Skip to main content

You don’t have to be a psychic to see bad things ahead for the main characters in Goodfellas (1990). While the cold-blooded execution of Tommy DeVito (Joe Pesci) represented the worst-case scenario for this group, you knew the other characters also weren’t going to live happily ever after.

For main character/narrator Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), the big question was who would catch him red-handed first. Hill’s drug business didn’t have the approval of his boss Paulie (Paul Sorvino), so one serious threat came from inside. Then there were the federal officers on his tail.

So when Hill begins noticing a helicopter circling above him, he has good reason for concern. But that doesn’t stop Hill from setting up his latest shipment, which he’ll send with his preferred carrier, Lois the family babysitter.

In the actual version of events (much of Goodfellas really happened), Hill did have a blond drug mule who was a friend of the family. And she acted very much like Lois does in the movie on the day Hill got busted.

Henry Hill had a drug carrier who sometimes traveled with a baby as seen in ‘Goodfellas’

Henry Hill and Ray Liotta
Henry Hill and Ray Liotta | Rebecca Sapp/WireImage

In Goodfellas, viewers see Hill’s lucrative drug operation pick up steam toward the end of the movie. He works with his own side crew on the venture. The cast includes Sandy (Debi Mazar), Hill’s girlfriend who helps package the drugs.

Sandy’s real-life counterpart was a woman named Robin Cooperman, and Hill described their relationship very much like you see in Goodfellas. And the drug courier named Lois (played by Welker White) doesn’t differ very much from the character on which she was based.

For example, in Goodfellas source book Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family, Hill describes Lois as “a friend of the family,” so you could certainly imagine her watching the Hill children at times. (In the film, she’s a babysitter.) And Lois, whose real name was Judy Wicks, would carry a baby on certain trips.

Most of all, Hill valued his courier’s look. “She looked like a Kansas preacher’s daughter,” Hill said in Wiseguy. “Skinny, dirty-blond hair, dumb pink-and-blue hat and crummy Dacron clothes out of the Sears catalogue.” As in the film, that “dumb” hat turns out to be a major nuisance for Hill.

Hill’s drug courier also used his house phone to make arrangements for her heroin drop

'Goodfellas' leads
Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci pose for a ‘Goodfellas’ publicity shot in 1990. | Warner Brothers/Getty Images

‘Goodfellas’: How the ‘Stacks’ Edwards Character Matched His Real-Life Counterpart

While Hill loses control of his life in Goodfellas, he still has enough sense to work according to his system. That system included avoided drug-related calls on his home phone. Hill knew drug agents or the FBI had likely tapped his line. Helicopter or not, he didn’t want to telegraph his moves.

The Goodfellas scene, in which Hill calls to tell his courier to make arrangements from a payphone, happened in real life. And Judy (Lois in the film) indeed told Hill to calm down. After all, she knew better than to make a flight reservation and contact the Pittsburgh buyer from Hill’s phone. Then she did the opposite.

“She made a noise like I was some kind of idiot picking on her about things she already knew,” Hill recalled in Wiseguy. (He didn’t call her “a little hick” in the book.) “And what did she do? She used the phone in my house. Now the cops know everything.”

If that weren’t bad enough, Judy also insisted on going to her home in Rockaway (a minimum 30-minute drive from Hill’s house) to get her “lucky hat.” Hill couldn’t believe it, but he agreed. “I mean, she’s insisting,” he said in Wiseguy. When they went outside to begin their journey, the cops were waiting.