Ray Liotta, ‘Goodfellas' and ‘Field of Dreams' Actor, Dies at 67 originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Ray Liotta, the actor who appeared in films such as "Goodfellas" and "Field of Dreams," has died, his publicist confirmed to NBC News. He was 67.
Liotta died in his sleep while in the Dominican Republic shooting a movie called "Dangerous Waters." His fiancée Jacy Nittolo was with him on the island during filming. Deadline was first to report the news.
"There was nothing suspicious about the death, and no foul play is suspected," his publicist said. He died Wednesday night and his body was taken to the Cristo Redentor morgue, according to an official at the Dominican Republic’s National Forensic Science Institute.
He is survived by his daughter, Karsen.
Robert De Niro, his co-star in "Goodfellas" shared a statement, writing, “I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing. He is way too young to have left us. May he Rest in Peace.” Other co-stars tweeted tributes to the actor.
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. 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
Ray was my partner in crime on Shades of Blue â¦ 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 â¦ I guess thatâs what made him such a compelling actor to watch. The original Goodfella. 1/5 pic.twitter.com/IDbOBPNydY
— jlo (@JLo) May 26, 2022
I canât believe Ray Liotta has passed away. He was such a lovely, talented and hilarious person. Working with him was one of the great joys of my career and we made some of my favorite scenes I ever got to be in. A true legend of immense skill and grace.
— Seth Rogen (@Sethrogen) May 26, 2022
The Newark, New Jersey, native was born in 1954 and adopted at age six months out of an orphanage by a township clerk and an auto parts owner. Though he mostly grew up playing sports, including baseball, during his senior year of high school, the drama teacher at the school asked him if he wanted to be in a play, which he agreed to on a lark. And it stuck: He’d go on to study acting at the University of Miami. After graduation, he got his first big break on the soap opera “Another World.”
Liotta’s first big film role was in Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild” as Melanie Griffith’s character’s hotheaded ex-convict husband Ray. The turn earned him a Golden Globe nomination. A few years later, he would get the memorable role of the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson in “Field of Dreams.”
His most iconic role, as real-life mobster Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” came shortly after. He, and Scorsese, had to fight for it though, with multiple auditions and pleas to the studio to cast the still relative unknown.
“The thing about that movie, you know, Henry Hill isn’t that edgy of a character,” Liotta said in an interview in 2012. “It’s really the other guys who are doing all the actual killings. The one physical thing he does do, when he goes after the guy who went after Karen — you know, most audiences, they actually like him for that.”
In the same interview, he marveled at how “Goodfellas” had a “life of its own" and has only grown over time.
“People watch it over and over, and still respond to it, and different ages come up, even today, teenagers come up to me and they really emotionally connect to it,” he said.