When Henry Hill was a boy growing up in Brooklyn, his father wanted him to follow his lead and become an electrician.
It was an honest trade, Hill recalls, but not one that would earn him wads of cash big enough to choke a horse.
So Hill joined the mob. He made plenty of cash — there was a time when he could peel a $100 bill or two off his money stack and never miss it. But after spending years in the mob, then prison and finally, witness protection, Hill has a singular message for anyone considering a life of crime: become an electrician. Or anything. Just don’t join the mob.
“It’s not all it’s cracked up to be,” says Hill, 67. The former Lucchese crime family associate marvels at the fact that he is still alive today, as the life of a mobster isn’t usually a long one.
A subject of the movie “Goodfellas” and the book “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Peleggi, Hill will be on hand Jan. 18 at the Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road, to talk about his life. He will appear as part of a panel including former mob men Frank Cullotta and Andrew DiDonato, actor Craig Vincent, writer Dennis Griffin and Mob Museum curator Kathleen Hickey Barrie.
The event, “New York and Chicago Invade Las Vegas and Hollywood,” is part of Mob Month at the library district. On Jan. 11, a panel will discuss who killed Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, while surviving the mob will be the topic on Jan. 25. The Tuesday events are free to the public and start at 7 p.m.
On Jan. 22 at 2 p.m., the public can get some tips from the Clark County Nevada Genealogical Society on how to trace their families’ mob roots. That event also is scheduled for the Clark County Library.
Originally, the library planned a single mob event, says Julie Okabayashi, scheduling specialist at the Clark County Library. But the Mob Museum is scheduled to open this year, making it a timely topic.
“It’s just been glamorized so much over the years,” Okabayashi says. “And Las Vegas is steeped in mob culture.”
While the events are free and open to the public, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, call 507-3458.
Contact reporter Sonya Padgett at spadgett@review journal.com or 702-380-4564.Preview
What: Mob Month lectures
When: 7 p.m. Jan. 11 and 18, 2 p.m. Jan. 22
Where: Clark County Library, 1401 E. Flamingo Road.