Ray Liotta, the acclaimed actor known for “Goodfellas,” “Field of Dreams” and many more roles, has died at 67, Variety has confirmed with his publicist. He died in his sleep while he was in the Dominican Republic shooting an upcoming film, “Dangerous Waters.”
Playing the real-life mobster Henry Hill, Liotta shot to stardom in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” which revolutionized the gangster genre and received heaps of critical and commercial success. It’s widely considered one of the greatest films of all time, and it received six Academy Award nominations and one win after releasing in 1990.
Read more: Ray Liotta’s Career in Photos
Critic Vincent Canby wrote in the New York Times, “More than any earlier Scorsese film, ”Goodfellas” is memorable for the ensemble nature of the performances. Mr. De Niro, Mr. Liotta, Mr. Pesci and Mr. Sorvino shine together, though Mr. Pesci’s material is the flashiest. The movie has been beautifully cast from the leading roles to the bits.”
A year earlier, Liotta played real-life MLB star Shoeless Joe Jackson in “Field of Dreams,” opposite Kevin Costner in the seminal baseball film. The film also earned three Oscar nominations, including a best picture nod, and has gone down as one of the most beloved sports movies in history.
His first major role was in Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild” in 1986, which co-starred Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels. The action comedy screened out of competition at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to land Liotta a Golden Globe nomination for supporting actor.
Liotta won an Emmy for guest actor in 2005 for an appearance on “ER,” and he also had roles on “Frasier,” “Shades of Blue,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Texas Rising” and “Modern Family.” He had a memorable role co-starring with Tom Hulce in the 1998 indie “Dominick and Eugene,” played Frank Sinatra in TV movie “The Rat Pack,” and his other feature roles included “Cop Land,” “Hannibal,” “Blow,” “Observe and Report” and “The Place Beyond the Pines.”
In the last few years, Liotta’s career was undergoing something of a resurgence. He co-starred in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” as Jay Marotta, a tough lawyer for Adam Driver’s character who’s undergoing a messy divorce and legal battle. Liotta also returned to the mobster genre with Steven Soderbergh’s “No Sudden Move” and the “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark,” both released in 2021.
His upcoming projects included Elizabeth Banks’ “Cocaine Bear,” set to release Feb. 24, 2023; a comedy starring Charlie Day that was formerly known as “El Tonto”; “Dangerous Waters” and “The Substance.” On TV, he co-starred in the third and final season of Amazon’s “Hanna” series in fall 2021, and he will appear in Apple TV+’s true crime series “Black Bird,” starring Taron Edgerton and Paul Walter Hauser that releases on July 8.
Liotta was born in Newark, N.J., on December 18, 1954, and he was adopted at six months old after being left at an orphanage after his birth. He studied acting at the University of Miami and performed in musicals like “Cabaret,” “Sound of Music” and “Oklahoma” before graduating in 1978. After moving to New York City, he landed his first role in the soap opera “Another World,” which he appeared on from 1978-1981. He then moved to Los Angeles to break into the film industry, and he got his first role in the 1983 drama “The Lonely Lady.” He also appeared in the crime series “Our Family Honor” and the short-lived “Casablanca” prequel series.
Liotta shared the news of his engagement to Jacy Nittolo in December, 2020. He is also survived by a daughter, actress Karsen Liotta.