‘Goodfellas’ Star and Emmy Winner Ray Liotta is Dead at 67

Liotta, who created a new kind of American gangster on film, is survived by his fiancée Jacy Nittolo, 47, and daughter Karsen, 23
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Ray Liotta has died at 67.

The Goodfellas and Field of Dreams actor died in his sleep while in the Dominican Republic shooting the film Dangerous Waters.

Liotta leaves behind his daughter, Karsen, and was engaged to be married to Jacy Nittolo, People reports.

While Liotta will always be remembered for his once-in-a-lifetime performance in Martin Scorsese’s hit 1990 American mob film Goodfellas, the New Jersey-born actor’s career covered five decades and over 120 roles, most recently Marriage Story and The Many Saints of Newark—although he missed being in The Sopranos itself with fellow Goodfellas alums Lorraine Bracco, Michael Imperioli, and Frank Vincent. It was Liotta’s role as a dying patient in NBC’s drama ER that earned him an Emmy Award in 2005.

(L-R) Ray Liotta, Martin Scorcese and Paul Sorvino attend the screening of “Goodfellas” on September 17, 1990 at Mann Bruin Theater in Westwood, California. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Liotta had been approaching renewal of his career in film recently, wrapping up the Elizabeth Banks-directed Cocaine Bear and set to star in the Working Title film The Substance alongside Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley.

He was also executive producing the A&E docuseries Five Families, about the rise, the fall, and the legacy of New York’s Genovese, Gambino, Bonnano, Colombo, and Lucchese mafia families.

Liotta received two SAG Award nominations for the 2015 miniseries Texas Rising and the 1998 telefilm The Rat Pack, in which he played legendary singer and mafia buddy Frank Sinatra opposite Don Cheadle, Joe Mantegna, and Angus Macfayden.

Born in Newark on Dec. 18, 1954, Raymond Allen Liotta was adopted by Mary and Alfred Liotta from an orphanage when he was six months old.

In an emotional interview with Larry King in 2014, Liotta opened up about his adoption and eventually tracking down his biological mother.

“I used to wear being adopted on my sleeve, ‘how could you give up a kid,’ that sort of thing,” Liotta said. “but realized when I met her that she had really valid reasons.”

Liotta attended Union High School and continued his education at the University of Miami, where he studied acting and graduated from in 1978. He spent his years after college working as a bartender on Broadway, prior to landing his first role as nice guy Joey Perrini on Another World.

His first iconic role followed this, when Liotta played a ghostly version of disgraced Chicago “Black Sox” fielder Shoeless Joe Jackson in 1989’s Field of Dreams, directed by Phil Alden Robinson and co-starring Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, and Burt Lancaster. The film went on to earn three Oscar nominations including Best Picture.

Martin Scorsese came knocking next, skyrocketing Liotta to further fame and cementing his place in movie history for his portrayal of Henry Hill in Goodfellas. The film tallied six Oscar nominations including Best Picture, with Joe Pesci winning for Supporting Actor and Scorsese landing his third nomination for Best Director.

“I may have been managing my career a bit too much,” Liotta told the Washington Post in 2003. “I was an idiot with GoodFellas. I didn’t want to play a bad guy [again] right away, so I let some good things go by before I finally played a good guy.”

Liotta, whose laugh is one of the most famous sounds in cinema, was also a master at comedic roles. He was the psychotic Detective Harrison opposite Seth Rogan’s man-child security guard in 2009’s Observe and Report, a tightly-coiled convenience store clerk on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in 2017, and an even more jacked-up version of himself living in Barbara Streisand’s former home, for some reason, on a 2016 episode of Modern Family.

The entertainment industry will undoubtedly mourn the loss of Liotta, and many friends expressing their grief publicly Thursday.

Lorraine Bracco, who’s career was made starring opposite Liotta as Henry Hill’s equally tough and equally doomed wife, Karen, said on social media that she is “shattered.”


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