Top Gangster Wives in the Movies

Top Gangster Wives- 3 of the Most Unforgettable Gangsters Wives in the Movies and the Lessons They Taught Us

Money, power and respect aside, being married to the game –or the men of the game, has its consequential highs and lows. It’s almost inevitable. One minute things seemingly are good and the next things are bad– all bad. It’s just the way the game goes.

It takes a certain type of lady to attract a big money hustler, although in the end that attraction can potentially turn fatale. The once glitzy fairytales become grisly nightmares within the “roll of the dice”.

Many crime fiction movies portray the wives of hustlers merely as objectified trophies with little to no personality or relevance to the storyline. Ever so often a Hollywood crime flick comes along and genuinely exploits the authentic essence of what an underworld union is really all about.

Few Hollywood actresses of today’s time have been able to successfully pull in the viewing audience and connect their character in such an unforgettable way that gives an authentic close up perspective of ladies married to the streets. The following actresses have done just that –creating street classics that still resonate with audiences years later and for years to come.

As we reminisce, the leading ladies of these films give us an inside look into the pitfalls of 3 infamous wives or girlfriends in movies. The unlucky demises of these women substantiate the stiff harsh reality that all the diamonds and furs in the world hold no value behind prison walls. These few mordant reminders help solidify that not even power, wealth and prestige can conquer the belly of the beast, and not even impassioned, steamy hot love affairs can unhand the grips of the unrelenting game. Especially the drug game.

These films were made to tell the story of men of the belly, however they also demonstrate how in more cases than not, the women in their lives are usually left holding the bag when the dust settles –and most times its empty.

Check out the stories of 3 of the most unforgettable gangsters wives in movies. 


1387344954_StoneGinger McKenna

Ginger, portrayed in the film by the legendary actress Sharon Stone, was the queen of the Las Vegas casinos in the 70’s and early 80’s. Ginger had already made a name for herself as a lady about the town prior to meeting and marrying Sam “Ace” Rothstein, portrayed by Robert Dinero. Sam, a well-connected Jewish handicapper and gambler appointed by the mob to oversee the operations of the fictional Tangiers casino. Sam had boatloads of cash –the first requirement to even getting close to a girl like Ginger. Over time Sam fell for the big money making Ginger and wasted no time making her his “Mrs. Sam Rothstein”. Their first date he asked to marry her.

Ginger seemingly had the game all figured out which inevitably drew in men of power. She knew how to get money and everybody loved her. Sam immediately lavished her with all of the trips, furs and jewels that his millions could buy but Ginger’s nasty drug habit and “pimp ex-boyfriend” would eventually initiate her unraveling. She and Sam’s marriage was extremely volatile which resulted in frequent break ups and violent public confrontations.

In the film we watched the steady decline of Ginger Rothstein, a once ravenous beauty queen-esque wife of a wealthy casino runner, to a desperate train “wreck-less” drug addict who would had an illicit affair with her husband’s best friend, putting all of their lives in jeopardy with the mob, and drawing a deadly wedge between the two men. The feds would eventually take down the entire Tangiers Empire and she would go down with it.

Downfall: In the end, the game would devour Ginger. Sam eventually divorced her and took his money with him. The glamourous life as a she once knew was over. She died lonely and broke in a cheap LA motel of a heroin overdose.


Screen shot 2011-06-13 at 3.17.18 PMKaren Hill

Karen Hill, portrayed in the film by mafia film maven Lorraine Bracco of Sopranos, was inspired by a real life mob story. Karen was a glamourous wholesome Jewish girl raised with traditional morals and values. She met Henry Hill (a street soldier for the Lucchese mob family) on a blind double date as a favor to a friend. Wedding bells didn’t exactly chime on their first night out but she reluctantly agreed to a second double date, only to be stood up. Embarrassed and humiliated, Karen made Henry’s friend take her to his hangout where she scolded him in front of his buddies for making a fool out of her. Karen’s bodacious retaliation intrigued Henry and the two fell in love. She was probably the first girl to stand up to him.

Being with Henry exposed Karen to a life of crime in which she wasn’t accustomed to. She, like many other women who fall for the street guys, soon fell in love with the money the lifestyle provided and Henry wasted no time lavishing her with fancy dinners and diamonds to hook her in. Against her family’s well wishes, they eventually dated then married.

Synonymous with the real life gangsters’ wives fashion, Karen rode with Henry throughout all of the game’s ups and downs. After all, even if she had tried to leave, he probably would have killed her. Frequent lengthy prison stints, multiple extramarital affairs, abuse and instability plagued the couple’s marriage and unfortunately after things were said and done she would lose the most as a result.

Downfall: In the end, Karen’s downfall would come courtesy of none other than her husband who ended up turning snitch on the mob after he was pinched for drug trafficking. As with so many times before, Karen Hill stood by her man, not only putting her own life in jeopardy with the mob, but also alienating her beloved family and leaving behind her life to enter into witness protection — in the name of love.



Keisha, portrayed in the film by amateur actress Taral Hicks, was the fierce and well respected girlfriend of a New York drug dealer named Tommy “Buns” Bundy, portrayed by rapper DMX. Little is known of Keisha and how she met Tommy, but judging by their chemistry the two had seemingly been together for quite some time.  Keisha’s no nonsense swagger pulled in high rollers. She just had that “thing” that all the “dope boys” loved about her.

A tall beautiful round the way girl who wasn’t afraid to bring the drama to Tommy when he got out of line, Keisha had her share of insecurities within the relationship. Most of their fights stemmed as a result of his infidelities or her suspicions of his infidelities. She perhaps had bigger balls than most of the men in Tommy’s circle and was known to spazz out on anyone who got wrong, including his gangster friends. Tommy was a short tempered vigilante gun slinger who would shoot to kill with little hesitation. He and Keisha were hood royalty.

Keisha, fed up with the heat that came with the lifestyle, wanted to leave the relationship but she was in too deep with the man she loved. Tommy kept his beloved “Keish” on a short leash and laced her with all of the materialistic things his drug money could buy. In most of the film, Keisha was often holed up in her glamourous upscale mansion (assumingly funded by her man’s ill-gotten gains) waiting for her beloved Tommy to get home. As his cocaine operation grew across the east coast, Tommy’s boys began getting pinched undoubtedly bringing heat to Tommy. Even though the feds were closing in, she loved him and couldn’t leave. Not only would she and Tommy’s relationship, full of fiery screaming arguments about other women and passionate make up sex, ultimately crumble and she would also go down in the flames.

Downfall:  In the end, Tommy’s drug trafficking and murders would get him indicted which took down the majority of his inner circle. In the film’s end, Keisha was arrested in a raid to capture Tommy. Tommy had gone out on the lamb leaving her to fend for herself. Little is known about what happened to Keisha after the final scene showed her being released from jail but we can only assume her glamourous fairytale had come to an end.

Written By Brandy Cavalli – The Pen Hustler