“Goodfellas” Ray Liotta star was one of cinema’s most recognizable faces over the past three decades, working with some of the industry’s biggest actors and directors over the course of his career. Following his sudden passing in the Dominican Republic (where he was shooting the upcoming film “Dangerous Waters”) at the age of 67, many of his top peers took to social media to mourn the legendary actor.
After bursting onto the scene in “Goodfellas,” Liotta followed his iconic performance in the Martin Scorsese film with countless excellent character roles. He won a Primetime Emmy in 2005 for a guest appearance on “E.R.,” and continued starring in acclaimed films up until his death. Recent hits included Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” and David Chase’s “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark,” which saw Liotta excel in two different roles.
Liotta had multiple projects lined up before he died, including “Dangerous Waters” and other films like “The Substance” and “April 29, 1992.” He had also completed several upcoming projects that will be released in the near future, including Charlie Day’s directorial debut “El Tonto,” Elizabeth Banks’ aptly titled “Cocaine Bear,” and the upcoming Dennis Lehane miniseries “Black Bird.”
Liotta is survived by his daughter Karsen Liotta and was engaged to be married to Jacy Nittolo before he died.
When asked about his legacy being defined by his role in “Goodfellas,” Liotta famously said that “If you got one movie that people remember, that’s great. If you got two, that’s fantastic.” Judging from the celebrity reactions to his death, it appears that Liotta has a lot more than two.
Hollywood stars singled out his performances in “Goodfellas,” “Field of Dreams,” “The Many Saints of Newark,” and many other films as they mourned his death. One thing was clear from the outpouring of support he received online: Ray Liotta is not going to be forgotten any time soon.
“I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing,” his “Goodfellas” co-star Robert De Niro said in a statement. “He is way too young to have left us. May he Rest in Peace.”
“This is a massive, unexpected shock,” David Chase said (via Deadline). “I have been an admirer of Ray’s work since I saw him in ‘Something Wild,’ a movie he wrenched by the tail. I was so glad he worked on ‘The Many Saints of Newark.’ I believed strongly in my heart that he could play that double role. He created two distinctly separate characters and each performance was phenomenal. Ray was also a very warm and humorous person. A really superior actor. We all felt we lucked out having him on that movie.”
Keep reading for testimony from a variety of Liotta’s Hollywood peers, some who had worked with him and some who were merely admirers, who shared their reactions to his death via Twitter.
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. pic.twitter.com/O5tueLlBMP
— Mangold (@mang0ld) May 26, 2022
Ray Liotta. Man. Just met dude for the first time last year. GREAT actor. Nice to have had a chance to say that to him. RIP.
— Jeffrey Wright (@jfreewright) May 26, 2022
Ray Liotta has died. His work as an actor showed his complexity as a human being. A gentle man. So sad to hear.
— Jamie Lee Curtis (@jamieleecurtis) May 26, 2022
RIP Ray Liotta!! Loved your work ❤️https://t.co/XmoRVn4L3R
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) May 26, 2022
No no no no no.
— Kristin Chenoweth (@KChenoweth) May 26, 2022
RIP Ray Liotta. I feel so lucky to have squared off against this legend in one of his final roles. 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 pic.twitter.com/FvsV2NNHkw
— Alessandro Nivola (@SandroNivola) May 26, 2022
I’m really sad to hear that Ray Liotta has passed away. He was an friend back in the day and it’s very sad. We had a lot of laughs Rest In Peace My friend.
— ✌🏼rosanna arquette (@RoArquette) May 26, 2022
Not Ray 💔
— James Caan (@James_Caan) May 26, 2022
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