Henry Hill - Family, Death & Goodfellas

Henry Hill was a former associate of the Lucchese crime family who turned state’s evidence and provided the basis for the film “Goodfellas” directed by Martin Scorsese.

Who Was Henry Hill?

On June 11, 1943, Henry Hill was born in the borough of Brooklyn, New York, in the United States. Even though they were not related by blood, Hill began his career with the Lucchese crime family at a young age and quickly rose through the ranks. Hill entered the Witness Protection Program after being arrested for drug trafficking in 1980. During his time in this program, he avoided further legal trouble. The film Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese in 1990, was based on Hill’s life.

Early Life

Hill was raised in a section of Brooklyn that the Lucchese criminal family controlled. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on June 11, 1943, and spent his childhood there. At the age of 12, he began fantasizing about being a member of the Mafia due to his fascination with criminals.


Life in the Mafia

Hill, the son of an Irish father and a Sicilian mother, could never be a “made” Mafia member because he was not a full-blooded Italian; yet, his charm and cunning made him welcome inside the Lucchese family. Hill was the son of an Irish father and a Sicilian mother. Soon after, Hill became one of Paul Vario, one of the more well-respected capos in the family, and became his close associate and friend. Hill began his criminal career as a teenager by running errands for Vario and his crew. Later on, Hill transitioned to more serious criminal activity. Beginning in 1955, he would remain a member of the Mafia for a total of three decades.

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Hill lived up to the gangster image by having a lot of affairs, staying out until all hours of the night, drinking, partying, and playing cards, and living a lifestyle consistent with that image. Hill received a sentence of ten years in prison after he was convicted of assaulting a gambler who did not pay his debts and whose sister worked for the FBI. Once he was inside, it didn’t take him long to figure out that members of the Mafia were given preferential treatment by other inmates and guards, who crime organizations had paid off.

Federal Witness

Following his release from jail, Hill took advantage of his connections within the prison’s drugs program to transport significant quantities of cocaine from Brooklyn to Pittsburgh. Hill’s dependency on the substance increased in tandem with the expansion of his enterprise. It wasn’t until Hill understood that he was the next person on the hit list that he decided to cooperate with the government. Several of New York’s most dreaded mobsters, including Vario, were brought to justice through his testimony.

In 1980, Hill registered with his wife and two children with the Federal Witness Protection Program in the United States. Two years later, Hill was expelled for betraying the program’s confidence by blowing his secret after transferring his family to Nebraska and Kentucky.

Later Years and Death

Hill relocated to the West Coast with his partner of 14 years, Lisa Caserta, after being expelled from the Witness Protection Program and forced to reveal his true identity. In his later years, Hill made it a point to overcome his troubled history by enrolling in training to earn a certification as a drug and alcohol counsellor. Even in his old age, many people still considered Hill a rat and an addict, even though he worked hard to redeem himself. In addition, Hill became a regular guest on The Howard Stern Show, where he frequently talked about his history.

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Hill fought a disease that was never disclosed until the day he passed on June 12, 2012, at 69. At the time in question, he was a resident of Los Angeles. Gregg and Gina, Hill’s children, as well as Hill’s longtime partner, Caserta, are among many who will miss him after his passing.


Hill’s story was told in Nicholas Pileggi’s best-selling book Wiseguy (1985), which was later made famous by Martin Scorsese’s film Goodfellas. Hill’s story was about a mobster named Henry Hill (1990). In the movie, which was nominated for six Academy Awards, Ray Liotta played the role of Hill. (Joe Pesci’s performance as Tommy DeVito earned him the only award out of all those nominated.) Pileggi’s wife, Nora Ephron, also used Hill as the idea behind the film My Blue Heaven, which starred Steve Martin as the ex-mobster Vincent “Vinnie” Antonelli. Hill was also the inspiration behind the novel Hillbilly Elegy. Since it was released a month before Goodfellas, some people consider it a forerunner to that film.

Personal Life

Between the years 1965 and 1989, Hill was married to Karen Friedman. 2002 was the year that saw the completion of their divorce. Gregg and Gina were the parents of the couple’s children. Later on, Hill tied the knot with Kelly Alor from 1990 to 1996, and then later on, he became engaged to Lisa Caserta from 2006 until the time of his passing in 2012.

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