Birth: August 26, 1916 – Alabama
Death: March 24, 1966 – Austria
Virginia Hill was a US mob courier who was famous for being the steady girlfriend of Hollywood gangster Bugsy Siegel, following the breakdown of his marriage. Virginia Hill was born 1916 in Lipscomb, Alabama, one of 10 siblings. The family later moved to Marietta, Georgia. Her mother later left her to take care of other children.
At the age of 17, Hill moved to Chicago to work as a prostitute for 1933 World’s Fair and later became a waitress. Later she met a gangster named Joseph Epstein, lieutenant of mafia financier Jake Guzik, and became his mistress and party hostess. She dated Frank Costello, Frank Nitti, Tony Accardo and Joe Adonis. In the process she met the members of the gang of Al Capone. She also became a “bag woman”, and squirrelled funds into Swiss bank accounts for Benjamin Siegel. She later denied it, but she had bought a new home for her family in Marietta for $10,000 – in cash. In the 1940s Hill moved to California, met Bugsy Siegel and, in turn, became his most steady mistress. Reputedly they fought as much as they made love, but Siegel did not stop his womanizing. There are rumors that they were secretly married in Mexico but Siegel never divorced his wife Esta. Siegel’s nickname for Hill was “the Flamingo,” for her skill at fellatio (oral sex).
Hill maintained a lavish lifestyle also in Hollywood, bought her own mansion in Beverly Hills and entertained Hollywood celebrities there. Reputedly Hill blackmailed Hollywood celebrities to pay her to keep their private vices secret. Siegel got into trouble with one of the East Coast bosses when his Las Vegas project, The Flamingo, did not turn a profit fast enough. The East Coast mob also suspected that Siegel used Hill to transfer the money to a Swiss bank account, serving as only his courier this time. After one of their fights, Hill left for Paris on June 10, 1947 – ten days before Siegel was shot to death in her mansion. Reputedly, when she heard of the murder she fainted. When police later questioned her, she denied that she was his mistress or that she was aware of his mob connections. She claimed that “His mistress was that Las Vegas Hotel”. When someone later suggested that she had helped the Mafia to engineer his murder, she was indignant.
In 1951, Hill was summoned to testify for the Kefauver hearings and denied having knowledge of Mafia deals. She told investigators that her income came from gifts her boyfriends gave her due to her prowess in oral sex. (As Time magazine reported in its obituary of Hill on 1 April 1966, 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.”) The IRS determined that Hill had spent $500,000 without paying taxes and sued her. Hill proceeded to marry a well-known Sun Valley ski instructor Hans Hauser (né Norman Johann Hauser, 1911-1974) and moved with him to Europe. The IRS auctioned her house and property to pay for back taxes. Hill spent her remaining years in Europe. In her last years, when she was separated from her husband, her only child, Peter Hauser, who worked as a waiter, supported her. She died of an overdose of sleeping pills, an apparent suicide, in Koppel, a town near Salzburg, Austria on 24 March 1966. She was 49. According to the Andy Edmonds biography “Bugsy’s Baby: The Secret Life of Mob Queen Virginia Hill”, however, Hill’s death was suspicious, since her body was found outdoors, near a brook, two days after she met with a former lover, gangster Joe Adonis, who reportedly had her escorted home with two of his bodyguards. She is buried in Aigen Cemetery in Salzburg, Austria.