Jimmy Conway, also known as James Burke in real life, died of cancer in April 1996 while serving time at Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He was a notorious gangster and a key character in the film Goodfellas, based on the book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi.
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Summary of Jimmy Conway Cause of Death
|Full Name||James Burke (a.k.a. Jimmy the Gent)|
|Cause of Death||Cancer|
|Date of Death||April 1996|
|Location of Death||Roswell Park Cancer Institute|
|Imprisonment||Jimmy Conway was serving a 12-year sentence for conspiracy and an additional 20-year sentence for murder while in prison.|
|Parole Eligibility||Eligible for parole in March 2004, but did not live to see it.|
Jimmy Conway Cause of Death: The Real-Life Fate of the Goodfellas Character
Goodfellas, directed by Martin Scorsese, introduced audiences to a cast of notorious gangsters, including Jimmy Conway, portrayed by Robert De Niro. Based on the real-life gangster James Burke, Jimmy Conway’s character played a pivotal role in the film. But what happened to him in real life after the events of the movie?
In the movie, Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta, becomes an informant and enters the witness protection program to avoid jail time or being killed by Jimmy Conway and others. Henry’s testimonies lead to the arrests and convictions of Jimmy (James Burke) and Paul Cicero (Paul Sorvino). According to the movie’s title cards, Paulie died in the late 1980s in Forth Worth Federal Prison, while Jimmy was serving a 20-years-to-life sentence in New York and would be paroled in 2004.
In reality, Henry Hill provided enough information to incriminate Jimmy and Paul, leading to their imprisonment. Although Jimmy was involved in various criminal activities, including the infamous Lufthansa heist and multiple murders, he was ultimately convicted of conspiracy. In 1982, Jimmy received a 12-year prison sentence for his involvement in the 1978-79 Boston College basketball point-shaving scandal. Additionally, in 1985, Henry testified that Jimmy/James Burke had killed a drug dealer in 1979, resulting in a 20-year extension to his sentence. However, Jimmy’s parole in March 2004 never came to fruition.
Tragically, while serving time at the Wende Correctional Facility in New York, Jimmy was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in April 1996 at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Goodfellas’ Depiction of Jimmy Conway’s Life
While Goodfellas changed some details about Jimmy Conway’s life, such as his last name, there were other alterations made to the character’s story. For example, the Air France robbery depicted in the film differed from the actual events. In reality, the robbery involved extensive surveillance and exploiting the security guard’s weakness for women. The gang got him drunk, took him to a motel to meet a prostitute, and stole the keys to the vault from his pants.
The murder of Billy Batts, portrayed as impulsive violence from Tommy in the movie, had a more premeditated nature in real life. James Burke, not Tommy, was responsible for the murder. Batts had been in prison while Burke took over the loan shark business. When Batts was released, Burke didn’t want to give up the business, leading to a planned hit at Henry’s bar, The Suite. Batts was stabbed multiple times instead of being shot.
Jimmy “the Gent” Burke’s life has been portrayed in various other forms of media, including TV movies and documentaries. Actors such as John Mahoney and Donald Sutherland have portrayed him, and numerous books and documentaries have explored his criminal activities. Goodfellas successfully captured some of Jimmy Conway/James Burke’s significant moments, providing viewers with a glimpse into the life of a dangerous and complex man.
Continued Interest in the Legacy of Jimmy Conway
The story of Goodfellas and its portrayal of James Burke, known as Jimmy Conway in the film, has captured the imagination of audiences for decades. The enduring fascination with this character and the real-life events that inspired the movie continues to spark interest and speculation among fans and enthusiasts of gangster films.
One reason for the continued interest is the captivating performance of Robert De Niro, who brought Jimmy Conway to life on the big screen. De Niro’s portrayal of the charismatic and ruthless gangster resonated with audiences and solidified his reputation as one of the greatest actors of his generation.
In addition to De Niro’s performance, the compelling storytelling of Martin Scorsese played a crucial role in preserving the legacy of Jimmy Conway. Scorsese’s unique style of directing, coupled with Nicholas Pileggi’s gripping source material, created a cinematic masterpiece that stands the test of time.
Furthermore, the allure of organized crime and the darker side of human nature continue to captivate audiences. The exploration of guilt, redemption, and the Italian-American identity in films like Goodfellas taps into universal themes that resonate with viewers across generations.
The legacy of Jimmy Conway also extends beyond the realm of cinema. The real-life James Burke was a prominent figure in the criminal underworld. His involvement in high-profile heists, murders, and other criminal activities cemented his reputation as a dangerous and influential gangster.
While Goodfellas provided a glimpse into Jimmy Conway’s life, there are many aspects of his story that remain shrouded in mystery. The criminal underworld operates with a veil of secrecy, and the full extent of Jimmy’s activities may never be fully known.
1. What was Jimmy Conway’s real name?
Jimmy Conway’s real name was James Burke. He was also known as Jimmy the Gent.
2. Did James Burke go to jail?
Yes, James Burke, the real-life counterpart of Jimmy Conway, was sentenced to prison. He was convicted of conspiracy and served a 12-year sentence for his involvement in the Boston College basketball point-shaving scandal. He was also implicated in multiple other crimes.
3. How did Jimmy Conway die?
Jimmy Conway, or James Burke, passed away in April 1996 at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He was serving time at the Wende Correctional Facility in New York at the time of his death.
4. Was Jimmy Conway involved in the Lufthansa heist?
Yes, Jimmy Conway, inspired by the real-life James Burke, was involved in the notorious Lufthansa heist portrayed in Goodfellas. The heist was one of the largest cash robberies in U.S. history at the time.
5. How accurate was the portrayal of Jimmy Conway in Goodfellas?
While Goodfellas took some creative liberties and changed certain details, the portrayal of Jimmy Conway, played by Robert De Niro, captured the essence of the real-life gangster James Burke. The film depicted key moments and events from Burke’s criminal career.
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