Raymond Allen Liotta was an American actor and producer who died on May 26, 2022, at the age of 64. Acting performances include Henry Hill in the film Goodfellas and Tommy Vercetti in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002).
In Something Wild (1986), Liotta was nominated for a Golden Globe, as well as appearances in Unlawful Entry (1992), Cop Land (1997), Hannibal (2001), Blow (2001), John Q (2002), Identity (2003), Killing Them Softly (2012), The Place Beyond the Pines (2012), Marriage Story (2019), and the drama series Shades of Blue (2016–2018).
Raymond Allen Liotta was an American actor and producer who died on May 26, 2022, at the age of 64. Some of the parts he’s portrayed include Henry Hill in Goodfellas and Tommy Vercetti in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002).
Among Liotta’s Golden Globe nominations are his performances as Ray Sinclair in Something Wild (1986), Cop Land (1992), Hannibal (2001), Blow (2001), John Q (2002), Identity (2003), Killing Them Softly (2012), The Place Beyond the Pines (2012), Marriage Story (2019), and Observe & Report (2009), as well as the drama series Shades of Blue (2016–2018).
Raymond Allen Liotta was Born on December 18, 1954, he was raised by his mother in the city of Newark, New Jersey. Edgar (Edgar) and Alfred Liotta, owner of an auto-parts company, adopted him when he was six months old. In his hometown, Alfonso was a Democratic Party leader and a son of Italian immigrants.
The last time he saw his father in a parade was when he was handing out flyers for his failed run for local office. In fact, Linda, Liotta’s adopted sister, was raised alongside her in the same house. Adopted as a child, he gave a show-and-tell about the experience.
He hired a private detective in the early 2000s to track out his biological mother and learned that he was mostly of Scottish descent. Only his half-siblings and half-siblings were linked to him.
A Roman Catholic by birth, but not by choice, Liotta was brought up by a non-religious mother and father in Union, NJ. His first communion and confirmation took place in a church, but the family didn’t spend much time praying as a whole throughout that experience.
An interviewee recalled that “…if I’m in a fix…if I’m feeling uncomfortable about anything, [he’d say] “Our Fathers” and “Hail Marys” to this day,” he would pray during the course of his day.
A member of the Hall of Fame at Union High School, his alma mater. University of Miami’s acting program graduated Liota in 1978 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting. While in New York, he appeared in Cabaret, Dames at Sea, Oklahoma, and Sound of Music.
How did Martin Scorsese know that Ray Liotta was the right choice for “Goodfellas”?
In Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, Ray Liotta’s performance is certainly one of his best. The actor’s portrayal of Henry Hill embodied both his charisma and his smoldering rage. While walking down the street, Scorsese happened to run into Liotta and immediately thought, “This guy would be perfect for this role.”
Goodfellas’ success was largely due to the quality of the performances. Among the stellar cast, Joe Pesci’s portrayal of Tommy Devito is undeniably impressive, but Ray Liotta’s performance stands out. The producing team tried to talk Scorsese out of utilizing actor Ray Liotta who had expressed interest in playing Henry. Fortunately, Scorsese was victorious.
She previously worked on the long-running soap opera Another World, which was one of the projects she had worked on. As it turned out, it wasn’t until 1986’s Something Wild that Hollywood began to acknowledge his talents.
Awarded a Golden Globe and a Bosten Society of Film Critics Award, Liotta was nominated for his work in Something Wild. Both the New York Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics recognized his work. It was only a matter of time before the film industry’s attention was drawn to the story.
Scorsese was one of the first to do so. Apparently, Robert Scorsese had seen Ray in Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild before meeting him, as he revealed to GQ back in 2010. As a person, I found him to be fascinating.
It wasn’t as straightforward as inviting Liotta in and handing him the role; the director had to convince the producers and Warner Bros. first. Hollywood heavyweight Irwin Winkler, who has been around since the 1960s, reportedly thought they “could do better” than Liotta.
A long-term friend of Scorsese Barbara De Fina admitted that the producer’s reluctance to work with a relatively unknown actor at the time was due to that fact. To the producers, his lack of star power was a turn-off. Henry Hill was the only actor who could play the role of Scorsese when he saw Liotta on the street.
When The Last Temptations of Christ premiered at the Venice Film Festival, director Martin Scorsese made an embarrassing blunder with star Christian Bale. The controversy surrounding the film necessitated the presence of bodyguards at festival events.
What did Martin Scorsese say?
In the lobby, Martin Scorsese said, “Ray approached me and the bodyguards moved towards him.” And [Liotta] responded in a novel fashion. Despite his best attempts, they realized that he posed no danger. When he was acting that way, I found it endearing. The first moment I saw him, I realized that he had it all. Therefore, there is no need to elaborate.
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On his first meeting with Liotta, Irvin Winkler couldn’t help but be impressed. In the producer’s memory, “We went outside.” The next day I contacted Marty and said, “I see what you mean. I know you don’t want me for it, but I…,” and he really sold me on it. Thus, he was handed the command.
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