Henry Hill, an infamous figure in the American mafia scene, was an associate of the Luchese organized-crime family. Hill’s life story is one of drama, danger and eventually redemption. Born to half-Irish/half-Sicilian parents in New York City in 1950s, he quickly joined one of New York’s five original Mafia families – Luchese Family (one of New York’s original five Mafia clans). During these formative years he formed relationships with its most powerful faction – Luchese. This association lasted until 1980.
What Drove Hill to Turn Informer?
By 1980, Hill’s life was at a crossroads. After an arrest on drug-trafficking charges, Hill faced not just a potential lengthy prison sentence, but also a very real threat of execution by his former mafia associates. It was in this perilous situation that Hill made the fateful decision to become a government witness. He would go on to testify in numerous trials, his accounts leading to the imprisonment of dozens of mafia members and associates.
How Has Pop Culture Depicted Hill’s Life?
Hill’s life in the mob, his decision to turn informant, and subsequent events fascinated Hollywood audiences – most famously with Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film “Goodfellas”. Ranked 92nd on the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 movies, this film had Ray Liotta portraying Henry Hill. The film was an adaptation of Nicholas Pileggi’s biography, “Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family”, released in 1985.
Did Hill Share His Own Version of His Life’s Tale?
Indeed, Henry Hill had a story to tell, and he did it through several books. One of the most notable was “The Wiseguy Cookbook” in 2002, co-authored with Priscilla Davis. More than just a cookbook, it’s a collection of recipes interwoven with memories and anecdotes. One such reminiscence revolved around the challenges Hill faced in finding authentic pecorino Siciliano cheese in the remote places he was often relocated to.
Why Was Hill Expelled from the Witness Protection Program?
The Witness Protection Program prioritizes anonymity, but for a loquacious individual like Hill, this proved to be a challenge. By 1987, Hill’s repeated indiscretions, including drug possession, led to his expulsion from the program. This garrulous nature was contrary to the program’s principle of maintaining a low profile, making Hill a unique case.
What Were Some of Hill’s Most Infamous Acts?
Hill was involved in numerous criminal activities during his time with the Luchese family, but one event stands out: the Lufthansa Heist of 1978. Alongside his associates, he successfully looted Kennedy International Airport’s Lufthansa cargo terminal – making away with an astounding $5 Million cash and almost $1 Million worth of jewels – in one of America’s greatest cash thefts ever attempted. This audacious theft quickly became one of America’s greatest cash thefts ever attempted.
What Were the Circumstances Surrounding Hill’s Demise?
After a life of high stakes and constant movement, Hill passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 69. In his later years, he lived openly in Topanga, California. However, his health had been declining due to heart disease and the ramifications of years of heavy smoking. He succumbed in a hospital, as shared by his fiancée, Lisa Caserta.
In conclusion, the life of Henry Hill was one of constant turmoil, filled with dangerous liaisons, daring heists, and dramatic turnarounds. His decision to turn informer and subsequent events have not only shaped the course of many lives but have also left an indelible mark on American pop culture. Whether through books or films, his tale remains an enduring testament to the complexities of life in the mafia.