Mobster Henry Hill Made The Most Of His Notoriety

David Greene and Renee Montagne have a remembrance of former mobster Henry Hill, who died Tuesday at age 69. Hill was the subject of the best-selling book Wiseguy and the hit movie Goodfellas.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And our last word in business goes to a favorite of the dailies in New York, a man who made headlines for ratting out his own colleagues. Henry Hill, the one-time mobster, died Tuesday at the age of 69. He was the subject of the best-selling book "Wiseguy," and the hit movie "Goodfellas."

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Hill joined the Mafia as a teenager in New York City. Among much more violent crimes, he helped engineer the single largest cash robbery in U.S. history, helping to steal nearly $6 million from a cargo terminal at Kennedy Airport.

MONTAGNE: In 1980, in a deal that would change his life, he became a federal informant and sent dozens of his Mafia colleagues to prison, which allowed Hill to stay out of prison.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)

HENRY HILL: It's who gets there first with the - with the most information that the government can use.

MONTAGNE: That was Hill, speaking last year on the Indiana public radio station WLPR. He would spend several years in the witness protection program, but was finally kicked out for criminal activity.

GREENE: And Hill certainly made the most of his notoriety. After his biography was published and made into an Oscar-winning film, he went on to publish a "Goodfellas" cook book.

MONTAGNE: Henry Hill died not as he feared - from a bullet to the back of the head - but in a California hospital, from heart problems. And that's the business news, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

GREENE: And I'm David Greene.

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