Ray Liotta: A have a look at the ‘Goodfellas’ star’s life behind the digital camera and as a Hollywood legend


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Ray Liotta —  identified for his iconic position as Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s movie — began his profession in Tinseltown within the Nineteen Eighties. He skyrocketed to fame in “Goodfellas” when he portrayed a real-life mobster rising by way of the ranks of a criminal offense household in Brooklyn. 

Liotta went on to star in dozens of movie and tv tasks, together with “The Many Saints of Newark,” “Hannibal,” and “Shades of Blue,” and labored with Johnny Depp within the 2001 film “Blow.” Behind the digital camera, Liotta was a doting dad to daughter Karsen, 23, whom he shared with ex-wife, Michelle Grace. 

On the time of his demise, Liotta was engaged to Jacy Nittolo. He died on the age of 67 on Thursday within the Dominican Republic.

Actor Ray Liotta posed for a portrait circa 1980

Actor Ray Liotta posed for a portrait circa 1980
(Michael Ochs Archives)

A Star is Born

Raymond Allen Liotta, born in New Jersey on Dec. 18, 1954, pursued a profession within the leisure trade after receiving a Bachelor of Wonderful Arts from the College of Miami in 1978. 

His first massive break was starring as Joey Perrini on the daytime cleaning soap opera “Another World” from 1978-81. He labored on “St. Elsewhere” and some episodes of the tv adaptation of “Casablanca” in 1983.

Liotta pivoted into films that very same yr along with his first movie position, and labored alongside Pia Zadora in “The Lonely Lady,” which turned out to be a field workplace bomb and was panned by critics. 

Solely three years later, he was forged in his first main film position in “Something Wild” with Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels. Liotta earned his first Golden Globe Awards nomination for greatest supporting actor — movement image, however misplaced out on the trophy to Tom Berenger in “Platoon.”


Ray Liotta worked with Jamie Lee Curtis in the 1988 drama about twin brothers.

Ray Liotta labored with Jamie Lee Curtis within the 1988 drama about twin brothers.
(Orion Photos)

“If You Build It … “

Liotta obtained excessive reward for his position because the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson within the basic ‘89 baseball movie “Field of Dreams,” which additionally starred Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones, Amy Madigan, and Burt Lancaster in his remaining movie position. 

The sports activities fantasy drama about an Iowa corn farmer, who builds a baseball diamond in the midst of his crop, was nominated for 3 Academy Awards, and was chosen for preservation within the Nationwide Movie Registry by the Library of Congress in 2017 as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

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Virtually as quickly as he left the outfield, Liotta hit a homerun along with his arguably most well-known efficiency as Henry Hill in “Goodfellas,” working alongside Joe Pesci, Robert De Niro, Lorraine Bracco and Paul Sorvino. “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster,” Liotta mentioned as Henry Hill within the opening line of the film. 

The Scorsese-directed flick based mostly on the ‘85 nonfiction ebook “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi concerning the rise and fall of a infamous mob boss, was nominated for dozens of awards and is extensively thought to be one of many biggest movies of all time. Director David Chase mentioned the gangster flick impressed him to create the hit HBO tv collection “The Sopranos,” which additionally shares almost two dozen of the identical characters.

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci for the film 'Goodfellas', 1990.  

Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, and Joe Pesci for the movie ‘Goodfellas’, 1990.  “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster,” Liotta mentioned as Henry Hill within the opening line of the film. 
( Warner Brothers)

Ray Liotta died at the age of 67 on Thursday, May 26 in the Dominican Republic. 

Ray Liotta died on the age of 67 on Thursday, Might 26 within the Dominican Republic. 
( Eric Robert/Sygma/Sygma)

Ray Liotta, winner of Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for

Ray Liotta, winner of Excellent Visitor Actor in a Drama Collection for “ER” in 2004
(Mathew Imaging/Movie Magic)

Liotta continued to work on motion movies with “Unlawful Entry” and “No Escape,” earlier than altering tempo into the household characteristic movie realm with “Corrina, Corrina” with Whoopi Gholdberg in 1994, and “Operation Dumbo Drop” the next yr.

He went again to work with De Niro within the 1997 neo-noir crime drama “Cop Land” additionally starring Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel and Michael Rapaport. Liotta felt comfy sporting a badge in entrance of the digital camera, the place he labored as a detective on “Phoenix” with Anthony LaPaglia, Anjelica Huston and Daniel Baldwin in 1998.

Liotta switched gears whereas portraying Frederick “Fred” Jung in “Blow” with Johnny Depp, a 2001 movie based mostly on the real-life tales of George Jung, Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel. That very same yr he labored on “Hannibal” and “Heartbreakers.”


He had a mushy spot for the neo-noir, crime drama style, and labored on “Narc,” “Identity”, “John Q.” with Denzel Washington, “Powder Blue” with Patrick Swayze, and “Hero Wanted” with Cuba Gooding, Jr.

In 2011, Liotta labored with Channing Tatum and Al Pacino in “The Son of No One,” and adopted that up in 2012 with “Killing Them Softly” with Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini, “Wanderlust” with Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston, and “No Sudden Move” with Benicio del Toro, Don Cheadle, Jon Hamm and Brendan Fraser.

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His voice lives on in infamy as Tommy Vercetti on the 2002 Grand Theft Auto: Vice Metropolis sport, and he narrated “Inside the Mafia” for the Nationwide Geographic Channel in 2004, along with the AMC docu-series “The Making of the Mob” in 2015. 

Brad Pitt and Ray Liotta attend the 'Killing Them Softly' after party hosted by Chopard, Matchless and Johnnie Walker Blue Label at Villa St George on May 22, 2012 in Cannes, France.

Brad Pitt and Ray Liotta attend the ‘Killing Them Softly’ after get together hosted by Chopard, Matchless and Johnnie Walker Blue Label at Villa St George on Might 22, 2012 in Cannes, France.
(Dave M. Benett)

Small Display Success

Not solely was Liotta identified for his dozens of movie roles, he left a mark on tv, too. Liotta earned an Emmy Award in 2004 for excellent visitor actor in a drama collection for his position as Charlie Metcalf on an episode of the medical drama “ER,” and was nominated for a number of Display Actors Guild Awards for varied roles.

He portrayed Frank Sinatra within the tv movie “The Rat Pack” in 1998 and labored on 5 episodes of the historic “Texas Rising” miniseries in 2015.

His most notable tv present was starring on the American crime drama “Shades of Blue” with Jennifer Lopez and Drea de Matteo, which ran for 36 episodes from 2016-18.

Liotta lately gotten again into mainstream appearing with “The Many Saints of Newark,” and was additionally a staple alongside Taron Egerton within the Apple TV+ collection “Black Bird.”

Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta worked on

Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta labored on “Shades of Blue” for 36 episodes earlier than the present was canceled in 2018.
( James Devane)

Liotta Leaves Legacy

The New Jersey-native married producer Michelle Grace in 1997, and the couple has one daughter, 23-year-old Karsen. Grace and Liotta divorced in 2004.

He reportedly met fiancé Jacy Nittolo by way of his daughter at a celebration, and the couple grew to become engaged round Christmas 2020.

“Christmas wishes do come true,” he wrote in the caption of an Instagram publish shared on the time. “I asked the love of my life to marry me, and thank God she said yes!!!”

Nittolo has 4 youngsters from a earlier relationship: sons Dax, 24, Chazz, 22, and Joey, 11, and daughter Jade, 19.

Liotta died in his sleep on the age of 67 within the Dominican Republic whereas filming the film “Dangerous Waters.” Nittolo was with him on the time of his demise.

The late actor proposed to Jacy Nittolo in 2020 after years of dating.

The late actor proposed to Jacy Nittolo in 2020 after years of relationship.
(Amy Sussman)

Karsen Liotta and Ray Liotta attend Netflix's

Karsen Liotta and Ray Liotta attend Netflix’s “Marriage Story” New York Premiere at Paris Theater on November 10, 2019
(Arturo Holmes)

Ray Liotta and Michelle Grace attend the world premiere of

Ray Liotta and Michelle Grace attend the world premiere of “Philadelphia” on December 14, 1993
(Ron Galella, Ltd.)

His “Goodfellas” co-star Joe Pesci informed Each day Put up Digital in a press release, “God is a Goodfella, and so is Ray.”

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Robert De Niro informed Each day Put up Digital, “I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing.  He is way too way young to have left us. May he Rest in Peace.”

Martin Scorsese mentioned: “I’m absolutely shocked and devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of Ray Liotta. He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor. Playing Henry Hill in Good Fellas 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.My heart goes out to his loved ones, and it aches for his loss, way too early.”

“I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray,” Lorraine Bracco wrote on-line. “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.”

John Travolta jumped on the back of a motorcycle for the 2007 premiere of

John Travolta jumped on the again of a motorbike for the 2007 premiere of “Wild Hogs” with Ray Liotta and Tim Allen.
( Fred Duval/FilmMagic)

Jamie Lee Curtis wrote on Instagram: “Ray Liotta has died. What a gentle human. His work as an actor showed his complexity as a human. A beautiful artist. We made the lovely film, Dominic and Eugene in 1986. Sad news.”

“Shocked and saddened to hear of Ray Liotta’s passing. Beyond the tough guy exterior and the tightly wound emotions of his signature characters, he was a sweet, playful and passionate collaborator and brilliant actor. RIP,” director James Mangold mentioned.

“RIP Ray Liotta. I feel so lucky to have squared off against this legend in one of his final roles,” wrote “The Many Saints of Newark” star Alessandro Nivola. “The scenes we did together were among the all time highlights of my acting career. He was dangerous, unpredictable, hilarious, and generous with his praise for other actors.Too soon.”


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