Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The real Henry Hill

Henry Hill Jr. (June 11, 1943 – June 12, 2012) was an American mobster associated with the Lucchese crime family of New York City between 1955 and 1980. In 1980, Hill was arrested on drug charges and became an FBI informant. He testified against his former mafia associates, resulting in 50 convictions, including those of captain Paul Vario and James Burke. He had entered Witness Protection in 1980, but was removed in the early 1990s. Hill's life was documented in the book Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi which was adapted by Martin Scorsese into the film Goodfellas in 1990. Hill was portrayed by Ray Liotta.
William "Billy Batts" Bentvena was released from prison in 1970. Bentvena saw Tommy DeSimone and jokingly asked him if he still shined shoes. DeSimone leaned over to Hill and Burke and said "I'm gonna kill that fuck." Two weeks later DeSimone pistol-whipped Bentvena. DeSimone screamed, "Shine these fucking shoes!"
The Lufthansa heist was a robbery at John F. Kennedy International Airport on December 11, 1978. $5.8m was stolen, making it the largest cash robbery on American soil at the time. Hill did not directly take part in the heist. Jimmy Burke was given 12 years in prison for the Boston College point shaving scandal and later sentenced to life for murder. Burke died of cancer in prison. Paul Vario died of respiratory failure on November 22, 1988, at age 73 also while in jail.Henry Hill died of heart disease on June 12, 2012, a day after his 69th birthday.