- Film & TV
- 27 May 22
His fiancee, Jacy Nittolo, was on location at the time of his death, Ray Liotta's publicist confirmed.
New Jersey actor Ray Liotta, known for portraying hustler-turned-mob rat Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese's GoodFellas, has died aged 67.
Publicist Jennifer Allen told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor died Wednesday night or early Thursday in his sleep in his hotel room while in the Dominican Republic while filming Dangerous Waters. His fiancée, Jacy Nittolo, was by his side.
Born in Newark, New Jersey in December 1954, Liotta's first break came with the role of Ray Sinclair in Something Wild in 1986, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.
After being abandoned at an orphanage as a baby, he was adopted at six months by township clerk Mary and auto-parts store owner Alfred Liotta.
Liotta also was memorable as the disgraced Chicago White Sox baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in the Kevin Costner starrer Field of Dreams (1989); and as the corrupt cop Matt Wozniak on the 2016-18 NBC cop drama Shades of Blue, opposite Jennifer Lopez.
“Ray was the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside,” Lopez wrote on Twitter, paying tribute to her former co-star.
GoodFellas (1990) was based on Nicholas Pileggi’s first book, 1985’s Wiseguy: Life in a Mafia Family, which revolved around Hill, a street-level hustler in New York City who decides that the only way to get out of the mob alive is to snitch on his cohorts in the Lucchese crime family. “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster," his character drawled.
"I’m absolutely shocked and devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of Ray Liotta," director Martin Scorsese said, in a statement shared with US media last night.
"He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor. Playing Henry Hill in Goodfellas was a tall order, because the character had so many different facets, so many complicated layers, and Ray was in almost every scene of a long, tough shoot.
"He absolutely amazed me, and I’ll always be proud of the work we did together on that picture," Scorsese added. "My heart goes out to his loved ones, and it aches for his loss, way too early."
Meanwhile, Liotta's GoodFellas co-star, Robert De Niro, also shared his condolences: "I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing. He is way too young to have left us."
Lorraine Bracco, who played his wife in GoodFellas, paid tribute to him on Twitter.
“I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray,” she wrote. “I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favourite movie is GoodFellas. Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same … Ray Liotta.”
I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray.
I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas. Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same…Ray Liotta. pic.twitter.com/3gNjJFTAne
— Lorraine Bracco (@Lorraine_Bracco) May 26, 2022
Liotta won an Emmy Award in 2005 for his guest turn as an alcoholic ex-con who comes to County General on the NBC drama ER, an episode which was shot in real time, then later made fun of that performance in Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee Movie (2007).
In terms of crime stories, Ray Liotta was unmatched. He narrated Inside the Mafia for the National Geographic Channel in 2005 and played shady cops in Unlawful Entry (1992), Cop Land (1997) and Narc (2002) and as the voice of the mobster Tommy Vercetti in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
He had recently scored big-screen roles once again in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (2019), Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move (2021) and Alan Taylor’s The Many Saints of Newark (2021) — as two members of the Moltisanti family in the Sopranos prequel — and a gig as a villain on the third season of the Amazon series Hanna.
He starred alongside Taron Egerton on the upcoming Apple TV series Black Bird. Other film credits include 2001's Hannibal, 2006's Smokin' Aces, 2012's The Place Beyond the Pines and 2014's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.
The likes of Kevin Costner, The Muppets, 50 Cent, Danny Trejo and more also shared their condolences.
Devastated to hear the news of Ray Liotta’s passing. While he leaves an incredible legacy, he’ll always be “Shoeless Joe Jackson” in my heart. What happened that moment in the film was real. God gave us that stunt. Now God has Ray. pic.twitter.com/JQmk1PsuSK
— Kevin Costner & MW (@modernwest) May 26, 2022
We will never forget the great times we had working with our friend Ray Liotta on Muppets From Space and Muppets Most Wanted. A tough guy on screen, Ray was one of the sweetest, funniest souls we’ve ever known. Rest in Peace, Ray.
— The Muppets (@TheMuppets) May 26, 2022
Ray Liotta could play in Good Fellas as a vicious gangster and could play as a lovable character in the Muppets. He was amazing actor, man, and great friend. pic.twitter.com/2hzErLHKO3
— Danny Trejo (@officialDannyT) May 26, 2022
R.I.P my condolences to Ray Liotta’s close friends and family. pic.twitter.com/SRrlJMpRpw
— 50cent (@50cent) May 26, 2022
Although its been years since we worked together, each time we crossed each other’s paths, you were always sincere, kind, gracious, and a loving gentleman. You will be sorely missed, Ray Liotta. Fly with the Angels you insanely talented human being. You touched my life. pic.twitter.com/0tACq6gVdi
— Giancarlo Esposito (@quiethandfilms) May 26, 2022
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