Martin Scorsese Remembers Ray Liotta: ‘I’m Absolutely Shocked’ About Death of ‘Courageous’ Actor

"Goodfellas" co-stars Robert De Niro and Lorraine Bracco also wrote tributes to the late Liotta after he unexpectedly died at age 67.
GOODFELLAS, Frank Adonis, Ray Liotta, John Manca, 1990. (c) Warner Bros./ Courtesy: Everett Collection.
Warner Bros/Courtesy Everett Collection

“Goodfellas” director Martin Scorsese penned a moving tribute to late lead star Ray Liotta.

Liotta was publicly pronounced dead on May 26 at the age of 67. IndieWire confirmed that the actor passed away in his sleep while filming the upcoming crime thriller “Dangerous Waters” in the Dominican Republic.

Liotta was best known for portraying the rise and fall of mob man Henry Hill in Scorsese’s 1990 classic gangster biopic, while continuing to showcase organized crime in “Blow” and the “Silence of the Lambs” sequel “Hannibal,” “Killing Them Softly,” “No Sudden Move,” and most recently “Sopranos” prequel film “The Many Saints of Newark.”

“Goodfellas” director Scorsese issued a statement in response to Liotta’s passing. “I’m absolutely shocked and devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of Ray Liotta,” Scorsese penned. “He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor.”

The Oscar-winning director continued, “Playing Henry Hill in ‘Goodfellas’ 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.”

Liotta’s “Goodfellas” co-stars also issued tributes to remember the late actor’s talent.

Robert De Niro wrote, “I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing. He is way too young to have left us.”

Lorraine Bracco, who played Liotta’s onscreen wife in the classic film, tweeted, “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.”

Paul Sorvino shared, “Ray was a terrific actor and a ‘goodfella’ in the best sense of the word. He was great to work with and a good friend. I’m really going to miss him.”

And Liotta’s former “Goodfellas” collaborators weren’t the only co-stars to take to social media. Kevin Costner, who starred opposite Liotta in fan-favorite baseball epic “Field of Dreams,” applauded Liotta’s lasting legacy.

“Devastated to hear the news of Ray Liotta’s passing,” Costner posted. “While he leaves an incredible legacy, he’ll always be ‘Shoeless Joe Jackson’ in my heart. What happened that moment in the film was real. God gave us that stunt. Now God has Ray.”

“Observe and Report” co-star Seth Rogen called working with Liotta “one of the great joys” of his career.

Liotta’s “Shades of Blue” onscreen cop partner Jennifer Lopez shared a series of tweets to honor the star.

“Ray was my partner in crime on ‘Shades of Blue,'” Lopez wrote, in part. “The first thing that comes to mind is he so was kind to my children. Ray was the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside … I guess that’s what made him such a compelling actor to watch. The original Goodfella.”

Liotta is survived by his daughter Karsen Liotta. The star was engaged to be married to Jacy Nittolo.

See more celebrity reactions to Liotta’s passing here.

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