Childhood & Early Life
Hill was born Onie Virginia Hill, on August 26, 1916, in Lipscomb, Alabama, to WM "Mack" Hill, a horse trader, and Margaret Hill. She was the seventh of the 10 children of her parents. Growing up amidst poverty, she, her mother, and her siblings were physically abused by her alcoholic father. Her parents separated when she was 8, and Hill accompanied her mother and her siblings to Marietta, Georgia.
Hill studied at the ‘Roberts Grammar School’ but quit studies after eighth grade. A teenaged Hill married George Randell in November, 1931, and 2 years later, she moved to Chicago in search of some work in the entertainment industry or in Chicago’s ‘World Fair’ (1933–1934). She divorced Randell in 1934. She worked as a waitress at a restaurant owned by the Chicago mafia and also earned extra money through prostitution.
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Life as an Organized Crime Associate
While working at the restaurant, Hill met Joseph Epstein, bookmaker and an associate of mafia financier Jake Guzik. Some reports state that she became his mistress, while others claim he was gay and financed her as his protégé. Through Epstein, she reached Chicago’s Italian–American organized-crime syndicate ‘Chicago Outfit.’ Soon, she became the “Mistress of the Mob” and their “bag girl,” or a courier who carried their stolen goods and cash across states.
Gaining the confidence of the mob, Hill worked in association with Al Capone’s cousin and bodyguard, Charles Fischetti. Subsequently, she was asked to find out secret information regarding New York’s Lucky Luciano mafia family and especially about Joe Adonis.
Hill became Adonis’s mistress and got involved in his gang’s gambling and money laundering rackets. In New York, she met another key member of the Luciano family, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, and the two had a brief liaison.
On the instructions of Adonis, Hill moved to Los Angeles, mingling with the elite and a lot of movie stars. Reportedly, she had brief affairs with noted film stars of that era. In Hollywood, she met Bugsy Siegel one again. He had moved there with his family. They rekindled their affair, resulting in Hill becoming his steady mistress.
She continued money laundering and carrying cash/merchandise for the mobsters. With Siegel, she set up drug-trafficking routes from Mexico, using her contacts and sex liaisons in Mexico, to establish smuggling of narcotics. It was rumored that she and Siegel had married secretly in Mexico.
Siegel was busy with his ambitious ‘Flamingo Hotel-Casino’ project in Las Vegas. Rumors claimed he had named it after Hill’s nickname, but there are many versions of the story. The project exceeded its budget, creating bad vibes between Siegel and the mafia bosses who were financing the hotel. When Siegel opened the hotel-casino in December 1946, it ran into losses. Thus, he closed it soon. He reopened it in early 1947. It slowly began showing profits, but the financers were not happy.
On June 20, 1947, Siegel was shot dead in Hill’s Beverly Hills home by an unknown assailant. Only a few days before the assassination, Hill had received orders and had left for Chicago and then for Europe. This gave rise to the speculation that she had an indication of the impending murder. No one was charged with the murder, and the case remained unsolved.
Hill continued to work for mobsters and often deposited their cash in Swiss banks. Reportedly, in the weeks following Siegel’s assassination, Hill made repeated suicide attempts. Soon, she was investigated for tax evasion.
In 1951, Hill was called to testify before the ‘Kefauver Committee,’ which was investigating organized crime figures of the country. At that time, Hill stayed in Spokane, Washington, with her husband, ski instructor Hans Hauser, and their newborn son. While talking about her wealth, she once said that the money was won in sports and that she had received other things as gifts from “fellas.” When asked about how the men had got their riches, she said she didn’t know “anything about anybody.”
On June 23, 1954, she was charged with tax evasion amounting to $161,000. Her house was seized and auctioned off to recover part of the amount that was due. Hill left the country to escape the charges.
She spent the rest of her life at various places in Europe, with her only son, Peter Hauser. Hill tried to ask Epstein and Adonis for money, but apparently did not receive any. Her son, who worked as a waiter, looked after her.
Family & Personal Life
Hill married George Randell in November 1931. They got divorced in 1934. On January 13, 1939, she married college football player Osgood Griffin. The marriage was annulled in June 1939. On January 20, 1940, she married rhumba dancer Carlos Valadez Gonzalez. They divorced in 1944. Hill married ski instructor Hans Hauser in March 1950. Their son, Peter Hauser, was born on November 20, 1950.
On March 24, 1966, Hill’s body was found by a brook in Koppl, Salzburg, Austria, with a suicide note stating that she had taken an overdose of sedatives to end her life. She was interred in ‘Aigen Cemetery,’ Salzburg.