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What Henry Hill Did After His Goodfellas Days

The 1990 movie Goodfellas was based on the life of mob informant Henry Hill. The film ended when he went into the witness protection program. The 1990 movie My Blue Heaven was also based on Henry Hill's life, except it was a fictionalized comedy that began with Hill's entry into obscurity. Nora Ephron, who wrote My Blue Heaven, got to know Henry Hill while her husband, Nicholas Pileggi, was writing his book Wiseguy, on which Goodfellas was based. It turns out that her comedy was pretty close to the truth. Henry Hill had quite a few adventures in the witness protection program.

With his Goodfellas era over, a man who had never known life outside the mob was unleashed on an unsuspecting world as one of us. In May 1980, when he sat down in the office of Ed McDonald, the prosecutor who was arranging his entrance into Witness Protection (WITSEC for short), Henry brought along two of his mistresses and tried to enroll them in the program along with his wife and children. It was the first in a string of unbelievable stunts he would pull while in the program.

The Hills hoped to be placed somewhere glamorous and warm, but they got Omaha, Nebraska. The lanky man with the thick Brooklyn accent might as well have been from another planet. For their first meal out, Henry took the family to Omaha-based-chain Godfather’s Pizza, as if to dare the Midwest to change him. It felt like he’d arrived at the ends of the earth, all flat land and sky, cows at pasture everywhere he looked. “It was like another country,” Henry recalled later. He claimed his body could never get off New York time, so he would be up an hour too early every morning, dressed to the nines in expensive suit and shiny loafers, nowhere to go. At the grocery store, he and an employee stared each other down over Henry’s request to be directed to the Italian food. He bought out their supply of Ronzoni lasagna noodles.

Hill kept in contact with some New York friends, got arrested rather often, and occasionally got his picture in the local papers, which drove WITSEC agents crazy. But the straw that broke the camel's back was Hill's sudden marriage to a hairdresser, despite the fact that he was already married with two children. Read the story of Henry Hill (aka Martin Lewis), his first wife, his second wife, and the private eye who exposed the arrangement, at Medium. -via Metafilter


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