Ray Liotta, the star of Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, has passed away while shooting a movie in the Dominican Republic at the age of just 67. Liotta had seen a recent resurgence in his career, starring in The Sopranos sequel The Many Saints of Newark, and Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move.
One of Liotta’s first significant roles was in Jonathan Demme’s wonderful Something Wild (1986). He also starred in baseball movie Field of Dreams alongside Kevin Costner in 1989. 1990 saw his undoubted break-through role – as protagonist Henry Hill in Goodfellas – based on the non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi. It’s an epic tale that follows the rise and fall of a gangster and the story covers a time period from the mid-50s to 1980.
Liotta would go onto star in James Mangold’s vastly underrated Cop Land in 1997, Ridley Scott’s Hannibal in 2001, Joe Carnahan’s Narc in 2002, and James Mangold’s Identity in 2003. He also appeared in Andrew Dominik’s Killing Them Softly (2012), Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines (2012), Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014), and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (2019).
The Digital Fix had the privilege of speaking with Liotta when The Many Saints of Newark came out – a role that Liotta admitted he lobbied for hard; “I did chase David Chase. I’d heard about it, and I wasn’t getting any offers or anything, and it’d been a while since I did Goodfellas…When this movie came about, I was not on the tip of anybody’s tongue about getting this…I’ve handled my career sometimes a little too preciously.”
While Liotta could be typecast into the gangster roles, a trawl through his 120 credits on IMDb does show that he would pop up in comedies, in television shows, and in a wide variety of other work. He will be sadly missed.
Check out our guide to the best drama movies to see if Goodfellas made the cut.