Henry Hill Jr. (June 11, 1943 – June 12, 2012) was an American mobster who was associated with the Lucchese crime family of New York City between 1955 and 1980. In 1980, Hill was arrested on narcotics charges and became an FBI informant. He testified against his former American Mafia associates, resulting in 50 convictions, including those of caporegime (captain) Paul Vario and Jimmy Burke on multiple charges. He had entered the Witness Protection Program in 1980, but was removed from the program in the early 1990s.
Hill's life story was documented in the true crime book Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi, which was subsequently adapted by Martin Scorsese into the critically acclaimed film Goodfellas in 1990. Hill was portrayed by Ray Liotta in the film.
The son of an Irish father and Sicilian mother, Hill could never be a "made" Mafia member because he wasn't a full-blooded Italian, but his charm and cunning made him welcome inside the Lucchese family. Hill soon became a close associate and friend of Paul Vario, one of the more respected capos in the family. In his teenage years, Hill would do errands for Vario and his crew and eventually moved to more serious crime. His time in the Mafia would span three decades, beginning in 1955.
Hill lived up to the gangster image by having a number of affairs and staying out until all hours, drinking, partying and playing cards. After beating up a non-paying gambler whose sister happened to work at the F.B.I., Hill was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Once inside, he soon realized that Mafia members received preferential treatment by convicts and guards, who were paid off by crime families.
After his release, Hill used his prison narcotics contacts to shift large amounts of cocaine from Brooklyn to Pittsburgh. As his operation grew, so did Hill's own addiction to the drug. It was only when Hill realized he was next on the hit list that he became a federal witness. His testimony brought down some of New York's most feared mobsters, including Vario.
Hill, his wife and their two children entered the U.S. Federal Witness Protection Program in 1980. Two years later — after moving his family to Nebraska, and then Kentucky — Hill was thrown out of the program for blowing his cover.
After being kicked out of the Witness Protection Program, Hill moved to the West Coast with his girlfriend of 14 years, Lisa Caserta. In his later years, Hill worked to come to terms with his past, taking classes to be certified as a drug and alcohol counselor. Despite his efforts at redemption, many still viewed Hill as a rat and addict, even in his old age. Hill also became a frequent guest on The Howard Stern Show, where he often discussed his past.
Hill died on June 12, 2012, at the age of 69, after battling an undisclosed illness. He had been living in Los Angeles at the time. Hill is survived by his two children, Gregg and Gina; and his girlfriend, Caserta.