LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Former mobster and FBI informant Henry Hill, whose life in organized crime was immortalized in the film “Goodfellas,” has died at a Los Angeles hospital, according to a report Wednesday. He was 69.
The Brooklyn, N.Y.-born mobster died Tuesday after suffering complications from a heart attack just one day after his 69th birthday.
Actor Ray Liotta portrayed Hill in the 1990 Martin Scorcese-directed film “Goodfellas,” which chronicled Hill’s life in the Mafia. The film was based on the book “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay for “Goodfellas.”
A participant in the $5 million, 1978 Lufthansa heist at John F. Kennedy International Airport, Hill became an FBI informant after being arrested for selling drugs. His testimony landed numerous Lucchese crime family figures in prison.
He entered the federal witness protection program but was later expelled from it because of criminal activity.
“When he went into witness protection, he was horrified that he had to become, you know, a rat,” said girlfriend Lisa Caserta. “It was scary for him…that was like the last thing he wanted to do.”
Hill said he never killed anyone, although he did shoot at people without bothering to find out if they had been harmed.
“I did a lot of bad things back then. I shot at people, I busted a lot of heads, and I buried a lot of bodies,” Hill said in a 2010 interview with Britain’s Daily Telegraph. “You can try to justify it by saying they deserved it, that they had it coming, but some just got whacked for absolutely no reason at all.”
A frequent call-in guest on Howard Stern’s radio program, Hill served six months in jail in 2005 after being charged in Nebraska with methamphetamine possession, according to the New York Daily News.
Using aliases such as Martin Lewis and Peter Haines, Hill was moved 10 times during his time in the witness protection program, he told the Telegraph.
In the Telegraph interview, he marveled that he had made it to age 67 and had not been “whacked” himself.
“I never thought I’d reach this wonderful age,” he said. “I’m just grateful for being alive.”
Hill was the father of two children, according to TMZ.com.
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