Henry Hill dies at 69
Henry Hill, the “real-life” character played by Ray Leota in the 1990’s movie Goodfellas, died Tuesday in an L.A. hospital after experiencing complications from heart surgery he underwent last year.
Hill was best known for his story as portrayed in Martin Scorsese’s movie Goodfellas which was created from the book “Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family” which Hill chronicled to author Nicholas Pileggi. Hill worked closely with Scorsese on the film and is quoted as saying that they got it 99.9% accurate in the film.
Hill grew up in New York, idolizing the mafia members and aspiring to become one himself. And he did just that, calling himself “the money man” working closely with “Jimmy the Gent” under then mob boss Paul Vario in the Lucchese family. Hill participated in the 1978 heist of the Lufthansa air cargo terminal at the John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, the largest single cash robbery in United States history, taking over $5.8 million. He is also well known for fixing basketball games played by Boston College during the 1978-79 seasons.
Hill was finally arrested in 1980 when agents infiltrated a narcotics ring that he was running. In a turn of events, Hill agreed to testify for the prosecution which eventually led to over 50 mob members being convicted of various crimes, including “Jimmy the Gent” and Boss Paul Vario.
Testifying put Hill’s life at risk so he and his wife along with their children were placed in witness protection, moving around to various places including Omaha and Kentucky. Hill eventually divorced his wife and died living with his longtime girlfriend Lisa Caserta. According to the Washington Post, a complete list of survivors could not be determined.
Hill ran a small website where he sold autograph memorabilia from the Goodfellas movie such as posters and coffee mugs, www.goodfellahenry.com. He also allowed visitors to publically post comments and feedback that were not usually very nice and also kept a blog that once included his Top 10 ways to dispose of a body. Hill’s list was a popular part of his site, where according to the LA Times, No. 3: YANKEE CLIPPER: "Baseball-batting the person to death, while taunting." His list also consisted of his number one, and favorite: bury at least 4 feet under, cover the body with lime to quickly dissolve the remains and hide the stench.
Henry Hill certainly wasn’t on anyone’s favorite person list, but he and his girlfriend were both regulars on the popular Howard Stern radio show and many people will miss hearing his stories from his glory days.