Henry Hill, the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s classic 1990 movie Goodfellas (where he was played by Ray Liotta), and the nonfiction book from which the film was drawn, Nicholas Pileggi’s Wiseguys, passed away Tuesday at the age of 69.
Last summer, National Geographic Channel debuted an episode of its popular Locked Up Abroad series devoted to Hill, called “The Real Goodfella,” which told the complete story of his rise and fall in the New York mob, including details of his life not featured in Scorsese’s film. NGC will be re-airing that episode tonight and next Wednesday. In the episode, Hill, the former gangster who “did a lot of nasty stuff” in a “violent insane subculture” discusses how he defied his mob boss’ golden rule of never dealing drugs, made careless mistakes, went into witness protection and “ratted” out his former mob partners. Later, after seven years on the run and still leading a crime-ridden life, he landed at a penitentiary in California, where mobsters were out to kill him.
“Drugs was my downfall,” says Hill in the episode. “It’s a scourge and a curse and it almost cost me my life.”
Locked Up Abroad: “The Real Goodfella” re-airs June 13 at 9pm and midnight E/P, and June 20 at 5pm E/P.