Henry Hill was the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” mobster. Henry Hill recently died at the age of 69, after a long battle with a serious illness. The nature of the sickness was not released to the public. He died in a hospital in Los Angeles, California. Hill’s girlfriend, Lisa, said that Hill had been sick for quite some time and that his heart had finally given out. Scorsese based one of his characters for the movie “Goodfellas” on Hill. In the movie “Goodfellas”, a crime family was seen making away with $5 million and jewelry that totaled $875,000. For the time, that was a record heist, and it was performed at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in 1978.
Hill was a former mobster that turned to informing for the FBI. Before turning as an informant, he was associated with the Lucchese crime family. This was the family that managed to pull off the robbery at the JFK International Airport. After Hill started informing to the FBI, he was placed in Witness Protection, but was later removed, due to the variety of crimes he committed while under the protection of the US Government.
Even after his eviction from the program, he remained in hiding for almost thirty years.
Hill’s life of crime and danger reached the public eye when a crime reporter published Hill’s life story in a book called “Wiseguy”, in 1986. The book was later the inspiration for “Goodfellas”, in which Ray Liotta played Hill. The movie was nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture.
Hill came out of hiding to guest appearances on “The Howard Stern Show”. He also marketed his own brand of spaghetti sauce, and made a successful venture into entrepreneurship by opening a restaurant he named Wiseguys.
Hill was also invited to appear on an AMC special that looked at “Goodfellas”, “The Godfather”, and other movies with a mob theme. Hill appeared on the show with other former mob family members.
AMC is currently looking into making a series, based on the “Goodfellas” movie.
Henry Hill was one of seven children, born to a Sicilian mother, Carmella, and father, Henry. He was the couple’s first son. He was born in 1943, on June 11, making his death one day after his 69 birthday. Hill grew up in New York.
Before his time in federal protection, Hill served ten years for extortion. During that time, he was incarcerated with the likes of Johnny Dio and Paul Vario and the John Gotti crew. Inside the United States Penitentiary, Hill learned to smuggle drugs into prison, which is how he supported his family during his incarceration.
It was after his incarceration that the Lucchese family pulled off the robbery. However, Hill did not turn informant until he was arrested in 1980 for narcotics trafficking. Hill was allowed to listen to a recording garnered from a wiretap, in which Burke, Hill’s boss was being told he was no good, and that he needed to get Hill “whacked”. Afraid for his life, Hill turned.