‘Goodfellas’ actor Ray Liotta dead at 67

(FILES) In this file photo taken on June 08, 2016, actor Ray Liotta attends the Shades of Blue Television Academy Event, in North Hollywood, California. – Liotta, who starred in Martin Scorsese’s gangster classic “Goodfellas,” has died, US media reported on May 26, 2022. He was 67. Movie trade publication Deadline said he died in the Dominican Republic, where he was shooting a new film. TMZ also reported his death. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP)

Actor Ray Liotta, who starred in Martin Scorsese’s gangster classic “Goodfellas,” has died suddenly in the Dominican Republic, officials and police said Thursday. He was 67.

Liotta, whose blistering turn as real-life mobster Henry Hill in Scorsese’s crime masterpiece won universal admiration, was shooting a new film in the country when he died in his sleep.

Police said emergency services were called early Thursday morning to a hotel in Santo Domingo where they found Liotta already dead.

The actor’s publicist in Los Angeles, Jennifer Allen, confirmed his death, saying there were no suspicious circumstances.

Allen said he had been working on a movie called “Dangerous Waters.”

A man rides a cart outside the hotel where US actor Ray Liotta died at the age of 67, in Santo Domingo, on May 26, 2022. – The actor was in the Caribbean country filming ‘Dangerous Waters’. (Photo by Erika SANTELICES / AFP)


LOS ANGELES, CA – JUNE 05: Actors Robert De Niro (L) and Ray Liotta pose backstage at Spike TV’s 4th Annual “Guys Choice Awards” held at Sony Studios on June 5, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. Christopher Polk/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Christopher Polk / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

Liotta became a household name in 1990 when he was cast alongside Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci in what is widely considered one of the greatest films of the 20th century.

“Goodfellas” won one Oscar, and was nominated for five others. Scenes from the movie continue to resonate as cultural touchstones more than three decades later.

A year before “Goodfellas,” Liotta had played baseball star “Shoeless Joe” Jackson in beloved sports movie “Field of Dreams,” opposite Kevin Costner.

The film was nominated for three Oscars, including best picture.

– ‘A gentle man’ –

News of Liotta’s death sparked a flood of tributes from colleagues and contemporaries, with “Goodfellas” co-star Lorraine Bracco, who played on-screen wife Karen, saying she was “utterly shattered to hear this terrible news.”

“I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas,” she tweeted.

“Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same… Ray Liotta.”


Actress Jamie Lee Curtis, who worked with Liotta on “Dominick and Eugene,” tweeted: “His work as an actor showed his complexity as a human being. A gentle man. So sad to hear.”

Jennifer Lopez, who starred opposite Liotta in the television series “Shades of Blue,” said he was “the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside.”

“Like a raw nerve, he was so accessible and so in touch in his acting. We lost a great today … RIP RAY … it’s so sad to lose you what seems way to soon.”


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Seth Rogen, who was cast alongside Liotta in black comedy “Observe and Report” called him “a true legend of immense skill and grace… a lovely, talented and hilarious person.”

Despite branching out to show the breadth of his talent, Liotta had recently returned to the world of mob films, with roles in Steven Soderbergh’s “No Sudden Move” and 2021’s “The Many Saints of Newark.”

Alessandro Nivola, who played alongside Liotta in “The Many Saints of Newark,” a prequel to hit TV series “The Sopranos,” said his co-star’s death had come “too soon.”

“I feel so lucky to have squared off against this legend in one of his final roles,” he wrote on Twitter.

“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.”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 04: (L-R) Actor Ray Liotta, Actor Alessandro Nivola, and Co-Writer/Producer David Chase speak onstage during Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Many Saints of Newark” panel during Deadline Contenders Film: New York on December 04, 2021 in New York City. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Deadline/AFP (Photo by Michael loccisano / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 18: Actor Ray Liotta poses with his Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in the press room at the 57th Annual Emmy Awards held at the Shrine Auditorium on September 18, 2005 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Ray Liotta (Photo by Kevin Winter / Getty Images North America / Getty Images via AFP)


Australian actor Ben Mendelsohn, US actor Ray Liotta, US actor Brad Pitt and US actor Scoot McNairy pose during the photocall of “Killing them Softly” presented in competition at the 65th Cannes film festival on May 22, 2012 in Cannes. AFP PHOTO / ALBERTO PIZZOLI (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI / AFP)

Liotta was born in Newark, New Jersey, in December 1954.

Variety reported he was left at an orphanage at birth and adopted when he was six months old.

At the University of Miami, he performed in musicals, and after graduating landed a role on a soap opera that would provide him with three years’ work to 1981.

His first movie came in 1983, but it wasn’t until 1986’s “Something Wild” opposite Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels that he came to wider attention.

The comedy-action-romance was screened at Cannes and scored Liotta a Golden Globe nomination for supporting actor.