The Info List - Karen Friedman Hill

Karen Friedman Hill (born January 16, 1946)[1] is an American socialite, known for her involvement in the mafia through her husband Henry Hill, who was an associate of the Lucchese crime family. The events of their life were chronicled in the 1990 film Goodfellas and several books. [2]

Personal life

She was born in New York City and raised on Long Island around the Five Towns, the daughter of Jewish parents. She has two sisters, Sandy and Adrienne.

She met Henry Hill through mutual friends, and at the time of their meeting she was working at a dental office. Her parents did not approve of their relationship at first and later insisted that he convert to Judaism, which he falsely claimed he did. They eloped in North Carolina in 1965, when Karen was 19, and later had a formal Jewish ceremony. The couple had two children, Gregg Hill and Gina Hill. Initially after their marriage, Karen and Henry moved in with Karen's parents at their home in Lawrence, New York.

Through the 1970s, the Hill family was involved in organized crime, through which they became very wealthy and lived extravagantly. Henry Hill then became an informant to the FBI, which caused Karen and the children to enter the Witness Protection Program, where they were given new identities and lived in numerous locations through the 1980s.

Due to his numerous crimes while in witness protection, the family was expelled from the program in the early 1990s.[3]

In 2002, Henry and Karen divorced after 25 years of marriage.

Later life

Karen has remained out of the limelight since the family came out of the Witness Protection Program. She and Hill eventually parted ways, last living together in Rockville Centre. Their divorce was finalized in 2002. After their divorce, he remarried and had another child.[4]

Today, Karen continues to use an alias to protect her identity, as do her two children, Gregg and Gina. Her children released a book in 2004, titled On the Run: A Mafia Childhood, that tells their own version of their experience with the Mafia. In the book, Gregg and Gina discuss how their maternal grandparents, and Karen's two younger sisters, Sandy and Adrianne helped take care of them, when Karen and Henry were out dealing in crime.[5]

Henry died on June 12, 2012, from heart failure in Los Angeles.[6]

Portrayal in media

Karen Friedman Hill was portrayed by Lorraine Bracco in the 1990 film Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese, with a script based on Nicholas Pileggi's 1986 book Wiseguy.[7] Bracco did not meet with Hill prior to filming.[8] She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Hill.


  1. ^ Karen Hill public record accessed 5/26/2015
  2. ^ The Real Goodfellas accessed 6/26/2015
  3. ^ "Ex-mobster of 'Goodfellas' fame wanted in Calif". Yahoo!. March 19, 2009. Archived from the original on March 22, 2009. Retrieved June 13, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Henry Hill, Mobster and Movie Inspiration, Dies at 69". June 14, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  5. ^ Hill, Gregg and Gina (2004). On the Run: a Mafia Childhood. Time Warner Book Group. ISBN 0-446-52770-X. 
  6. ^ "Henry Hill, Mobster and Movie Inspiration, Dies at 69". June 14, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  7. ^ Pileggi, Nicholas (1986). Wiseguy. ISBN 978-1439184219. 
  8. ^ "A Mafia Wife Makes Lorraine Bracco a Princess". The New York Times. September 27, 1990. Retrieved May 26, 2015.