Virginia Hill was born in
1916 in Marrietta, GA. She was the seventh of ten children. Virginia
was the victim of her father’s abuse, especially when he was drunk.
At the age of seven, she threw a pan of hot grease on him. He never abused
Virginia developed into a
tall attractive redhead. She used her body to get what she needed from
At 17, she arrived in Chicago
in 1933. She worked as a waitress at a mob owned restaurant. She
caught the attention of gangster Joey “Ep” Epstein.
Ep operated the Chicago area
gambling for the Al Capone gang. Hill impressed him with her determination
and wisecracking antics, he also admired her independence. She had useful
qualities for his organization.
She was a woman who was smart
but not hungry, she could be trusted with discretion, money and inside information.
Ep was in need of a courier
and Hill fit the bill because she was unknown to the police. She was also
young and willing.
Ep started Hill off at the
racetrack where she was instructed to place bets on various horses. The
first horse won $16,000. Ep gave her ten percent of the take.
Hill became a regular at the
track and once pocketed $200,000. After the success of this operation,
Ep promoted her to work the higher-stake rackets.
Hill began transporting cash,
diamonds and furs across state lines while Ep groomed her on diction and appearance.
Ep introduced her to the upper-echelon
gangsters as he smiled his approval in the background. Hill would become
a high earner for the mob. She moved into a luxury apartment and Ep gave
her a monthly allowance of $3,000.
Ep never tried to consummate
his relationship with Hill because he was a closeted homosexual. He had
to be discreet because such a lifestyle in the underworld could result in death
in the 1930’s.
Mob history was made in 1935
when Virginia Hill became the first and only woman ever to be invited into the
“back room” to discuss takeovers, hits and business ventures.
Hill learned how the mob infiltrated the unions and corrupted the politicians.
She knew how the books were juggled, how much money had been cleaned
and what business ventures were fronts.
Hill gained the respect of
fellow mobsters and earned a reputation as a top-notch money launderer.
She had finally gained the acceptance she craved. Her ties were solidified
which allowed her to become the most dangerous woman that the underworld had
She proved her loyalty by
fencing stolen property, laundering money without stealing any for herself.
Ep moved Virginia into bigger
and more dangerous territory. She became a liaison with the New York’s
Luciano family, which was in the midst of a war against Capone’s Chicago
Siegel was a gangster who met regularly with Joey Adonis. They shared
an intense hatred for one another because they were both rising stars in the
mob. Adonis was dating Virginia Hill at the time, Siegel planned to humiliate
him by making a pass at Hill.
Siegel approached Adonis and
Hill at the bar, he ignored Adonis and openly flirted with Hill. Adonis
became outraged, Hill was intrigued, she hooked up with Siegel later that evening
and spent the whole night having sex with him. The following week, Siegel
left his wife and two daughters and moved to Hollywood.
Hill returned to Georgia and
purchased her mother a magnificent home. Her mother never questioned where
and how Virginia obtained the money.
In the summer of 1938, Hill’s
younger brother Chick moved into her Hollywood home. Virginia dined at
all the top spots where she left $100 dollar tips. She made the gossip
columns when she threw a drink in actor’s Errol Flynn’s face.
Meanwhile, Bugsy Siegel moved
into a 35-room mansion. He courted actresses, Jean Harlow, Sophie Tucker
and Mae West. Within six months of his arrival, Siegel had become a one-man
Mafia terrorist and crowned himself “King Of Corruption.”
Siegel took over city hall and local politicians consulted him before they made
Hill and Siegel had a mutual
friend, actor George Raft. They spent two weekends per month at Raft’s
house where they would show up and disappear for several days. They also
joined forces at the racetrack as they played the horses with actors Cary Grant,
Gary Cooper and Clark Gable.
Hill invited Siegel to Mexico
where she introduced him to her Mexican contacts in the drug trade. They
also vacationed in Tijuana and financed several Mexican casinos with mob money.
In exchange for Hill bringing
Siegel into the center of the Chicago drug racket, Siegel cut Chicago in on
a piece of the action in Tijuana.
Hill had cemented her position
in organized crime with this maneuver. She was the most trusted and highly
placed woman in the underworld. Her elevation in the mob also put her
on equal footing with many of the men, something no other woman has been able
to do before or has done since.
Hill and Siegel fell in love
and moved into a magnificent mansion. The home was decorated with Tiffany
vases and lamps and they drove Cadillac convertibles.
Virginia arrived in Miami
Beach and bought a mansion that was previously owned by newspaper tycoon Randolph
In March 1942, an article
appeared in the L.A. Times portraying Hill as a calculating woman with a backbone
of steel who tossed around $100 bills as if she had a money machine stashed
in her bedroom.
Siegel went to Las Vegas,
when he returned, he told Virginia, he was going to build a hotel/casino on
some land that he had just purchased. He sold shares in the hotel to associates
and he named the hotel “The Flamingo Hotel & Casino.”
Siegel was spending outrageous
amounts for construction and design, he was way over budget and in debt, the
mob called a meeting.
The Flamingo opened in December
1946. It was a big rainstorm, few people attended. The mob was furious.
Siegel’s fate was sealed at a meeting held on the last week of May 1947.
Siegel was killed on June
20th, 1947. He was shot numerous times. Hill was in Paris shopping when
she got the word of Bugsy’s murder. She didn’t return for
the funeral. Only three people attended, his wife and two daughters.
The mob turned its back on “The Man Who Created Las Vegas.”
The mob distanced themselves
from Virginia Hill because of her close association with Siegel. Ep didn’t
return her calls and she received brush-offs from several mobsters.
Hill stayed in Paris and became
involved with a French heir. After they broke-up, Hill returned to the
States and moved to Sun Valley, Idaho. Ep sent her $15,000 to get settled.
In February 1950, she met
a tall and handsome ski instructor named Hans Hauser. They married the
following month. News of Hill’s marriage made headlines around the
Hill was served with papers
informing her that a formal tax lien for the amount of $161,000 was being filed
against her for back taxes; her home was also seized.
No one in the mafia had sympathy
for Hill especially when she began telling reporters about her secret diary
that had been safely tucked away in a safe deposit box in Chicago. She
hinted that the diary named gangsters as well as some highly placed government
officials. She called the diary her “insurance.”
Hill would leave the country
with her husband and give birth to a son they named Peter. Virginia and
family traveled in two Mercedes Benz’s, paid cash for everything and Virginia
wore designer clothes and furs.
The IRS issued a wanted poster
on Virginia Hill for tax evasion. The stress took its toll and Hill began
drinking heavily as her cash dwindled.
Hill returned to the United
States to try and work out her tax problem and she wanted to hook-up with her
mob associates. It took her awhile to realize, she had no one left to
come home to.
The government agreed to drop
the tax related charges if Hill testified against her mob buddies. A tragedy
derailed the deal, the judge was killed in a freak accident. Hill returned
Hill became a loose cannon.
She flew to Naples to see mobster and ex-boyfriend Joey Adonis on March
22, 1966. They ate dinner and reminisced over drinks. Adonis gave
her $10,000 in cash, she also agreed to never contact Adonis again.
She left his home the next
morning, Adonis ordered two of his bodyguards to accompany Hill to make sure
‘she arrives safely.” She climbed into the Mercedes with the
two men and drove off.
Virginia Hill was found dead
on March 24, 1966, near a brook in Koppl, Austria. Her death was ruled
as a suicide but it was largely assumed that she was murdered. Hill was
On the day of Virginia’s
death, Ep and a friend went to the bank to retrieve Virginia’s diary.
Joe ‘Ep’ Epstein
died of a heart attack in 1976. He was 75.
Joe Adonis disappeared from
sight after 1975. There is no record of his death in America, nor has
any inquiry of his death turned up in Italy. If he were alive, he would
be over 100 years old.
Virginia Hill’s husband
Hans Hauser died in Austria in the 1970’s.
Virginia’s son Peter
Hauser is living in Europe. His current whereabouts are unknown.
Baby, The Secret Life of Mob Queen Virginia Hill” by Andy Edmonds.