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The character of Jimmy Conway, played by actor Robert DeNiro in the 1990 Martin Scorcese directed, Academy Award-winning film GoodFellas, was strongly based on the life and criminal career of Irish born mobster and Lucchese crime family associate and Brooklyn native Jimmy Burke (born Jimmy Conway), also a friend and criminal cohort of noted fellow Luchese associate and Brooklynite Henry Hill (himself of both Irish and Italian background}, who provided the story of their criminal careers for the GoodFellas film.
Jimmy is present when Billy Batts comes to the bar, mocking Tommy's youthful duties as a shoe-shine boy:"Now go home and get your fucking shinebox!" Tommy, enraged leaves and returns to the bar with a revolver. Tommy (aided by Conway) beat Batts savagely to a pulp, later burying his body.Jimmy organizes the Lufthansa Heist. He grows paranoid when the associates begin buying exotics with the money. Stacks (based on Parnell Steven "Stacks" Edwards), is then shot multiple times by Tommy in his apartment for not delivering the truck in the right place, Conway also organizes the murder of Morris "Morrie" Kessler, (based on Martin Krugman), murdered by Tommy in the car for pestering Jimmy over the loot. The bloodied bodies of Johnny Roastbeef (based on Angelo Sepe) and his wife are found in their cadillac, the bodies of Jo Buddah (based on Louis Cafora), and Frenchy (based on Robert McMahon) are found dead to be discovered by sanitation workers, and Frank "Frankie" Carbone is found frozen in a meat-truck. Soon after, Tommy is supposed to become a "made man" in the Lucchesse Family, but is instead murdered by the elder members of the Family, Vinnie (based on Thomas Agro) and Paulie's brother, Tuddy Cicero, as revenge for killing Billy Batts.
Jimmy and Henry are arrested for roughing up a man, but soon released. Henry, after being arrested the second time, this time for drug charges, meets Conway at a diner and considers he and his family are marked for death. Hill enters the Witness Protection Program and testifies against Paulie and Jimmy.Kathy Burke, Jimmy Burke's daughter, allegedly attempted to force the GoodFellas production company to pay $100,000 for permission to use the name 'Burke', so they used Jimmy's mother's maiden name 'Conway' instead.