Henry Hill from Goodfellas Dead at 69

Senior Editor
06.13.12 29 Comments

Pour out some Sunday gravy for Henry Hill, the real-life subject of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (played by Ray Liotta in the film), who died yesterday in Los Angeles at the age of 69. His death came as a shock to those closest to him, who say they thought he said I’m alright, Spider. Burnsy was the first one who sent me the news, saying “Henry Hill died. Hopefully so did that bitch who needed her hat.”

Good point. I hated that bitch.

Hill’s long-time manager and girlfriend, Lisa Caserta, told The Post he died at LA’s West Hills Hospital.
“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,” she said, adding that Hill had been suffering from bad circulation due to smoking.
She also said he “struggled with alcoholism.”
Caserta said Hill had recently made his peace with his family, but “I don’t think he ever got over his demons.
“He would talk about how bad he felt about doing the things that he did.”
She said Hill agonized over his many crimes, including the infamous Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport that netted his crew nearly $6 million in 1978. At the time, it was the most successful robbery in American history.
“He tried so hard to redeem himself,” she said. “He felt bad about that.”
As for Scorsese’s iconic depiction of Hill’s wild life, Caserta recalled, “He always said it was 99.9 percent accurate.”

Hill, raised in Brooklyn, will also probably go down as the most famous participant in the witness protection program of all time (he was expelled in 1990 for drug charges while in the program, shortly after he and Karen had gotten divorced). For a guy supposedly in hiding, he also made a lot of appearances on the Howard Stern Show, becoming more and more of a drunken mess as the years went on, and spent a lot of time hawking his pasta sauce with his picture on the side. In 2005, he got busted in Nebraska, where he’d been working as a chef, for possession of meth and cocaine paraphernalia. After an Entertainment Weekly magazine shoot in 2006, Ray Liotta convinced Hill to go to rehab for alcohol, but he would continue to get arrested for public intoxication and disorderly conduct periodically until his death. Being half-Irish and half-Sicilian, he could never be a made man, but he did manage to perpetuate both the stereotype of the Irish drunk AND the vain Italian incompetent. But he did help give us Goodfellas. I know I’m biased because I’m named “Mancini,” but for as much as people talk about Scarface, anyone who actually likes Scarface more than Goodfellas is a goddamned moron.

No word on whether Hill will be buried or cremated, but they could always just cut the body up really thin and liquify it in some olive oil.

Hill on Howard Stern:

Goodfellas – the scene at Tommy’s Mother’s house (starring Martin Scorsese’s real-life mom). One of my favorite scenes of all time.

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