Ray Liotta, Iconic ‘Goodfellas’ Actor, Dead at 67

Liotta, who died in his sleep, was known for his equal parts charming and menacing contributions to crime cinema.
Ray Liotta arrives at the Newport Beach Film Festival 2021 Festival Honors on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach, Calif. (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)
Ray Liotta
Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP

“Goodfellas” star Ray Liotta has died at the age of 67.

A representative for Liotta confirms to IndieWire that the actor passed away in his sleep while filming “Dangerous Waters” in the Dominican Republic. Liotta is survived by his daughter Karsen Liotta. The star was engaged to be married to Jacy Nittolo.

Liotta was best known for portraying the rise and fall of mob man Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 classic, but also made a name for himself thanks to his charming and often menacing contributions to crime cinema beyond “Goodfellas.” He had starring roles in cult classic “Blow” and the “Silence of the Lambs” sequel “Hannibal,” as well as “Killing Them Softly” and “Identity,” always elevating a genre assignment to grittier and often profound places.

The Newark, New Jersey native with the steely blue eyes was coming off a string of hits including “Marriage Story,” “Sopranos” prequel film “The Many Saints of Newark,” and “No Sudden Move.” Liotta completed production on “Cocaine Bear,” helmed by Elizabeth Banks, and was set to star in the Working Title film “The Substance” opposite Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley. Liotta also will appear with Taron Egerton in the upcoming Apple TV+ series “Black Bird.”

The vacation thriller “Dangerous Waters” stars Saffron Burrows, Eric Dane, and Odeya Rush, and is directed by John Barr. Liotta was also set to star in writer-director Charlie Day’s rom-com “El Tonto” alongside “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” collaborator Glenn Howerton and Kate Beckinsale.

Liotta won an Emmy in 2005 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for “ER.” The late actor was also nominated for a Golden Globe and an NYFCC Award in 1987 for his breakout screen role in “Something Wild,” and more recently shared the Robert Altman Award at the 2020 Film Independent Spirit Awards for “Marriage Story.” Liotta additionally was recognized by the Screen Actors Guild for “Texas Rising” and “The Rat Pack.”

Liotta’s credits also include “Unforgettable” and “The Place Beyond the Pines,” plus NBC cop drama “Shades of Blue.”

The “Field of Dreams” actor famously turned down playing Ralphie Cifaretto in David Chase’s “The Sopranos” before the role went to Joe Pantoliano. “I didn’t want to do another mafia thing,” Liotta told The Guardian in 2021 ahead of the “Many Saints of Newark” premiere. “I was shooting ‘Hannibal.’ It just didn’t feel right at the time.”

As for Liotta’s lasting legacy as Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” Liotta said, “If you got one movie that people remember, that’s great. If you got two, that’s fantastic.”

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