You know what I mean. Like Bobo “the knife” Garbonzzo. Or, Guido “big balls” Zambranzzi. Or, Ricardo “the nose” Vittorioso. Um….wait….that last one was what my nickname was supposed to be before I flunked out of Mobster school.
All prospective mobsters are supposed to, according to the mobster bylaws, have one of those scary or at least colorful names in order to be an official mobster. That’s just the way it is. No self-respecting mobster is ever gonna want to have his name in the paper without some neat nickname. It just ain’t right.
Which led me to wonder why Henry Hill, the famed mobster who turned FBI informant who passed away this week after an illness and whose life story was turned into the movie “Goodfellas” never had a scary mob nickname. Ray Liota played Hill in the movie. (see photos below and the striking resemblance)
Maybe Hill just wasn’t scary enough to have one of those mob nicknames. Or, he might have flunked out of mobster school as well and managed to sneak into the mob by having a connection. Or, because his name didn’t end in a vowel or a “Z” the other mobsters didn’t really trust him. Hey, why waste a good mob nickname on a guy whose name doesn’t end with a vowel.
My guess is that Hill was using a fake name given to him while he was in witness protection and Mary Shannon and Marshall Mann of “In Plain Sight” got him a new identity as an artist and he sold his paintings on eBay. (which is true if you check it out……the eBay part and not the Shannon-Mann part. Although he did enter the witness protection program, was relocated with a new identity, so, it “IS” possible Shannon and Mann were involved. Just sayin’.
Hill had connections to the N.Y. Lucchese crime family, which had nothing to do with manufacturing or importing cheese, but other stuff involving crime and all that other stuff crime families like to dabble in. Hill began his crime stuff at age 11 by running errands for the Lucchese family. Like trips to McDonald’s, Burger King, Subway and the occasional dropping off a dead body at the local cement factory. My guess anyhow.
Eventually, graduating from Mob errand internship, Hill pulled his first bona-fide robbery in 1967 with his good friend Joe Pesci when they robbed an Air France shipment of $420,000. Their original take was $440,000 but it cost them $40 for airport parking. Which they paid so as to not arouse any suspicion from curious parking lot attendants.
It was in 1980 that Hill decided to become a FBI informant following an arrest on narcotics-trafficking charge. Which is when you attempt to smoke pot, get high, and think you’re a traffic cop and start directing traffic at a busy intersection. Hence the term, narcotics-trafficking.
Tip….only smoke pot at home.
After being in the witness protection program for a number of years, Hill and his wife Karen were expelled from the program in the early 1990′s, (around 6am I think, which is kinda early for any mobster) because of arrests on narcotics related charges. (once you start smoking pot and directing traffic at busy intersections it’s a very hard habit to break) The rush factor.
However, Hill enjoyed the rest of his life as somewhat of a celebrity thanks to the movie “Goodfellas,” often being mistaken for Ray Liota and appearing on the “Howard Stern Show.”
He was once scheduled to appear on “I’ve Got a Secret” but considering he was an informant for the FBI and couldn’t actually keep any secrets, that idea was scrapped.
In 2010, Hill was inducted in the “Museum of the American Gangster” in new York City.
WTF? They have a gangster museum in New York City? Holy Capone! Gotta check that one out folks. After all, having an Italian background myself, I might FINALLY be able to track down what it was exactly my ol man was into. Considering he had several different aliases and never stayed in one place longer than one week. AND…he had one of those neat mob nicknames……”Shorty.”
It was either a mob nickname or due to the fact that he was only 5′ 4′ tall. STILL….makes ya wonder.
DAD! Tell me it ain’t so!
Hmmmm…..maybe THAT’S why my family tree is buried in cement. Just a thought.
So, besides the fact, as far as I can determine, Hill had no neat mobster nickname. Unless, “Hill” wasn’t his real name and he did have one when he was in the mob and doing mob stuff. If he didn’t have one, I’m sure the mob must have gave him one after he turned informant. Something like, Henry “Da Rat” Hill. Kinda catchy don’t ya think.
If you’ve never seen the movie “Goodfellas” or the book about Hill, “Wiseguy,” hey…like giva da guy his due respect and rent da movie or buy da book. It’s the least ya can do to show your respect. After all….
He “IS” in the New York “Museum of the American Gangster.”
DAD! DAD! Are ya in there too?
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