Henry Hill, Jr. (June 11, 1943 — June 12, 2012) was a New York City mobster. Between 1955 and 1980, Hill was associated with the Lucchese crime family. After he turned FBI informant in 1980, Hill testified against Lucchese captain Paul Vario and James Burke, both of whom were convicted on multiple charges.
Hill’s life story was documented in the true crime book Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family by Nicholas Pileggi. In Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film adaptation, Goodfellas, Hill is the protagonist and is played by Ray Liotta and Christopher Serrone.
Goodfellas (stylized as GoodFellas) is a 1990 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a film adaptation of the 1986 non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese. The film follows the rise and fall of Lucchese crime family associates Henry Hill and his friends from 1955 to 1980.
Scorsese initially named the film Wise Guy, but postponed it, and later (with Pileggi’s agreement) changed the name to Goodfellas to avoid confusion with the unrelated television series Wiseguy. To prepare for their roles in the film, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta often spoke with Pileggi, who shared research material he gathered while writing the book. According to Pesci, improvisation and ad-libbing came out of rehearsals where Scorsese gave the actors freedom to do whatever they wanted. The director made transcripts of these sessions, took the lines he liked best, and put them into a revised script the cast worked from during principal photography. In the fall of 2006, Hill appeared in a photo shoot along with Ray Liotta for Entertainment Weekly. At Liotta’s urging, Hill entered alcohol rehabilitation two days after the shoot.
Prior to his death, Henry Hill collaborated with the novelist, Daniel Simone, in writing and developing a forthcoming non-fiction book titled, The Lufthansa Heist, a portrayal of the famous 1978 Lufthansa Airline robbery at Kennedy Airport.