Atlanta 6/14/2012 12:59:54 AM
News / People

Goodfellas Inspiration Henry Hill Dies At 69

Henry Hill, the real life mobster who was portrayed by Ray Liotta in the 1990 hit film “Goodfellas,” has died. Hill’s longtime girlfriend Lisa Caserta says he died Tuesday in a Los Angeles hospital. The 69-year-old had been battling an undisclosed illness and recently suffered heart problems.

“He had a heart attack around the 27th of May, and he went into the hospital and it was really touch-and-go for a long time,” Caserta said.

Hill was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1943. He began working with the Lucchese crime family at age 12 and was arrested for the first time at 16. Hill participated in the Air France robbery of 1967 and the Lufthansa Heist in 1978. He became an FBI informant in 1980 after a drug trafficking arrest and his testimony against mafia members led to 50 convictions. Hill’s cooperation allowed him to avoid prison. He entered the Witness Protection Program in 1980 with his wife Karen and their two children. Hill was booted from the program in the early 90s because of various arrests. He struggled with drug and alcohol problems in later years.

Hill’s time with the mafia was highlighted in the 1986 book "Wiseguy" written by Nicholas Pileggi. The book was the basis for "Goodfellas."


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