In his introduction to his novel Tough Guys Don’t Dance (1984) Mailer thanked Roger Donoghue [a former boxer who trained Marlon Brando for the movie, “On the Waterfront”] for telling him a story that resulted in a title for Mailer’s novel.
It came from a story that Donoghue told Mailer: Frank Costello, the Murder Inc. kingpin, and his beautiful girlfriend greet three champion boxers in the Stork Club. Costello demands that each, in turn, dance with the woman, and each nervously complies. The last Willy Pep, suggests that Mr. Costello dance.
The title is the punch line is the title of Mailer’s novel.
“Tough Guys Don’t Dance,” answered Costello.
So, the next time you’re in the Stork Club…