Raymond Allen Liotta was an American actor and film producer who was born in Italy on December 18, 1954, and died on May 26, 2022. The portrayals of Shoeless Joe Jackson (1989) and Henry Hill (1996) in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas made him a household name (1990). Actor who won a Primetime Emmy Award and was nominated for two SAG Awards and a Golden Globe for his work on television.
In Something Wild (1986), Liotta was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture for his performance as Ray Sinclair. Continued his acting career with roles in films such as Unlawful Entry; No Escape; Cop Land; Hannibal; Blow; Narc; Identity; Killing Them Softly; Killing The Messenger; Marriage Story; and The Many Saints of Newark, a Sopranos prequel theatrical film (2021).
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Ray Liotta’s Early Life
Liotta was born on December 18, 1954, in Newark, New Jersey. After being abandoned at an orphanage at the age of six months, he was adopted by Mary (née Edgar), a township clerk, and Alfred Liotta, the proprietor of an auto parts company. They were of Italian and Scottish origin and adopted him. Alfred served the community as both a human resources manager and the president of a Democratic Party club. He recalls going to parades with his father to distribute brochures for his unsuccessful race for local office.
Linda, Liotta’s adopted sister, was also a member of the same family. When he was young, he presented a show-and-tell report on the fact that he had been adopted. A private investigator was hired by him in the 2000s to find his biological mother, through whom he learned that he was primarily Scottish. There were six half-siblings, one of them was his biological sister.
Roman Catholicism was practiced by Liotta’s family despite the fact that they weren’t particularly religious. In church, he was baptized and confirmed, but the family didn’t pray much. An interviewer asked him how he coped when things became tough: “…if I’m in a quandary, pray… If something is making me feel a little uncomfortable, pray to this day.” He graduated from Union High School in 1973 and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame later that same year.
Ray Liotta’s Personal Life
The two met during a Cubs baseball game, where Liotta’s ex-husband Mark Grace was playing for the team. They married in 1997. By the time they were divorced in 2004, they’d given birth to a daughter named Karsen. One day, Nancy and Tina Sinatra, daughters of Frank Sinatra, sent a horse’s head to Liotta through the mail. While they were developing a miniseries about the family’s life, Liotta declined to play their father because of his upcoming role in the HBO film The Rat Pack, which he would later play.
After slamming his Cadillac Escalade into two parked cars in Pacific Palisades in February 2007, he was charged with driving under the influence. He refused to enter a plea. Liotta continued horseback riding after shooting Western Texas Rising and commented in September 2014: “I was enamored with horseback riding as a kid. Now it’s one of my favorite things. I’ve never had a ‘hobby’. I may have found a new pastime.”
Ray Liotta’s Career
Liotta made the big city her home after graduating from college. He worked as a bartender at the Shubert Organization for six months before landing an agency. Joey Perrini, a character he played on Another World from 1978 to 1981, was one of his first roles. He quit his job and relocated to Los Angeles after finishing the program. It was in 1983’s The Lonely Lady that he made his debut on the big screen. Things Weird (1986) was his breakout role, and it earned him his first Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. During the 1989 film Field of Dreams, Liotta played the spirit of baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson, a role he later reprised.
In Martin Scorsese’s critically acclaimed and financially successful 1990 film Goodfellas, Liotta played real-life mobster Henry Hill. The film Unlawful Entry, which was released in 1992, featured him playing a psychopathic police officer. He has a starring part in the action/science fiction film No Escape. In 1996, he starred in Unforgettable, a sci-fi thriller. James Mangold’s 1997 picture Cop Land gained Liotta critical acclaim, while his depiction as a compulsive gambler in Phoenix received critical acclaim in 1998.
In the 1998 television film The Rat Pack, Liotta portrayed singer Frank Sinatra (for which he received a Screen Actors Guild award nomination). In December 2001, he appeared in the comedy Just Shoot Me as himself. Throughout Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, he voiced Tommy Vercetti in the month of January 2002. In 2004, he portrayed Charlie Metcalf in the ER episode “Time of Death” on television.
Liotta won an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series for his performance on ER (Liotta later spoofed himself and his Emmy win in Bee Movie). A CBS television series starring Liotta was canceled after just three episodes in 2006. The Phineas & Ferb episode titled “What a Croc!” featured Liotta as himself in only a vocal part in 2012.
Hannibal, starring Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore, featured Liotta as Justice Department officer Paul Krendler. In the 2001 film Blow, he portrayed George Jung’s father. He was nominated for a Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Male in 2002 for his work as Detective Lieutenant Henry Oak in Joe Carnahan’s film Narc.
In 2003, he returned with filmmaker James Mangold for the dark horror-thriller Identity, which also starred John Cusack and Alfred Molina. In 2005, he narrated the National Geographic Channel’s Inside the Mafia documentary. With filmmaker Carnahan, he reprised his role as FBI agent Donald Carruthers in Smokin’ Aces in 2006—the first time the two had worked together. During his Broadway debut in 2004, Liotta starred alongside Frank Langella in Stephen Belber’s Match.
According to Ben Brantley of the New York Times, “compelling” Liotta had “nothing to work with” for his Broadway debut. In the same year, he was featured in a UK commercial for Heinekin. “In contravention of the advertising code for indicating that stronger alcohol is better,” Ofcom eventually yanked the adverts.
What Was Ray Liotta’s Cause Of Death?
There aren’t many specifics known at this moment about Ray’s death, as is common with public announcements of high-profile fatalities. Rumors are swirling about Ray’s death while filming Dangerous Waters, a thriller directed by John Barr in the Dominican Republic. No new or ongoing health difficulties have been made public on Ray’s personal Instagram account, according to a cursory scan. Three weeks ago, the actor said that he was working on a new film called Cocaine Bear.
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Ray Liotta Leaves Behind A Daughter, Karsen Liotta, And His Fiancée, Jacy Nittolo
Ray married Michelle Grace, an actress, and producer, in February 1997. Karsen Liotta, born in December 1998, is the couple’s only child. In 2004, Ray and Michelle split up. Now 23, Karsen has decided to follow in her parent’s footsteps and become a film star. She had a recurring part in Shades of Blue and appeared in Hubie Halloween. Karsen sent a touching tribute to her late father on Instagram on June 9. With the photo of Ray holding her when they were both children, Karsen wrote to Ray, “He was adored by everyone who knew him. Dad, you’re the best there is.
Jacy Nittolo, Ray’s fiancée, announced the happy news of their engagement on Christmas Day 2020 with a photo on Instagram. Images of Jacy and Ray enjoying time together can be found on both of their public-facing social media sites. TMZ claims that Jacy was with Ray when he died in the Dominican Republic. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ray’s family, friends, and fans around the world as we await further information about his death.
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