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Virginia Hill (August 26, 1916 - March 24, 1966) was a Chicago Outfit courier who was famous for being the steady girlfriend of Los Angelesmarker mob boss and Genovese crime family associate Bugsy Siegel, following the breakdown of his marriage.

Early life

Hill was born 1916 in Lipscomb, Alabamamarker, one of ten siblings. The family later moved to Marietta, Georgiamarker, and her mother later left her to take care of other children.

Mafia connections

At the age of 17, Hill moved to Chicagomarker, allegedly to work as a prostitute at the 1933 World's Fairmarker and later became a waitress. During this time, she met a mobster named Joseph Epstein, a ranking associate of Chicago Outfit political corrupter Jake Guzik. Hill allegedly became Epstein's mistress, party hostess, and a co-conspirator in his bookmaking ring. In the process she became a close associate of several high-ranking Outfit mobsters. She was eventually the mistress of Frank Costello, Frank Nitti, Charles Fischetti and Joe Adonis. She also became a "bag woman," and funneled Outfit funds into Swissmarker bank accounts. She later denied it, but it is known that she bought a new home for her family in Marietta for $10,000 - in cash.

Bugsy Siegel

In the 1940s, Hill moved to Californiamarker, met Benjamin Siegel, and, in turn, became his most steady mistress. They reputedly fought as much as they made love, but Siegel did not stop his womanizing. There are rumors that they were secretly married in Mexicomarker but Siegel never divorced his wife, Esta. Siegel's nickname for Hill was "The Flamingo," reputedly for her long legs. Hill maintained a lavish lifestyle also in Hollywoodmarker, bought her own mansion in Beverly Hillsmarker and entertained Hollywood celebrities there. Hill reportedly blackmailed several Hollywood celebrities with information about their private vices.

Siegel got into trouble with his superiors in New York Citymarker's Genovese crime family when his Las Vegasmarker project, The Flamingomarker, did not turn a profit fast enough. Meyer Lansky allegedly suspected that Siegel was engineering construction woes in order to rip off his Mafia investors for millions of dollars. It was further believed that he was using Hill to transfer the money to Swiss bank accounts, serving as only his courier this time.

After one of their many fights, Hill left for Parismarker on June 10, 1947. Ten days later, Siegel was shot to death inside her Los Angelesmarker mansion. When she heard of Siegel's murder, Hill reportedly fainted. When police later questioned her, she denied that she was his mistress or that she was aware of his ties to the Genovese crime family.

The Kefauver Hearings

In 1951, Hill was subpoenaed to testify before the Kefauver hearings and denied having any knowledge of organized crime. She told investigators that her income came from gifts her boyfriends gave her because of her sexual prowess.

Later life and death

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) determined that Hill had spent $500,000 without paying taxes and sued her. Hill proceeded to marry well-known Sun Valleymarker ski instructor Hans Hauser (né Norman Johann Hauser, 1911-1974) and moved with him to Europe. The IRS seized her house and property and auctioned them off for back taxes.

Hill spent her remaining years in Europe. In her last years, when she was separated from her husband, she was supported by their only child, Peter Hauser, who worked as a waiter. She died of an overdose of sleeping pills, an apparent suicide, in Koppl, near Salzburg, Austriamarker on March 24, 1966 at the age of 49. Her body was found in a lone area by a bridge crossing the "Alterbach," a small stream. Hill is buried in Aigen Cemetery in Salzburgmarker, Austriamarker.

According to Andy Edmonds' biography Bugsy's Baby: The Secret Life of Mob Queen Virginia Hill, Hill's death was suspicious, since her body was found outdoors, near a brook, two days after she met with a former lover, former Genovese family boss Joe Adonis, who reportedly had her escorted home with two of his bodyguards. It was highly speculated by the Austrian media, which were rather exactly informed about her former relationship with Siegel, that she tried to get money by using her knowledge of the Italian-American Mafia and the Mexican drug cartels.

In popular culture

Hill was played by actress Dyan Cannon in the TV movie The Virginia Hill Story and by actress Annette Bening in the film Bugsy.

References

  1. Time magazine reported in its obituary of Hill on 1 April 1966, that Hill spent her time on the witness stand "boggling Senators with her full-grown curves and succinct explanation of just why men would lavish money on a hospitable girl from Bessemer, Ala."
  2. Compare the Salzburger Nachrichten, Salzburger Volksblatt (defunct since 1979) and the illustrated newspaper Bunte made by Burda - Offenburg in Germany from spring 1966.


Further reading

  • Edmonds, Andy. Bugsy's Baby : The Secret Life of Mob Queen Virginia Hill. Secaucus, New Jersey: Carol Publishing Group, 1993. ISBN 1559721642


External links




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