Ray Liotta, star of Goodfellas and Field of Dreams, has died at age 67.
According to his representative who confirmed the news, the actor died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic while shooting his latest film Dangerous Waters alongside Saffron Burrows.
Born in New Jersey, Liotta was left in an orphanage before being adopted at six months. “At first I didn’t understand how a parent could give up a child,” he told People magazine. “So I had that kind of energy of just being, that sucks. And when I finally met my biological mother in her 40s, I wasn’t so mad about it. It’s just another journey.”
After minor television roles and a small part in 1983’s The Lonely Lady, Liotta received a Golden Globe nomination for 1986’s Something Wild. He landed the lead role in Field of Dreams in 1989 before taking on the role of Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas.
“If you have one movie that people remember, that’s great. If you have two, that’s fantastic,” he told the Guardian in 2021 about his association with the gangster drama.
In the 1990s, he also starred in the thriller Unlawful Entry alongside Kurt Russell, Cop Land with Robert De Niro and family drama Corrina, Corrina with Whoopi Goldberg. He also received a Screen Actors Guild nomination for playing Frank Sinatra in the 1998 TV movie The Rat Pack.
The next decade included roles in Ridley Scott’s Hannibal, Joe Carnahan’s Narc, and an Emmy for a guest appearance on ER.
Liotta was offered a part in The Sopranos, but turned it down. “I didn’t want to do another mafia thing, and I shot Hannibal,” he told The Guardian. “It just didn’t feel right at the time.” He later starred in Soprano’s prequel film The Many Saints of Newark in 2021.
Despite being known for his tough roles, Liotta has admitted that he is far from what people see him as. “I’ve never fought, except in sports, which is just pushing and crazy kid stuff,” he said in an interview.
His more recent work has included Marriage Story and Amazon’s remake of Hanna on the small screen. His last remaining roles include the Apple thriller series Black Bird starring Taron Egerton and Cocaine Bear directed by Elizabeth Banks.
Tribute has started popping up online from those in the industry. His Goodfellas colleague Lorraine Bracco tweeted that she was “completely shattered” to hear the news. “I can be anywhere in the world and people will come up to me and tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas,” she wrote. “They always ask what was the best thing about making that movie. My reaction has always been the same… Ray Liotta.”
Jamie Lee Curtis, who starred with Liotta in the 1988 drama Dominic and Eugene, tweeted that “his work as an actor showed his complexity as a human being” and that he was “a gentle man”.
James Mangold, who directed Liotta in the 2003 thriller Identity, also tweeted: “Shocked and saddened to learn of Ray Liotta’s passing. In addition to the tough exterior and the tightly wound emotions of his signature characters, he was a sweet, playful and passionate collaborator and a brilliant actor.”
Viola Davis also wrote “RIP Ray Liotta!! Loved your job” while Rosanna Arquette tweeted: “I am very sad to hear that Ray Liotta has passed away. He used to be a friend and it is very sad. We have laughed a lot. Rest in peace my friend.”
Liotta is survived by his fiancée Jacy Nittolo, who was with him while he was filming, and daughter Karsen.