Henry Hill, Portrayed by Ray Liotta in Goodfellas, is Reportedly Dead at 69…
From the Daily News Gossip section:
Mob rat Henry Hill — who was immortalized in the movie “Goodfellas” and booted from the witness protection program — died Tuesday in Los Angeles after a long illness, TMZ reported. He was 69.
“His heart gave out,” his girlfriend told the gossip site.
Hill earned his place in gangland history by participating in the 1978 Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport, which netted a then-record $5 million. He became one of the most notorious Mafia canaries by turning FBI informant after being busted for pushing drugs. His turncoat testimony helped the feds nab dozens of wiseguys.
Hill spent several years in witness protection with his wife and kids, but was tossed out in the early 1990s because he couldn’t stay out of trouble.
In later years, he was a guest on Howard Stern’s radio show, opened a restaurant called Wiseguys, hosted mob-movie marathons, and hawked his own line of marinara sauce. In a 2008 interview, the one-time Lucchese crime family associate claimed to be reformed, telling the BBC, “I’m doing the right thing now.”
Hill was born in Brownsville, Brooklyn, to an Irish father and Italian mother. He fell in with local mobsters as a teen and was inducted into capo Paul Vario’s crew.
Martin Scorsese’s 1990 movie “Goodfellas,” starring Ray Liotta as Hill, chronicled his blood-spattered rise in the underworld, the audacious airport ripoff, his descent into the world of drugs and his eventual arrest.
“The government said a couple of hundred million dollars went through my hands. But I just blew it on slow horses, women, drugs and rock ’n’ roll,” he told a London newspaper on the 20th anniversary of the release of “Goodfellas.”
“We partied five, six nights a week and I was making $15,000 to $40,000 a week. That was just my end. But I was a degenerate gambler. I could lose $40,000 in a week.”
He said he never killed anyone and turned snitch only because he believed he was going to be whacked.
Even after he got a new identity — which he protected by wearing a fake beard — Hill couldn’t leave his life of crime behind. By 1987, he had been busted on drug charges again.
In 2005, he served six months for possession of methamphetamines while working as a chef in Nebraska. By then, most of the old buddies he had betrayed were dead, but he said he still felt like a marked man.
“There’s always that chance that some young buck wants to make a name for themselves,” he told a reporter in 2010. “I never thought I’d reach this wonderful age. I’m just grateful for being alive.”
[first lines] Henry Hill: The fuck is that?
Morrie: Henry, you’re a good kid, I’ve been good to you, you’ve been good to me. But there’s something really unreasonable going on here. Jimmy’s being an unconsionable ball-breaker. I never agreed to 3 points on top of the vig! Am I something special? Some sort of schmuck on wheels? Henry Hill: Morrie, please! You borrowed Jimmy’s money, pay him. Morrie: I never agreed to 3 points on top of the vig! What am I, fuckin nuts? Come on! Henry Hill: Are you gonna argue with Jimmy Conway? Just give him his money so we can get the fuck outta here! Morrie: Hey! Fuck ’em! Fuck ’em in the ear! What are you talking about? Fuck ’em in the other ear, that son of a bitch! Did I ever bust his balls? Did I? Did I? I could’ve jumped the dime a million times, and I wouldn’t have to pay tip! Henry Hill: Come on, Morrie, you’re talking crazy, stop it! Jimmy Conway: [Grabs telephone cord and chokes Morrie with it, then his wig falls off and Henry starts laughing] You got money for that fuckin commercial. Fuckin’ commercial, you don’t got my money, you don’t got my fuckin money, huh? Henry Hill: Jimmy, he’ll pay, he’ll pay. Jimmy Conway: I’ll fuckin kill you, get the money, you fuckin’ cocksucker, you hear me? [Phone rings] Jimmy Conway: Pay me my money. Morrie: Hello? Who’s this? He’s here. [Gives phone to Henry] Henry Hill: Jimmy, I’m sorry. Jimmy Conway: Yeah? You should be sorry. Don’t fuckin do it again and give me the money. Give me the fuckin money, You hear me? You hear me, I gotta come here and you bust my balls? Give me the fuckin money. Morrie: OK, OK, OK. I’ll pay you kid.
Jimmy Conway: What’s the fuckin’ matter with you? What – what is the fuckin’ matter with you? What are you, stupid or what? Tommy, Tommy, I’m kidding with you. What the fuck are you doin’? What are you, a fuckin’ sick maniac? Tommy DeVito: How am I meant to know you’re kidding? What you mean, you’re kidding? You breaking my fuckin’ balls? Jimmy Conway: I’m fuckin’ kidding with you! You fuckin’ shoot the guy? Henry Hill: He’s dead. Tommy DeVito: Good shot. What do you want from me? Good shot. Fuckin’ rat anyway. His family’s all rats. He’ll grow up to be a rat. Jimmy Conway: You stupid bastard, I can’t fuckin’ believe you. Now, you’re gonna dig the fuckin’ thing now. You’re gonna dig the hole. You’re gonna do it. I got no fuckin’ lime. You’re gonna do it. Tommy DeVito: Who the fuck cares? I’ll dig the fuckin’ hole. I don’t give a fuck. What is it, the first hole I dug? Not the first time I dug a hole. I’ll fuckin’ dig a hole. Where are the shovels?
Henry Hill: You’re a pistol, you’re really funny. You’re really funny. Tommy DeVito: What do you mean I’m funny? Henry Hill: It’s funny, you know. It’s a good story, it’s funny, you’re a funny guy. [laughs] Tommy DeVito: What do you mean, you mean the way I talk? What? Henry Hill: It’s just, you know. You’re just funny, it’s… funny, the way you tell the story and everything. Tommy DeVito: [it becomes quiet] Funny how? What’s funny about it? Anthony Stabile: Tommy no, You got it all wrong. Tommy DeVito: Oh, oh, Anthony. He’s a big boy, he knows what he said. What did ya say? Funny how? Henry Hill: Jus… Tommy DeVito: What? Henry Hill: Just… ya know… you’re funny. Tommy DeVito: You mean, let me understand this cause, ya know maybe it’s me, I’m a little fucked up maybe, but I’m funny how, I mean funny like I’m a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh, I’m here to fuckin’ amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny? Henry Hill: Just… you know, how you tell the story, what? Tommy DeVito: No, no, I don’t know, you said it. How do I know? You said I’m funny. How the fuck am I funny, what the fuck is so funny about me? Tell me, tell me what’s funny! Henry Hill: [long pause] Get the fuck out of here, Tommy! Tommy DeVito: [everyone laughs] Ya motherfucker! I almost had him, I almost had him. Ya stuttering prick ya. Frankie, was he shaking? I wonder about you sometimes, Henry. You may fold under questioning.
Henry Hill: [narrating] And when the cops, when they assigned a whole army to stop Jimmy, what’d he do? He made ’em partners.
Henry Hill: Jimmy was the kind of guy that rooted for bad guys in the movies.
Henry Hill: [narrating] Whenever we needed money, we’d rob the airport. To us, it was better than Citibank.
Henry Hill: [narrating] And then there was Jimmy Two Times, who got that nickname because he said everything twice, like: Jimmy Two Times: I’m gonna go get the papers, get the papers.
Henry Hill: All they got from Paulie was protection from other guys looking to rip them off. That’s what it’s all about. That’s what the FBI can never understand – that what Paulie and the organization offer is protection for the kinds of guys who can’t go to the cops. They’re like the police department for wiseguys.
Henry Hill: [narrating] Paulie may have moved slow, but it was only because Paulie didn’t have to move for anybody.
Henry Hill: [narrating] One day some of the kids from the neighborhood carried my mother’s groceries all the way home. You know why? It was outta respect.
Henry Hill: [narrating] Thirty-two hundred dollars he gave me. Thirty-two hundred dollars for a lifetime. It wasn’t even enough to pay for the coffin.
Henry Hill: [narrating] As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.
Henry Hill: You know, we always called each other good fellas. Like you said to, uh, somebody, :You’re gonna like this guy. He’s all right. He’s a good fella. He’s one of us.: You understand? We were good fellas. Wiseguys. But Jimmy and I could never be made because we had Irish blood. It didn’t even matter that my mother was Sicilian. To become a member of a crew you’ve got to be one hundred per cent Italian so they can trace all your relatives back to the old country. See, it’s the highest honor they can give you. It means you belong to a family and crew. It means that nobody can fuck around with you. It also means you could fuck around with anybody just as long as they aren’t also a member. It’s like a license to steal. It’s a license to do anything. As far as Jimmy was concerned with Tommy being made, it was like we were all being made. We would now have one of our own as a member.
Henry Hill: [With the suitcase open on the desk, Henry counts out stacks of cash] Thirty-five, forty, forty-five, fifty, sixty thousand. Jimmy Conway: It’s gonna be a good summer.
[last lines] Henry Hill: [narrating] Anything I wanted was a phone call away. Free cars. The keys to a dozen hideout flats all over the city. I bet twenty, thirty grand over a weekend and then I’d either blow the winnings in a week or go to the sharks to pay back the bookies. [Henry leaves the witness stand and speaks directly to the camera] Henry Hill: Didn’t matter. It didn’t mean anything. When I was broke, I’d go out and rob some more. We ran everything. We paid off cops. We paid off lawyers. We paid off judges. Everybody had their hands out. Everything was for the taking. And now it’s all over. [narrating] Henry Hill: And that’s the hardest part. Today everything is different; there’s no action… have to wait around like everyone else. Can’t even get decent food – right after I got here, I ordered some spaghetti with marinara sauce, and I got egg noodles and ketchup. I’m an average nobody… get to live the rest of my life like a schnook.
Jimmy Conway: [Tommy has shot Spider] I’m fucking kidding with you; you fucking shoot the guy? Henry Hill: He’s dead. Tommy DeVito: I’m a good shot, what do you want from me? I’m a good shot. Anthony Stabile: How could you miss at this distance?
Henry Hill: [narrating] Now the guy’s got Paulie as a partner. Any problems, he goes to Paulie. Trouble with the bill? He can go to Paulie. Trouble with the cops, deliveries, Tommy, he can call Paulie. But now the guy’s gotta come up with Paulie’s money every week, no matter what. Business bad? Fuck you, pay me. Oh, you had a fire? Fuck you, pay me. Place got hit by lightning, huh? Fuck you, pay me.
Henry Hill: [narrating] When they found Carbone in the meat truck, he was frozen so stiff it took them three days to thaw him out for the autopsy.
Henry Hill: For us to live any other way was nuts. Uh, to us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day, and worried about their bills, were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something we just took it. If anyone complained twice they got hit so bad, believe me, they never complained again
Paul Cicero: I don’t want any more of that shit. Henry Hill: What shit? What are you talking about? Paul Cicero: Just stay away from the garbage, you know what I mean. Henry Hill: Look, Paulie? Paul Cicero: I’m not talking about what you did inside, you did what you had to do, I’m talking about now, from now, here and now. Henry Hill: Paulie, why would I want to get into that… Paul Cicero: Don’t make a jerk out of me, just don’t do it… just don’t do it. Now I want to talk to you about Jimmy, you have to watch out for him. He’s a good earner but he’s wild, takes too many chances. Henry Hill: Yeah I know that, I know Jimmy, you think I would take chances like Jimmy? Paul Cicero: And Tommy he’s a good kid too. But he’s crazy, he’s a cowboy, he’s got too much to prove. You gotta watch out for kids like this. Henry Hill: Yeah I know what they are, I only use them for certain things, believe me you don’t have to worry. Paul Cicero: Listen, I aint gonna get fucked like Gribbs, understand. Gribbs is 70 years old and the fuckin guy’s gonna die in prison, I don’t need that. So I’m warning everybody, EVERYBODY. It could be my son, it could be anybody. Gribbs got 20 years just for saying hello to some fuck who was sneaking behind his back selling junk, I don’t need that, aint gonna happen to me, you understand. Henry Hill: Uh huh. Paul Cicero: You know that you’re only out early because I got you a job. I don’t need this heat, understand that. Henry Hill: Uh huh. Paul Cicero: And you see anybody fucking around with this shit you’re going to tell me right. Henry Hill: Yeah. Paul Cicero: [slaps him] That means anybody! Henry Hill: All right. Paul Cicero: Yeah? Henry Hill: Yeah, of course.
Henry Hill: I swear to my fucking mother, if you touch her again, YOU’RE DEAD.
Henry Hill: [narrating] Jimmy had never asked me to whack somebody before – but now he’s asking me to go down to Florida and do a hit with Anthony? That’s when I knew I would never have come back from Florida alive.
Henry Hill: [narrating] Jimmy had never asked me to do a hit before, and now he’s asking me to go down to Florida with Andy to make a hit. [Jimmy gives him a pack of matches with a number] Henry Hill: [narrating] That’s when I knew I would never have come back from Florida alive.
Henry Hill: I only bought the damn guns because he wanted them and now he didn’t want them. Jimmy Conway: What the fuck are these? None of them fit. What’s the matter with you? What, do you want me to pay for this shit? I’m not paying for it! Henry Hill: I didn’t say a thing. He was so pissed off, he didn’t even say goodbye. Jimmy Conway: Stop with those fucking drugs. They’re making your mind into mush. You hear me? Take’em back!
Henry Hill: [Henry has just been busted for dealing drugs] For a second I thought I was dead. But, when I heard all the noise, I knew they were cops. Only cops talk that way. If they’d been wiseguys, I wouldn’t have heard a thing. I would’ve been dead.
Henry Hill: If you’re part of a crew, nobody ever tells you that they’re going to kill you, doesn’t happen that way. There weren’t any arguments or curses like in the movies. See, your murderers come with smiles, they come as your friends, the people who’ve cared for you all of your life. And they always seem to come at a time that you’re at your weakest and most in need of their help.
Henry Hill: [after Karen points gun at him while hes sleeping] I got enough to worry about getting whacked on the street! I gotta come home for this! I should fucking kill you!
Henry Hill: [narrating] By the time I grew up, there was thirty billion a year in cargo moving through Idlewild Airport and believe me, we tried to steal every bit of it.
Karen: What do you do? Henry Hill: I’m in construction. Karen: [She feels the softness of his hands] They don’t feel like you’re in construction. Henry Hill: Ah, I’m a union delegate.
Henry Hill: [narrating] It was revenge for Billy Batts, and a lot of other things. And there was nothing that we could do about it. Batts was a made man, and Tommy wasn’t. And we had to sit still and take it. It was among the Italians. It was real greaseball shit. They even shot Tommy in the face so his mother couldn’t give him an open coffin at the funeral.
Tommy DeVito: [Henry, Jimmy and Tommy are digging up Billy Batts’ decomposed corpse. Henry is coughing from the stench, while the others don’t appear to be bothered] Hey, Henry, Henry, hurry up, will ya? My mother’s gonna make some fried peppers and sausage for us. [Jimmy and Tommy laugh while Henry coughs] Jimmy Conway: Oh, hey, Henry, Henry! Here’s an arm! Henry Hill: Very funny, guys. Jimmy Conway: Here’s a leg! Tommy DeVito: Here’s a wing! [laughs] Tommy DeVito: Hey, what do you like, the leg or the wing, Henry? Or ya still go for the old hearts and lungs? Henry Hill: [Vomiting] Oh, that’s so bad!
Jimmy Conway: Yeah. Vinnie: Yeah. Jimmy Conway: Who’s this? Vinnie: This is Vinnie. Jimmy Conway: Vinnie, what happened? Vinnie: Well we-… Jimmy Conway: You get it straightened out? Vinnie: No, we had a problem… and uh, we tried to do everything we could. Jimmy Conway: What d’you mean? Vinnie: Well, you what I mean. He’s gone, and we couldn’t do nothing about it. [pause] Vinnie: That’s it. Jimmy Conway: What d’you mean? What d’you mean? Uh… Vinnie: He’s gone. Uh, he’s gone. [pause] Vinnie: And that’s it. Jimmy Conway: [smashing telephone] Fuck. Can’t fuckin’ believe that, can’t fuckin’… Jimmy Conway: [crying] Fuck it, fuck… the fuck… [Henry exits diner] Henry Hill: What happened? Jimmy Conway: They whacked him. They fuckin’ whacked him. Henry Hill: Aw, fuck. [Jimmy kicks phone booth] Jimmy Conway: Motherfucker! [pushes over phone booth] Jimmy Conway: [cries]
Jimmy Conway: Watch this. Henry Hill: Ah, don’t fuck with them. Jimmy Conway: I do it all the time. Bust their fucking balls. Henry Hill: Don’t give’em the satisfaction, the fucks. Jimmy Conway: [taps on car window of two cops following him, who had fallen asleep] Come on, fuckos, let’s go for a ride. [he and Henry laugh] Jimmy Conway: Keep’em up all night.
Henry Hill: Now take me to jail.