'Goodfellas' inspiration, ex-mobster Henry Hill dies at 69
By Kimberly Nordyke
The Hollywood Reporter
Henry Hill, a former mobster-turned-FBI informant whose life became the basis for Martin Scorsese's 1990 movie "Goodfellas," died Tuesday in a L.A. hospital after a long battle with an undisclosed illness, his girlfriend, Lisa, told TMZ. He was 69.
"He had been sick for a long time," she said. "His heart gave out."
Hill, a onetime associate of the Lucchese crime family in New York, was involved in such criminal acts as the Lufthansa heist at John F. Kennedy International Airport in December 1978, during which a then-record $5 million as well as $875,000 in jewels were stolen.
The robbery became the subject of two television films and also played a role in "Goodfellas."
Hill's life was later documented in crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi's 1986 nonfiction book "Wiseguy," which became the basis for "Goodfellas." Ray Liotta portrayed Hill in the movie, which was nominated for a slew of Oscars, including best picture.
Hill later turned into an FBI informant and spent several years under witness protection but was kicked out of the program for committing various crimes.
In more recent years, he became a frequent guest on "The Howard Stern Show," marketed his own spaghetti sauce and opened a restaurant called Wiseguys.
In August, he appeared in an AMC special where he discussed such mob-themed movies as "Goodfellas" and "The Godfather" with other former mobsters. The cable network also is developing a "Goodfellas" TV series.
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