What kind of name is "Waingro?" Is it real?

Any fan of the movie Heat will recognize the name of the villainous Waingro. (I don’t think he even had a first name.) What I want to know is - is this a real name? Waingro? I’ve wondered this for some time - whether it has any basis in reality, or is just something made up out of whole cloth to sound weird and intimidating, like “Anton Chigurh”.

Searching Google for “waingro -heat” (i.e. eliminating all results relating to the film) just give me the usernames of people on forums and things like that, which I am assuming were inspired by the character from Heat. I can’t find any actual people with the surname Waingro.

Does anyone know? If it was, indeed, a real name, I can’t even begin to guess what ethnicity it would be.

I believe he was descended from Trailer Trash. :wink:

Well, even trailer trash had to originate from somewhere back in Whiteyland. Some further searching reveals that “Waingrove” is a real, presumably English name. I’m going to assume that Waingro is just a corruption of that.

I found at least one:

Brian Douglas Waingro

IIRC, in the director’s commentary Mann says that his character is based on a real thief with that name. I’ll try to find out more.

“Kevin Gage’s Waingro character is based on a real Chicago criminal named Waingro who ratted out some influential Chicago criminals. According to Michael Mann, Waingro went missing; his body was found in northern Mexico, where it had been nailed to the wall of a shed.”

From here.


The name was also given to another crook in another Michael Man flick, L. A. Takedown, in 1989, played by Xander Berkeley. See imdb

That movie was just the “beta” version of Heat. Once Mann was successful enough to make the movie again, he did, with a better cast and production values.

Everybody knows that “Wayne” is the most evil name known to man. It is perhaps an alteration of that.

‘Waingro’ is apparently a variant of the surname ‘Waingrow.’ I did a quick look and found 75 people with that surname in the country (peoplefinders.com). It looks as thought it might have come from the UK, so it might have originally been something like “Westminstergreshamshirerow” but pronounced as “Waingro.”

If we’re talking surname etymology, Wain—, as in Wainwright, usually denotes wagons or wagon wheels.