Actor Ray Liotta, who is probably still best known for playing Henry Hill in Goodfellas—and for decades of roles after it that directly wink at his Goodfellas character—has died. Deadline says that he “died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic” while working on director John Barr’s upcoming film Dangerous Waters. Deadline also refers to his death as “a shocker,” but it doesn’t look like any other information about his cause of death is currently available. Liotta was 67.
Born in New Jersey in 1954, Liotta was adopted from an orphanage before he was a year old, with his Roman Catholic adoptive parents both having unrequited political aspirations. He studied acting at the University Of Miami in the ‘70s and moved to New York after school, at which point he was pretty quickly cast in the soap opera Another World.
In the mid-‘80s he received a Golden Globe nomination for his supporting role in Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild opposite Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffith. A couple of years later Liotta put in a quietly iconic performance as “Shoeless” Joe Jackson in Phil Alden Robinson’s baseball tearjerker Field Of Dreams.
That might have even been the thing everyone remembers Ray Liotta for if not for him appearing Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas a year later as aspiring monster-turned-informant Henry Hill. The film, widely recognized as one of the greatest of all time, also starred Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, Lorraine Bracco, and Joe Pesci (who won Oscar for the movie).
Liotta never really had a slow period in his long career, though nothing else really reached the heights of Goodfellas. He regularly popped up in things like Hannibal, Blow, Identity, Killing Them Softly, and The Place Beyond The Pines. That’s to say nothing of his many self-aware cameos or little nods to his legacy, like playing himself on Just Shoot Me and in Bee Movie or his voice acting role as main character Tommy Vercetti in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (who, despite having Liotta as a voice actor, is much more of a Tony Montana-type than a Henry Hill-type).
In more recent years, Liotta has enjoyed a bit of a resurgence. He made a memorable appearance as Adam Driver’s second, more ruthless and hard-edged divorce attorney in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story, had a regular role on Amazon’s Hanna adaptation, co-starred with Jennifer Lopez on Shades Of Blue, played twins “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti and Salvatore Moltisanti in Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints Of Newark, and has a role in Apple TV+’s upcoming series Black Bird with Taron Egerton and Greg Kinnear. He’s also set to appear in Elizabeth Banks’ Cocaine Bear, which he reportedly completed his work on before his death.
Liotta is survived by his fiancée and his daughter.