Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Former mobster Henry Hill from Goodfellas fame dead

The original Good Fella, Henry Hill
Mob rat Henry Hill — who was immortalized in the movie “Goodfellas” and booted from the witness protection program — died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a long illness, TMZ reported. He was 69.
“His heart gave out,” his girlfriend told the gossip site.
Hill earned his place in gangland history by participating in the 1978 Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport, which netted a then-record $5 million. He became one of the most notorious Mafia canaries by turning FBI informant after being busted for pushing drugs. His turncoat testimony helped the feds nab dozens of wiseguys.
Hill spent several years in witness protection with his wife and kids, but was tossed out in the early 1990s because he couldn’t stay out of trouble.
In later years, he was a guest on Howard Stern’s radio show, opened a restaurant called Wiseguys, hosted mob-movie marathons, and hawked his own line of marinara sauce. In a 2008 interview, the one-time Lucchese crime family associate claimed to be reformed, telling the BBC, “I’m doing the right thing now.”
Hill was born in Brownsville, Brooklyn, to an Irish father and Italian mother. He fell in with local mobsters as a teen and was inducted into capo Paul Vario’s crew.
Martin Scorsese’s 1990 movie “Goodfellas,” starring Ray Liotta as Hill, chronicled his blood-spattered rise in the underworld, the audacious airport ripoff, his descent into the world of drugs and his eventual arrest.
“The government said a couple of hundred million dollars went through my hands. But I just blew it on slow horses, women, drugs and rock ’n’ roll,” he told a London newspaper on the 20th anniversary of the release of “Goodfellas.”
“We partied five, six nights a week and I was making $15,000 to $40,000 a week. That was just my end. But I was a degenerate gambler. I could lose $40,000 in a week.”
He said he never killed anyone and turned snitch only because he believed he was going to be whacked.
Even after he got a new identity — which he protected by wearing a fake beard — Hill couldn’t leave his life of crime behind. By 1987, he had been busted on drug charges again.
In 2005, he served six months for possession of methamphetamines while working as a chef in Nebraska. By then, most of the old buddies he had betrayed were dead, but he said he still felt like a marked man.
“There’s always that chance that some young buck wants to make a name for themselves,” he told a reporter in 2010. “I never thought I’d reach this wonderful age. I’m just grateful for being alive.”


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