In the film, Henry Hill,
played by Ray Liotta, becomes involved in the mafia at a young age: as he
says in the beginning of the film: 'As far back as I can remember, I always
wanted to be a gangster.' As a boy, Henry idolized the Lucchese crime family
gangsters in his blue-collar, predominantly Italian New York City neighborhood
in East New York, Brooklyn, and in 1955 quit school and went to work for
them at a local cab stand. The local Lucchese mob capo, Paul Cicero (Paul
Sorvino) (based on the actual Lucchese mobster Paul Vario) and Cicero's
close associate Jimmy Conway (De Niro) (based on actual associate, Jimmy
Burke) help cultivate the boy's developing criminal career. Ray Liotta as
Henry Hill, Robert De Niro as Jimmy Conway, Paul Sorvino as Paul Cicero,
and Joe Pesci as Tommy DeVito....Henry and his associate Tommy (played by
Joe Pesci in a widely acclaimed and Academy Award-winning performance) conspire
with Conway to steal some of the billions of dollars of cargo passing through
Idlewild Airport (later JFK). They help out in a key moneymaking heist,
stealing over half a million dollars from the Air France cargo terminal
in 1967 and paying Cicero his percentage of the take as per the mafia's
code of tribute.
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 a drug 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 a 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.
Los Angeles, California
Lufthansa Heist (circa 2009)
aaAcrylic on paper
and Wing (circa 2004)
aaAcrylic on paper