RIP: Ray Liotta

Word has come that Ray Liotta died in his sleep at the age of 67.  No cause of death was given.

In 1978, Ray Liotta graduated from the University of Miami with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.  He then moved to New York, and within six months landed a regular role on the soap opera Another World.  Three years later, he left the series and moved to LA where he worked in both movies and television for the rest of his career.

Some of Ray Liotta’s memorable television appearances include: St. Elsewhere, Casablanca, The New Mike Hammer, Frasier, The Rat Pack (tv movie), Family Guy, ER, Texas Rising, The Making of the Mob, Modern Family and Shades of Blue.

Ray Liotta’s most notable feature films include: Something Wild, Field of Dreams, Goodfellas, Unlawful Entry, No Escape, Cop Land, Hannibal, Blow, Narc, John Q, Identity, Control, Revolver, Local Color, Smokin’ Aces, Crossing Over, Killing Them Softly, The Iceman, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For and No Sudden Move.

I first became aware of Ray Liotta in Goodfellas.  Here was this young actor holding his own with DeNiro and Pesci in a Martin Scorsese film!  Who does that almost straight out of the shoot?  Think about this — within six months of graduating college, Ray Liotta had an agent and a regular gig on television.  Then when he went to California, he quickly began getting roles in films and television.  Ray Liotta worked continuously from the very start of his career.  That didn’t happen by accident or luck.  It happened because Ray Liotta was one of the best actors working.

My favorite Ray Liotta role is as Gary Figgis in Cop Land.  Word is Mr. Liotta wanted the starring role as Freddy Heflin.  The director wanted Stallone for the part.  Some actors would have walked away.  Not Ray Liotta, he took the supporting role and turned in one of his all-time best performances.  There are some real heavyweight actors in Cop Land including Robert DeNiro and Harvey Keitel.  Often the performance fans talk about first is Ray Liotta’s.

I love it whenever Ray Liotta turns up in a television show or movie.  He steals any scene he’s in and makes the production better. If you want to see Ray Liotta in a performance that deserves more attention, check out Narc written and directed by Joe Carnahan. In 2021, Ray Liotta co-starred in No Sudden Move (one of my favorite movies of the year) and turned in a masterful performance.  That same year he appeared as two characters in The Many Saints of Newark and once again showcased his acting chops.  Those two appearances made me excited for what the future held for Ray Liotta.  Although he has a few yet to be released appearances coming, Ray Liotta died too young.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ray Liotta’s family, friends and fans.