases containing $584,000 out of the window.
The aftermath of the raid changed their life in entirety. Frank was taken under trial and sentenced to seventy years in prison. Julianna was sentenced to six months. While Frank began cooperating with the authorities and giving names, Julianna was forced to go into witness protection with Francine and one of Frank’s children.
In 1982, Frank got out of prison, earlier than the duration he was sentenced. When this happened, his wife played an even greater role in his life of crimes. A year later, Julianna took Francine to Las Vegas. On the surface, it appeared to be a mother-daughter trip. However, the reality was something else. It was actually a drug deal.
But soon, the tables turned, and the wife was arrested. A man with a gun walked straight into their hotel room and told them he was an FBI agent who had come to arrest Julianna. It was for the second time Frank and Julianna went back to prison. Frank was sentenced to seven years, while Julianna was given four and a half years of prison. Their daughter, Francine, was sent to live with relatives in Puerto Rico.
When the duo got out, they settled into a quiet, with some exceptions.
Some More Details about Julianna
- Julianna was arrested on the 20th of May, 2010, after she tried to sell 2 kilograms of cocaine at a hotel in her city. She was presented in court, where she didn’t initially utter a word but requested the judge to speak in Spanish. She was accused of conspiring to violate the narcotics law.
- During the investigation process, a previously recorded conversation was produced. A tape featuring Julianna telling an undercover informer about the cocaine she had in her possession was recorded. She was also seen mentioning another suspect having an additional 8 kilograms of cocaine in the same tape.
- Julianna Farrait was the homecoming queen from Puerto Rico. However, in the American Gangster movie, she was portrayed as a former Miss Puerto Rico. In further research, it was revealed that she never appeared on the Miss Puerto Rico winners list.
- In one of her interviews, she revealed she had always been attracted to danger. She admitted to valuing materialistic things and money in her life.
- After completing her 5-year-long sentence in 1975, Julianna decided to live separately from Lucas. However, the duo moved back together in Puerto Rico.
- Frank Lucas died of natural causes on the 30th of May, 2019, at a care facility in Cedar Grove, New Jersey. He is survived by his six children. Lucas lost his seventh child in 2017 and his wife in 2016.