Henry Hill Jr. was an American mobster who was associated with the Lucchese crime family of New York City from 1955 until 1980, when he was arrested on narcotics charges and became an FBI informant.
He testified against his former Mafia associates, resulting in 50 convictions, including those of caporegime (captain) Paul Vario and fellow associate James Burke on multiple charges.
Hill was born on June 11, 1943, in the Manhattan borough of New York City to Henry Hill Sr., an Irish-American electrician, and Carmela Costa, an Italian immigrant of Sicilian descent.
He began to get involved in arson, assault, and credit card fraud, and after returning from a short military stint in the early 1960s, Hill returned to a life of crime.
Although not related by blood, Hill worked his way up in the Lucchese crime family from a young age.
Among Hill’s closest compatriots was fellow Lucchese family associate and friend of Paul Vario, James Burke.
After years of truck hijacking, arson, and other crimes, Hill and Burke played major roles in orchestrating the Lufthansa heist in 1978.
It was the drugs that brought Hill’s downfall when he was arrested on trafficking charges in April 1980.
Initially, he wouldn’t fold to police interrogators, but amid growing suspicions that some of his own associates were planning to kill him in fear that he might put them in legal trouble, Hill began to talk.
Hill, his wife, and their two children entered the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program in 1980.
Two years later, after moving his family to Nebraska, and then Kentucky, Hill was thrown out of the program for blowing his cover.
In his later years, Hill worked to come to terms with his past, taking classes to be certified as a drug and alcohol counselor.
Despite his efforts at redemption, many still viewed Hill as a rat and addict, even in his old age.
How did Henry Hill die?
Hill died of complications related to heart disease in a Los Angeles hospital on June 12, 2012, after a long battle with his illness, a day after his 69th birthday.
His girlfriend for the last six years of his life, Lisa Caserta, said, ‘He had been sick for a long time… his heart gave out’.
Hill had open-heart surgery the previous year and died of complications of heart problems related to smoking.
What is Henry Hill famous for?
Hill was an American mobster who was associated with the Lucchese crime family of New York City from 1955 until 1980, when he was arrested on narcotics charges and became an FBI informant.
He is famous for his role as an FBI informant, which resulted in 50 convictions, including those of caporegime (captain) Paul Vario and fellow associate James Burke on multiple charges:
Hill’s life story was the inspiration for the 1990 Martin Scorsese film, Goodfellas, in which he was portrayed by Ray Liotta.