Julianna Farrait is well-known for being the wife of late former drug trafficker, Frank Lucas. The story of their life, love and criminal background inspired Ridley Scott to film the movie entitled “American Gangster” with Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe and Ruby Dee.

Early life and family

Julianna Farrait was born in 1941 in Puerto Rico, into the family of very wealthy people, as her mother and father were considered to be amomg the richest people of Puerto Rico. Julianna spent her childhood not knowing anything about any needs, enjoying a lavish lifestyle.

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During her high school years, she became the homecoming queen at the school proms. She matriculated from her local high school in Puerto Rico in 1959 – there is no information about any further education.

Personal life, late husband Frank Lucas

Julianna met Frank Lucas when she was in her early twenties, at a party of mutual friends held in Puerto Rico, and fell in love with each other after several meetings. The couple gave birth to three children – all in all Frank welcomed seven kids. Julianna gave birth to their two sons, Ray Lucas and Frank Lucas Jr., who is the actor in the role of Night Bird bouncer in “Night Bird” (2012).

Julianna also gave birth to their daughter, Francine Lucas Sinclair. When in 1977 Francine entered the witness protection program, she founded the organization called “Yellow Brick Road”, which provided information and support for the children of imprisoned parents.

Who was Frank Lucas?

Born on 9 September 1930, in La Grange, North Carolina USA, Frank Lucas was one of the richest and most influential drug traffickers in the world. Bumpy Johnson, another high-flying criminal who lived in Harlem, took Frank under his wing. After Johnson died, Frank took things into his own hands and started working on further schemes of drug trafficking.

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His main goal was to break the monopoly of the Italian mafia, and he succeeded. However, Frank was caught by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) in 1976, and sentenced to 70 years of imprisonment, but spent only five years in jail, being released in 1981. However, in 1984 he was grabbed by the police once again, and spent seven more years in jail. He was freed in 1991, and lived the rest of his life in Puerto Rico trying to live a ‘normal’ life. In his later years he was confined to a wheelchair, after a serious car accident in which his legs were broken. He died on 30 May 2019 in Cedar Grove, New Jersey from natural causes.

Julianna’s place in her husband criminal enterprise

Julianna was very active helping her husband to build his fortune. For her role in Frank’s schemes and her attempts to sell cocaine to an FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) informant, she was imprisoned twice, the latest in 2010. After her release, she initially lived separately from Frank, but later returned to Puerto Rico, and reunited with him. They lived together for more than 40 years in total.

Julianna’s daughter, Francine, on her being the child of drug traffic authorities

Francine shared private details of her life and childhood after the story of her family was widely reported in the media.

Francine Lucas

Giving an address at Temple University, Ambler Campus, she admitted that she had a loving father and mother, and the experience of witnessing their arrest and her being thrown on the floor by federal agents was very traumatizing. She also admitted that when her parents were not in the prison, she lived a dream life, having everything she could ever want, including luxurious clothes, and candies her father brought her – Francine even thought that her father made candies for living.

When left alone with both parents imprisoned, she was raised by her grandparents, but missed her parents very much.

She made up a program for children who were in a similar situation, to help them to overcome the difficulties they may face. ‘It was the end of my childhood’, Francine said of the time she lived with her grandparents, ‘I became a little adult, worrying all the time and dealing with the shame. I was very secretive and had a lot of pent-up anger. People don’t often think that little kids get depressed, but trust me, I was’.

Francine now works as a mortgage broker, and is married to Mark Sinclair, a computer database manager. The couple have two children, Julianna Celine and Jonah.

The American Gangster movie

The story of Julianna and Frank Lucas inspired Ridley Scott to make a movie about them, released in 2007. He invited Denzel Washington to play the role of Frank Lucas, with Russell Crowe as Richie Roberts, the attorney who lead the investigation and arrest of Frank. Frank was invited on set to provide specific details and to assess the plot, admitting that he was impressed by the work of Denzel Washington. Even though the movie was called ‘one percent of reality and ninety-nine percent of Hollywood’, it made society look at the story of Frank and Julianna from a different point of view.

The actress Rube Dee, who played Mahalee Lucas, the mother of Frank Lucas, won the prestigious Screen Actors Guild Award in the category “Best Supporting Actress”, and was also nominated for an Academy Award as the Best Supporting Actress, though the Oscar went to Tilda Swinton for her work in “Michael Clayton”. The movie itself won in the category “Best Thriller” at the Empire Awards in 2008.

It is also worth mentioning that Frank Lucas also appeared in the Netflix series “Drug Lords” in which he told his version of his story in one of the episodes of the series.

Appearance, clothing style

Julianna has short dark brown hair, now partly grey, and brown eyes. She is 5ft 4ins (1.64m) tall, weighs around 120lbs (55kgs), and her vital statistics are 35-27-36. Julianna has always enjoyed spending tons of money on fashionable clothes such as lavish fur coats, as well as on jewelry, accessories, etc. Julianna and Frank shook the media when they both appeared at one of the bouts of Muhammad Ali, Frank wearing a $125,000 chinchilla fur coat of floor-length, which Julianna presented to him right before the match. She also completed his look with a matching $40,000 hat.

Net worth and salary

Even though the Lucas family was rumored to have wealth of $30 billion at one point, by the end of his life Frank was reported to have just $500,000. Julianna is reputed to still have a net worth of over $1.5 million.

Author

Benjy is currently a reporter for BiographyPedia based in Adelaide, Australia. Prior to joining BiographyPedia in July 2019, he was a Bizarre TV reporter and theatre critic at TheSun. Benjy has also written for DailyMail and TMZ. Benjy studied journalism at Goldsmiths University of London, graduating in 2009. You can contact him at [email protected]

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