Ray Liotta: American actor (born: 1954 - died: 2022) | Biography
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Ray Liotta
American actor

Ray Liotta

Ray Liotta
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American actor
Was Actor Film producer Television actor Film actor Voice actor
From United States of America
Field Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender male
Birth 18 December 1954, Newark, Essex County, New Jersey, USA
Death 26 May 2022, Dominican Republic (aged 67 years)
Star sign Sagittarius
Politics Republican Party
Spouse: Michelle Grace (1997-2004)
Children: Karsen Liotta
Height: 1.80 m
Weight: 86 kg
University of Miami
Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute
Union High School
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series 2005
Ray Liotta
The details (from wikipedia)


Raymond Allen Liotta ([liˈɔtta]; December 18, 1954 – May 26, 2022) was an American actor and film producer. He was known for his roles as Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams (1989) and Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990). He was a Primetime Emmy Award winning actor and received nominations for a Golden Globe and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Liotta first gained attention for his role as Ray Sinclair in the Jonathan Demme film Something Wild (1986), for which he received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture nomination. He continued to star in films such as Unlawful Entry (1992), No Escape (1994), Cop Land (1997) Hannibal (2001), Blow (2001), Narc (2002), John Q (2002), Identity (2003), Killing Them Softly (2012), The Place Beyond the Pines (2012), Kill the Messenger (2014), Marriage Story (2019), and the Sopranos prequel theatrical film The Many Saints of Newark (2021).

He was also known for his television work in ER for which he received a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series in 2004. He starred as Frank Sinatra in the television film The Rat Pack (1998) and Lorca and Tom Mitchell in Texas Rising (2015) for which he earned Screen Actors Guild Award nominations. He starred in the drama series Shades of Blue (2016–2018) with Jennifer Lopez and had a prominent voice acting role as Tommy Vercetti in the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002).

Early life

Liotta was born in Newark, New Jersey, on December 18, 1954. Having been abandoned at an orphanage, he was adopted at the age of six months by township clerk Mary (née Edgar) and auto-parts store owner Alfred Liotta. His adoptive parents were of Italian and Scottish descent. Alfred was a personnel director and president of a local Democratic Party club. His adoptive parents each unsuccessfully ran for local political office; he recalled attending parades to hand out flyers for his father's run.

Liotta had a sister, Linda, who was also adopted. He said that he knew he was adopted as a young child, and presented a show-and-tell report on it for kindergarten. He hired a private detective to locate his biological mother in the 2000s, from whom he learned that he was mostly of Scottish descent. He had one biological sister, one biological half-brother, and five biological half-sisters.

Liotta grew up in a Roman Catholic household in Union, New Jersey, although his family was not especially religious. They attended church and he received first communion and was confirmed, but the family did not pray much. He occasionally used prayer in his daily life, telling an interviewer, "... if I'm in a fix I'll pray ... if I'm feeling uncomfortable about something I'll say "Our Father's" and "Hail Marys" to this day." In 1973, he graduated from Union High School and was later named to the Union High School Hall of Fame.


Liotta attended the University of Miami, where he studied acting and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1978. He performed in musicals, including Cabaret, Dames at Sea, Oklahoma, and The Sound of Music, at the University of Miami's Jerry Herman Ring Theatre.


Liotta at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival in Canada

After college, Liotta moved to New York City. He got a job as a bartender at the Shubert Organization and landed an agent within six months. One of his earliest roles was as Joey Perrini on the soap opera Another World, on which he appeared from 1978 to 1981. He left the show and moved to Los Angeles. He made his film debut in 1983's The Lonely Lady. His first major acting role was Something Wild (1986), for which he received his first Golden Globe nomination, this nomination being for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture. In 1989, Liotta portrayed the ghost of baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in the fantasy/drama film Field of Dreams.

In 1990, Liotta portrayed real-life mobster Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese's universally praised and commercially successful Academy Award winning film Goodfellas. In 1992, he starred as a psychopathic cop in the thriller Unlawful Entry. He appeared in a leading role in the science-fiction/action film No Escape. In 1996, he starred in the sci-fi/thriller Unforgettable. Liotta earned critical praise for his turn in James Mangold's 1997 film Cop Land, and he received critical praise in 1998 for his performance as a compulsive gambler in Phoenix.

Liotta portrayed singer Frank Sinatra in the 1998 TV movie The Rat Pack (for which he received a Screen Actors Guild award nomination). He starred as himself in the sitcom Just Shoot Me in December 2001. In January 2002 he provided the voice of Tommy Vercetti for the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. He appeared in the television drama ER in 2004, playing Charlie Metcalf in the episode "Time of Death".

The ER role earned Liotta an Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (Liotta later spoofed himself and his Emmy win in Bee Movie). Liotta starred in the 2006 CBS television series Smith, which was pulled from the schedule after three episodes. In 2012 Liotta appeared as himself in a purely vocal role for the "What a Croc!" episode of the Disney Channel comedy series Phineas & Ferb.

Liotta played the Justice Department official Paul Krendler in the 2001 film Hannibal opposite Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore. Also in 2001, he played the father of drug dealer George Jung in the film Blow. In 2002 he appeared as Detective Lieutenant Henry Oak in the Joe Carnahan-directed film Narc, a role that led to an Independent Spirit Award nomination and a Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards nomination for Best Supporting Male.

He reunited with director James Mangold in 2003, alongside John Cusack and Alfred Molina, in the dark horror-thriller Identity. In 2005, he narrated Inside the Mafia for the National Geographic Channel. In 2006 he appeared in Smokin' Aces—reuniting with Narc director Carnahan, in which he portrayed an FBI agent named Donald Carruthers in one of the lead roles. In 2004, Liotta made his Broadway debut opposite Frank Langella in the Stephen Belber play Match. Ben Brantley of The New York Times described Liotta as "compelling" but "doesn't have much to work with for his Broadway debut." That same year he appeared in an advertisement for Heinekin in the UK. The ads were eventually pulled by Ofcom "in breach of the advertising code for implying that stronger alcohol is better."

In 2007 Liotta appeared with John Travolta in the movie Wild Hogs, and in Battle in Seattle as the city's mayor. In 2008 he starred in Hero Wanted as a detective alongside Cuba Gooding Jr. Also in 2008, he made a guest appearance on the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?". In the episode, he voices the leader of a gang called the Bubble Poppin’ Boys, who try to kill an amnesiac SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny). In 2009 he appeared in Crossing Over, co-starring Harrison Ford. Liotta played Detective Harrison in the 2009 Jody Hill comedy Observe and Report as Seth Rogen's nemesis from the local police. In 2011, he starred in The Son of No One, opposite Channing Tatum and, for the first time in his career, with Al Pacino.

Liotta, Winona Ryder and Michael Shannon at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival

In the 2010s, Liotta appeared in Date Night with Steve Carell, in Charlie St. Cloud with Zac Efron, the independent drama Snowmen, and The River Sorrow, which stars Liotta as a detective alongside Christian Slater and Ving Rhames. He starred alongside Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini in the 2012 Andrew Dominik film Killing Them Softly and the 2013 Ariel Vromen film The Iceman features Liotta as the character of Roy DeMeo. He had a supporting role in Muppets Most Wanted (2014).

In 2014, he played a preacher in the faith-based film The Identical. His other 2014 projects include Kill the Messenger with Jeremy Renner, Stretch with Chris Pine, and a David Guetta video. He starred in the Western miniseries Texas Rising for The History Channel in 2015. For his performance he earned a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie nomination. From 2015 to 2016, he narrated the AMC docu-series The Making of the Mob. Liotta starred opposite Jennifer Lopez in Shades of Blue between 2016 and 2018. In 2018, he became a spokesperson for Pfizer's Chantix advertising campaign.

Liotta appeared as Charlie Barber's (Adam Driver) second divorce attorney, Jay Marotta in the 2019 Noah Baumbach film Marriage Story. The film received widespread critical acclaim and earned six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. Liotta received praise for his performance with Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian declaring, "what a thrill to hear his syrupy-gravelly voice again". The Hollywood Reporter described Liotta as being in "in fine, mischievous form". In 2021, He played twin brothers "Hollywood Dick" Moltisanti and Salvatore "Sally" Moltisanti in the film The Many Saints of Newark.

The actor was cast in Cocaine Bear, a thriller film based on the true story of an American black bear that ingested a duffel bag full of cocaine in 1985. The movie, due in theaters in 2023, is directed by actress Elizabeth Banks and traces the aftermath of a drug runner's cocaine disappearing in a plane crash and being devoured by a bear.

Personal life

Liotta at the Deauville Film Festival in France, September 2014

Liotta married Michelle Grace, an actress and producer, in February 1997 after they met at a baseball game, where her former husband Mark Grace was playing for the Chicago Cubs. The couple had a daughter, Karsen, before divorcing amicably in 2004.

On an episode of Jay Leno's Garage, Liotta revealed that Nancy and Tina Sinatra, daughters of Frank Sinatra, once sent Liotta a horse's head in the mail. The joke was in response to Liotta demurring to play their late father in a miniseries they were working on, only to see Liotta play him in the 1998 HBO television film The Rat Pack.

In February 2007, he was charged for driving under the influence after crashing his Cadillac Escalade into two parked vehicles in Pacific Palisades. He pleaded no contest.

From his experience shooting the Western Texas Rising, Liotta continued horseback riding and said in September 2014: "I was obsessed with riding horses [on the show]. I love it now. I've never had a hobby. It might be my new hobby."

In 2018, while discussing his role alongside Jennifer Lopez as a corrupt cop targeted by the FBI in the NBC crime drama Shades of Blue, Liotta told a reporter for Long Island Weekly:

You want to do as many different genres as you can and that's what I've been doing. I've done movies with the Muppets. I did Sinatra. I did good guys and bad guys. I did a movie with an elephant. I decided that I was here to try different parts and do different things. That's what it’s really all about. That's what a career should be.


Liotta died in his sleep on May 26, 2022, at age 67 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, during the filming of Dangerous Waters. At the time of his death, he was engaged to Jacy Nittolo.


Not yet released Denotes works that have not yet been released


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1983 The Lonely Lady Joe Heron Film debut
1986 Something Wild Ray Sinclair
1987 Arena Brains The Artist Short film
1988 Dominick and Eugene Eugene "Gino" Luciano
1989 Field of Dreams Shoeless Joe Jackson
1990 Goodfellas Henry Hill
1992 Article 99 Dr. Richard Sturgess
Unlawful Entry Officer Pete Davis
1994 No Escape Captain J.T. Robbins
Corrina, Corrina Manny Singer
1995 Operation Dumbo Drop Captain T.C. Doyle
1996 Unforgettable Dr. David Krane
1997 Turbulence Ryan Weaver
Cop Land Detective Gary "Figgsy" Figgis
1998 Phoenix Detective Harry Collins Also co-producer
1999 Muppets from Space Gate Guard Cameo
Forever Mine Mark Brice
2000 Pilgrim Jack
A Rumor of Angels Nathan Neubauer
2001 Hannibal Paul Krendler
Heartbreakers Dean Cummano / Vinny Staggliano
Blow Fred Jung
2002 Narc Lieutenant Henry Oak Also producer
John Q Chief Gus Monroe
Ticker Secret Service agent BMW short film for The Hire
2003 Identity Officer Rhodes
2004 The Last Shot Jack Devine
Control Lee Ray Oliver Direct-to-DVD
2005 Revolver Dorothy Macha
Slow Burn Ford Cole Also co-executive producer
2006 Even Money Tom Carver
Take the Lead Executive producer
Local Color John Talia Sr.
Comeback Season Walter Pearce
Smokin' Aces FBI Agent Donald Carruthers
2007 Wild Hogs Jack Blade
In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale Gallian
Battle in Seattle Mayor Jim Tobin
Bee Movie Himself (voice)
2008 Hero Wanted Detective Terry Subcott Direct-to-DVD
Powder Blue Jack Doheny
2009 Crossing Over Cole Frankel
Observe and Report Detective Harrison
The Line Mark Shields Also executive producer
Youth in Revolt Lance Wescott
2010 Crazy on the Outside Gray
Date Night Joe Miletto Uncredited
Snowmen Reggie Kirkfield Also executive producer
Chasing 3000 Adult Mickey
Charlie St. Cloud Florio Ferrente
2011 The Details Peter Mazzoni
The Son of No One Capt. Mathers
All Things Fall Apart Dr. Brintall
Street Kings 2: Motor City Detective Marty Kingston Direct-to-DVD
The River Murders Jack Verdon
Field of Dreams 2: Lockout Roger Goodell Short film
The Entitled Richard Nader
2012 Wanderlust Himself Cameo
Killing Them Softly Markie Trattman
Breathless Sheriff Cooley
The Iceman Roy DeMeo
The Place Beyond the Pines Peter Deluca
Ticket Out Jim
Yellow Afai
Bad Karma Molloy
Dear Dracula Count Dracula (voice) Direct-to-DVD
2013 The Devil's in the Details Dr. Bruce Michaels
Pawn Man in the Suit
Suddenly Todd Shaw
2014 Better Living Through Chemistry Elizabeth's Husband
Muppets Most Wanted Big Papa
The Identical Reece Wade Also executive producer
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Joey
Revenge of the Green Dragons FBI Agent Michael Bloom
Stretch Himself Cameo
Kill the Messenger John Cullen
2015 Blackway Blackway
Campus Code Bartender
2016 Sticky Notes Jack
Flock of Dudes Uncle Reed
2019 Marriage Story Jay Marotta
2020 Hubie Halloween Pete Landolfa
2021 No Sudden Move Frank Capelli
The Many Saints of Newark Aldo "Hollywood Dick" Moltisanti /
Salvatore "Sally" Moltisanti
2022 Every Last Secret Mr. Ancilla
2023 Cocaine Bear Not yet released Post-production, posthumous release
TBA Untitled Charlie Day film Not yet released Completed, posthumous release
The Substance Not yet released Filming, posthumous release
Dangerous Waters Not yet released
Clash Not yet released Lowell


Year Title Role Notes Ref(s)
1978–1981 Another World Joey Perrini
1980 Hardhat and Legs Family Television film
1981 Crazy Times Johnny "Wizard" Lazarra Television film
1983 St. Elsewhere Murray Episode: "Rain"
Casablanca Sacha 5 episodes
1984 Mike Hammer Tony Cable Episode: "Kill Devil"
1985 Our Family Honor Officer Ed Santini 10 episodes
1991 Women & Men 2 Meadows Television film
1995 Frasier Bob Voice; Episode: "Frasier Grinch"
1998 The Rat Pack Frank Sinatra Television film
2001 Family Guy Zack Voice; Episode: "Brian Does Hollywood"
2001–2002 Just Shoot Me! Himself 2 episodes
2002 Point of Origin John Leonard Orr Television film
2003 Saturday Night Live Himself (host) Episode: "Ray Liotta/The Donnas"
2004 ER Charlie Metcalf Episode: "Time of Death"
2006–2007 Smith Bobby Stevens 7 episodes
2008 SpongeBob SquarePants Bubble Poppin Boys Leader Voice; Episode: "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?"
2010 Hannah Montana Principal Luger Episode: "Hannah Montana to the Principal's Office"
2011 The League Mr. Hudabega Episode: "Yobogoya!"
2012 Phineas and Ferb Himself Voice; Episode: "What A Croc!"
NTSF:SD:SUV:: Jason Episode: "Wasilla Hills Cop"
Abominable Christmas Abominable Dad Voice; Television film
2014 The Money George Archer Pilot
2015 Texas Rising Lorca 5 episodes
2015–2016 The Making of the Mob Narrator Voice; 16 episodes
2016–2018 Shades of Blue Lt. Matt Wozniak 36 episodes
2016 Modern Family Himself Episode: "Playdates"
2017 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Paulie Fiuccillo Episode: "Kimmy Pulls Off a Heist!"
Young Sheldon Vincent Episode: "A Solar Calculator, a Game Ball, and a Cheerleader's Bosom"
2018 Great News Himself Episode: "Early Retirement"
The Simpsons Morty Szyslak Voice; Episode: "King Leer"
2021 Hanna Gordon Evans 6 episodes
2022 Black Bird James "Big Jim" Keene Miniseries, posthumous release

Video games

Year Title Role Notes Ref(s)
2002 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Tommy Vercetti G-Phoria Award for Best Male Voice Performance.
Spike Video Game Award for Best Performance.
2013 Call of Duty: Black Ops II (Zombies) Billy Handsome Character featured in the Mob of the Dead zombies map
2021 Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition Tommy Vercetti Archival Recordings
Remaster of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City only.


Year Title Role Notes Ref(s)
2004 Match Mike Broadway

Music videos

Year Title Album Role Ref(s)
2014 "Lovers on the Sun" Listen by David Guetta The Villain
2015 "Bloodstream" × by Ed Sheeran and Rudimental

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
1986 Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture Something Wild Nominated
1986 Boston Society of Film Critics Award Best Supporting Actor Won
1986 National Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actor 3rd Place
1986 New York Film Critics Circle Award Best Supporting Actor 3rd Place
1998 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie The Rat Pack Nominated
2002 Independent Spirit Award Best Supporting Male Narc Nominated
2002 Phoenix Film Critics Society Award Best Supporting Actor Nominated
2005 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series ER Won
2015 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie Texas Rising Nominated
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 12 Aug 2022. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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