By the end of her life, Virginia Hill had increasingly become known as the "Queen of the Mob." As Witness will affirm, reference to Queen of the Mob should not be taken as Hill being second-string the Mafia men who are better known.
Virginia Hill was born on August 26, 1916 in Lipscomb, Alabama, a village with a few hundred souls that organized only six years before her birth. When a search is done for Lipscomb "notables," a solitary name typically pops up: Virginia Hill.
Virginia, the seventh of 10 children, was christened Onie Virginia Hill. All 10 children trouped to Marietta, Georgia when Virginia was six and her parents split-up. Virginia married 16-year-old George Randell when she was 15.
In 1933, two years after her marriage, Virginia hopped a train to Chicago with her husband in tow. She separated from him once in the Windy City.
17-year-old Virginia's goal was to get into the pornography business. Not immediately cast in any blue-film roles, Virginia snared employment as a shimmy dancer at the Chicago's World Fair, the Century of Progress.
Virginia is thought to have supplemented her income by working as a call girl. During those times when the calls weren't rolling in, she turned to street corners in Chicago, evidently turning tricks for couple of coins.
She eventually landed a job as a short-skirted waitress at San Carlo Ristorante, nestled in the World Fair's Italian Village. Perhaps playing to a cliché, the Italian Village exhibit was run by the mob and served as a hangout for the post-Capone Capone Gang. (Al Capone was in federal prison, his underboss becoming the head of the crew.)
Not long after she began was a San Carlo Ristorante, Virginia Hill began what would be a life-long relationship with Joe Epstein. It was Epstein that would facilitate what would become a close association between the girl from Alabama and some of the most powerful organized crime figures in the United States. In the end, Virginia Hill would become indispensable to mob powerhouses. In turn, male masters of the mob would become invaluable to her in a way never before seen in regard to a woman thought to be involved in organized criminal activity.
A good amount has been made of the relationship between Virginia Hill and Ben Siegel. Much of what has been written about this connection is contradictory and confusing.
The stark reality is that Virginia Hill may have harbored at least some incapacity to develop true loving connections with other human beings. Having conceded this possible point, it is clear that Virginia Hill enjoyed spending time with Benny Siegel. With that fairly noted, it is also reasonably likely that she permitted the stage to be set for Siegel's murder in the living of her own Beverly Hills home.
In Witness, the character of Virgina Hill best describes her role in the birth of Vegas as a gambling mecca:
Some folks insist I went to Vegas following Ben like I was one of those fluffy tiny dogs with the pointy noses and beady eyeballs. Other fellows were sure I was sent to Vegas by the Outfit in order so I could keep me eyes on what Ben was doin’. Truth is, I ended up in Vegas out of a combination of a bit of both and because I needed to make some cash money myself.
Ben, he went to Vegas hisself ‘cuz he ended up taking the Flamingo hotel construction mess out of the hands of the fellow that first started building the place. ‘Course, Ben didn’t have his own dough to take on the Flamingo. He was bankrolled by Myer Lansky and Myer’s associates.
What you need to know about the Flamingo, that was the first joint built on the Strip. Hell, there wouldn’t be a Strip unless the Flamingo was built up there in the first place. Yeah, yeah. Gambling was coming to that miserable dessert piece of feces. But, the casinos, they was being build downtown, around the courthouse of all damn things.
Throughout her adult life, Virginia Hill never lost her love of Hollywood. She ultimately would move into a home in Beverly Hills that she shared with Benjamin Siegel. This would be the residence in which Ben Siegel violently would meet his ultimate demise.