The beloved actor Ray Liotta passed away on Thursday at 67 years old.
Liotta’s publicist, Jennifer Allen, shared in a statement to CNN that the Goodfellas actor died in his sleep while working on a project called “Dangerous Waters” in the Dominican Republic, and is survived by his daughter Karsen, fianceé Jacy Nittolo and ex-wife Michelle Grace.
The archetypal “tough guy,” Liotta’s larger-than-life on-screen persona was apparent throughout his career: from his breakout role as the crazed ex-con Ray Sinclair in Something Wild, to the iconic Henry Hill mobster in Goodfellas. Off-screen, he was known to friends and co-stars alike for his humility and kindness, notably telling People he had never actually been in a fight.
“I have never been in a fight at all, except for during sports, and that’s just pushing and goofy kid stuff.”
Liotta kept his goofy kid spirit with him in all he did, with a career spanning everything from Blow and Hannibal to Hannibal, Operation Dumbo Drop and, more recently, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Co-stars and companions have come together to remember the star, sharing their favorite memories and moments with him.
Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese was “absolutely shocked and devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of Ray Liotta” he shared in a statement to People.
"He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor," Scorsese 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."
As for his Goodfellas co-stars, Robert De Niro shared that he “was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing," while Lorraine Bracco, who played Hill’s wife, memorialized the actor in a tweet with a photo of the two of them.
\u201cI am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray. \nI 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\u2026Ray Liotta.\u201d— Lorraine Bracco (@Lorraine Bracco) 1653584152
Recalling his own early career, Liotta most recently narrated the TV docuseries The Making of the Mob and starred in The Many Saints of Newark a film chronicle the "before" of another iconic piece of mob-media — The Sopranos.
Liotta’s career, which began in 1983 with The Lonely Lady, never waned. According to his IMDB, the actor still had plans for the coming years including Cocaine Bear, a thriller about — yes it’s exactly what it sounds like — a bear eating a drug runner’s cocaine. With the film in post-production and due for release next year, at least we’ll have a final chance to see Liotta on the big screen.
Photo via Getty/ Orion Pictures