‘I haven’t done cocaine in seven years.’

Oh, man — Henry Hill died yesterday. Regular readers may recall I had the pleasure of interviewing him for Isthmus a couple years ago. He was a pleasant guy, or at least, pleasant to me during our hour together. There was, as you would expect, a pathetic air to the proceedings — this onetime high roller smoking out on the patio at a Madison, Wisconsin sports bar in the middle of the day, alone except for his girlfriend and another woman (either a friend or some kind of handler or a hybrid of both).

He did a little of that empty boasting that formerly famous people do to convince both their listeners and themselves that they’re still relevant; I got the sense the Wall Street Journal article he mentions working on was more like a vague possibility born out of a casual conversation with someone humoring him. And I’m sure he did go to Quantico to give lectures at one point, but I would be surprised if it had been any time recently. But that sort of semi-desperate hyperbole is par for the course for anybody in his position. He kept it to a minimum, and while he didn’t express any regret to me for the crimes he’d committed, he came off as more humbly satisfied with how life had turned out than resentful or obliviously self-important. Which is about right. Dying of illness at age 69 — he could have done a lot worse.

13 June 2012, 10:22 am
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