Mafia informer Henry Hill
— the inspiration for the film Goodfellas
— has died.
Hill (69) — who was played by Ray Liotta
in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film, which also starred Robert De Niro
— died at a Los Angeles hospital after a long battle with an undisclosed illness.
Girlfriend Lisa Caserta told celebrity website TMZ
: “He had been sick for a long time. His heart gave out.”
Irish-American Hill took part in a 1978 raid on the Lufthansa terminal at New York’s JFK airport, which netted nearly $6m (€4.8m) in cash and jewels — a record for a heist at the time. He was arrested more than a year later on drugs charges and turned FBI informant. He spent several years in a witness protection programme with his wife and children.
Hill, born in Brooklyn to an Irish father and an Italian mother, met local mob members as a teenager and was introduced to the Lucchese crime family. Even after he went into government protection he could not stay out of trouble — he was busted over drugs in 1987 and did six months for possession in 2005.
But in later years he said he had reformed, and opened a restaurant called Wiseguys in West Haven, Connecticut. He appeared in several TV documentaries and in 2010 he was inducted into the Museum of the American Gangster in New York.