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2022 | FACTBOOK 33
GEORGIA MEMORIAL PARK
FUNERAL HOME & CEMETERY WINKENHOFER CHAPEL
obsessed with the mail arriving. One day, she and Abbott were sitting
in their Brumby rockers on the front porch when the mail arrived.
Hill tore open a shoebox and inside were several hundred dollar bills
wrapped in newspapers. “I was beginning to think Joe forgot about
me,” she said, referring to Joe Epstein, the bigtime Chicago racketeer
who supplied Hill with money for some untold reason her whole life.
She later bought her mother a big house at the corner of Church
Street and Frances Drive, which was once the home of Dr. Ralph
Fowler. When he found out that it was Hill who wanted to buy the
home, he kept raising the price, hoping to discourage her.
“Unperturbed, Virginia reached into her pocketbook, took out a
roll of greenbacks that would choke a cow, and started counting out
$11,500 in cash,” Kinney wrote.
Ward Watkins and his wife, also named Virginia, lived next door
and this Virginia answered the phone and door for weeks as simply
Mrs. Watkins, saying she feared she might get “rubbed out” for
saying her name was Virginia. One day, the doorbell rang and it
was the famous actor John Carroll, asking if Virginia was there, for
which she was finally agreeable to answer, “yes.” She recalled how
handsome he was, and how he and the other Virginia spent the day
riding around Marietta in her convertible.
Hill was known for waking up early and, clad in her signature halters,
shorts and bare feet, ride her horse up Church Street, through the Square,
down Cherokee Street and back, causing many of the men in town to get
to work on the Square much earlier than usual. She would also roller skate
those streets often, adding only leather knee covers to protect her legs.
After Bugsy Siegel was murdered, she was subpoenaed and showed
up for questioning in a $5,000 mink cape, broad-brimmed hat and silk
gloves. Some described her as the “star witness.” She evaded questions
from the committee about her organized crime associations. She gave
vague answers and artfully lied about the origins of the tens of thousands
in cash she had Epstein hold for her in a safe deposit box. The
money was from her winnings betting on the horses, she explained. Hill
also claimed the “fellas” she knew, including Siegel, simply sent her gifts
and money along the way.
Kinney said out-of-town editors were ringing the MDJ at all hours
after Siegel’s death, to see if she had arrived in Marietta yet.
There were also rumors — perhaps started by Kinney himself — that
he could be claimed as one of her many paramours. In one of his columns,
he coined her “America’s highest paid playgirl,” to which she told
Kinney that he should have added “And also the best.”
When she fled to Austria with her new husband, Hans Hauser, a
German newspaper reported that the “Gangster Moll” had arrived and
wrote negatively of her. When the reporter went to her house to interview
her afterward, she hit him over the head with a tennis racket.
She eventually committed suicide via pills, writing in an apparent
suicide note that she was just tired of living anymore, though some
believe she was force-fed pills by the mob to keep her quiet once and
for all. Who knows how many stories were buried with Virginia Hill
— and Bill Kinney, too.