Some of the names were changed in the movie Goodfellas, the "movie" version is in italics.

Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta) was a gangster.  Growing up in New York City, he began his affiliation with the mafia as a teenager, joining Paul Vario's (Paul Cicero) crew as an errand boy. Vario was a Capo in the Lucchese crime family.

Hill was half-Irish, preventing him from being fully inducted as a member of the mob.  Nevertheless, as he matured he began to run with Vario's crew full-time.  He soon became friends with Jimmy "The Gent" Burke (James "Jimmy" Conway, played by Robert De Niro) and Tommy DeSimone (Tommy DeVito, played by Joe Pesci), two other associates in Vario's crew.

The crew's most profitable heists came from John F. Kennedy International Airport, which was known as Idlewild at the time.  Cutting deals with just about everyone there, shipments would mysteriously disappear from the loading docks of the airport and find their way into the mob's hands.

At Idlewild, Hill was part of the infamous Lufthansa heist, in which an estimated $8.5 million dollars was stolen from a Lufthansa air cargo terminal.  Jimmy Burke is believed to have masterminded the plan, with a percentage kicked back up to Vario.

Hill was sent to prison for ten years after beating up a deadbeat in Florida who owed the crew money.  Prison barely was prison for Hill and the other Mafiosi incarcerated, as they had a private cell, better food, and preferential treatment from the prison guards (by paying them off, undoubtably).  It was during his imprisonment that Hill began to dabble in the narcotics trade.

Hill was released after four years, and he picked right back up where he left off.  He began to deal drugs on the outside, even though Vario hated them and forbid anyone in his crew from dealing with narcotics.  He soon started using the product himself, leading to a downward spiral that ended in a federal bust of his entire chain and his arrest in 1980.

With few options, Hill turned state's witness, ratting on Paul Vario, Jimmy the Gent, and just about everyone else.

He and his wife were given a new identity and placed in the Witness Protection Program--for two years, at which time Hill was kicked out of the program due to repeatedly blowing his cover.  He divorced his wife several years later, and he now lives with his long-time girlfriend somewhere on the West Coast.

Hill's story was first made into a book, Wiseguy, written by Nicholas PileggiMartin Scorsese read it made it into a movie--Goodfellas, released in 1990.  Hill became famous as a result of the movie exposure, which probably doesn't do him much good since he has to remain in hiding.  There is still a sizeable bounty on his head from within the Mafia.

Henry is a semi-regular caller on The Howard Stern Show, and his bouts with alcoholism are evident when he calls in completely drunk.  He is still trying to recover, seeking certification as a drug and alcohol counselor.

Editors Note:

Henry Hill died in a Los Angeles hospital on June 12, 2012, one day after his 69th birthday after suffering a series of heart attacks.

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