Actor Ray Liotta, star of ‘Goodfellas’ and More, has died aged 67


Actor Ray Liotta, star of 'Goodfellas' and More, has died aged 67

NEW YORK – Ray Liotta, the actor best known for his role in the mafia classic ‘Goodfellas,’ has died.

The 67-year-old New Jersey native died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic while working on a new film.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported Thursday, the Union High School graduate didn’t plan on making it big in Hollywood.

He was the proud star of one of the greatest mob movies of all time. Ray Liotta played Henry Hill in the 1990s classic Goodfellas, which featured some of the most iconic movie scenes to hit the big screen.

A year earlier, Liotta had made quite an impact as a literal baseball ghost when she played Shoeless Joe Jackson on Field of Dreams.

He started out in the soaps, appeared on Another World, and really wasn’t interested in acting.

“Did you think then that you would do it now?” CBS2’s Mary Calvi asked Liotta in 2006.

“Never. I had no idea. I played sports all the time. I quit basketball my senior year and was in high school, which was a terrible experience. I hated it,” Liotta said.

Liotta told Calvi that one moment changed everything for him.

“This sweet girl said, ‘Are you going to try for the play tonight,’ and I said no. She said, ‘Well, what are you doing this for. It’s all about the play.’ So I auditioned and I got it, and I was a dancing waiter in ‘Cabaret,'” he said.

Liotta was born in Newark on December 18, 1954 and grew up in Union. He’s even inducted into the Union High School Hall of Fame.

In the early ’90s, it looked like Liotta was on her way to superstardom, but Hollywood planned a plot twist.

“He was hot after ‘Goodfellas’ and just fell off,” said New York Post entertainment critic Johnny Oleksinski.

Oleksinski said Liotta doesn’t want to do more mob films.

“He made terrible decisions. Look at Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci and Lorraine Bracco, their careers just went on and on. Liotta never worked with Martin Scorsese again, and they all did,” Oleksinski said.

Recently, Liotta starred in The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel to The Sopranos.

Liotta may have looked like a natural like the tough guy in the movie, but in real life he was far from it.

“I’ve only been in one fight my whole life, and that was in seventh grade. It’s funny my friends, they see me playing these bad guys like people always say and they laugh. Because I’m just not like that,” Liotta told Calvi.

And the boy from Newark who scaled the heights of Hollywood is now leaving his whiff of movie magic behind.

“I am deeply shocked to hear this terrible news about my Ray. I can be almost anywhere in the world and people will come up to me and tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas. And then they always ask what was the best part about doing that And my answer was always the same…Ray Liotta,” actress Lorraine Bracco, his Goodfellas co-star, wrote on Instagram.

“Ray Liotta was an absolute legend in film and television – a Primetime Emmy Award winner and a native of Newark, NJ. His screen work touched the lives of so many people. Our thoughts are with his family, friends and many fans,” NJ Gov. Phil Murphy wrote on Twitter.

“I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s death. He’s far too young to leave us. May he rest in peace,” De Niro said.

“Ray was my accomplice on Shades of Blue…the first thing that comes to mind is him [was so] kind to my kids. Ray was the epitome of a tough guy who was all muddy inside… I think that’s what made him such a compelling actor to watch,” Jennifer Lopez wrote on Twitter.

“Not Ray,” tweeted actor James Caan.

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