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Henry Hill Has Died

Goodfellas inspiration dies age 69

Not a filmmaker but a piece of film history nonetheless, the man who inspired Goodfellas has died aged 69. Henry Hill was a sometime gangster who turned state's evidence after being arrested for drug use, and helped to put away dozens of mobsters.

Hill was born in 1943 in Brooklyn, and grew up idolising the local Lucchese crime family, before joining the ranks of their hangers on in his teens. He worked his way up the ranks, involved in several major heists, before he was arrested in 1980. He gave evidence at that point against his former friends, with 50 wiseguys being sent to prison as a result.

Hill was then put in the Witness Protection Programme for more than a decade, before his propensity for getting into trouble got him kicked out of the programme. In 1986 he collaborated with reporter Nicholas Pileggi on a book called Wiseguy about his life, which was filmed by Martin Scorsese and released in 1990 as GoodFellas. This made him something of a media celebrity, and led to many appearances on the Howard Stern show and elsewhere.

Hill is survived by two children and his girlfriend Lisa, and died after illness in Los Angeles.