Goodfellas star Ray Liotta dies in his sleep in the Dominican Republic aged 67


Goodfellas star Ray Liotta has died in his sleep at a hotel in the Dominican Republic at the age of 67 – where he had been filming a new movie.

The legendary gangster actor passed away in bed on Thursday in Zona Colonial on the Caribbean island halfway through recording Dangerous Waters.

An emergency service team had rushed to the building but he could not be saved, with his body transferred to the forensic institute of Santo Domingo. There is understood to be no suspicion of foul play.

Liotta leaves behind his fiance Jacy Nittolo, 46, as well as his daughter Karsen, 23, who he had with ex-wife Michelle Grace.

The actor had been spotted out and about in LA in March where onlookers said he appeared ‘noticeably pale’ and ‘needed help from the valet putting on his jacket’.

The source added he was ‘slow and steady on  his feet’ and Nittolo had to help him by carrying all his bags from the car to the hotel.

But he looked healthier in pictures taken at the start of this month as he walked down through Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles.

Tributes flooded in for the beloved film star – who also featured in Field of Dreams – with fellow actors and other celebrities paying their respects to him on Thursday afternoon:

  • Robert De Niro said: ‘I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing. He is way too way young to have left us’
  • On-screen wife in Goodfellas Lorraine Bracco said: ‘I’m utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about Ray’
  • Josh Brolin said: ‘My buddy. My friend. How so soon? Why? I’ll miss you. I will think about seeing you at Gold’s’
  • Seth Rogan said: ‘I can’t believe Ray Liotta passed away. He was such a lovely, talented and hilarious person’
  • Jamie Lee Curtis added: ‘His work as an actor showed his complexity as a human being. A gentle man. So sad’ 

His sudden death shocked fans as he was embarking on a huge resurgence in his career recent years, with him staring alongside Taron Egerton in Black Bird later this year.

He also featured in The Many Saints of Newark, Marriage Story and No Sudden Move in more recent years as his acting took off again.

But he was best known for his incredible performance in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster classic Goodfellas, where he played Henry Hill while De Niro took on the role of Jimmy Conway.

Deadline reported the star (pictured in April passed away in his sleep but did not say when or how but TMZ claimed there was no foul play suspected

Goodfellas star Ray Liotta (left, earlier this month and right, in April) has died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic aged 67 where he was filming Dangerous Waters 

The legendary gangster actor (pictured in LA at the end f March) passed away on the Caribbean island halfway through recording Dangerous Waters, about a sailing holiday spiraling out of control

The legendary gangster actor (pictured in LA at the end f March) passed away on the Caribbean island halfway through recording Dangerous Waters, about a sailing holiday spiraling out of control

Goodfellas star Ray Liotta has died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic at the age of 67 - where he had been filming a new movie. Pictured: The actor at the end of March

Goodfellas star Ray Liotta has died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic at the age of 67 - where he had been filming a new movie. Pictured: The actor at the end of March

Goodfellas star Ray Liotta has died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic at the age of 67 – where he had been filming a new movie. Pictured: The actor in LA at the end of March

Ray Liotta is pictured with his daughter Karsen at the World Premiere of "Muppets Most Wanted" on March 11, 2014, in Los Angeles

Ray Liotta is pictured with his daughter Karsen at the World Premiere of ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ on March 11, 2014, in Los Angeles

It is not yet clear what he died of or when but he has left behind his fiance Jacy Nittolo (pictured) as well as his daughter Karsen

It is not yet clear what he died of or when but he has left behind his fiance Jacy Nittolo (pictured) as well as his daughter Karsen

It is not yet clear what he died of or when but he has left behind his fiance Jacy Nittolo (pictured) as well as his daughter Karsen

Liotta is pictured with his then wife and producer Michelle Grace

Liotta is pictured with his then wife and producer Michelle Grace in New York in 2002

Left: Liotta is pictured with his then wife and producer Michelle Grace. Right: The actor is seen with her in New York in 2002

He was perhaps best known for his incredible performance in Martin Scorsese's 1990 classic Goodfellas, where he played Henry Hill while Robert De Niro took on the role of Jimmy Conway

He was perhaps best known for his incredible performance in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 classic Goodfellas, where he played Henry Hill while Robert De Niro took on the role of Jimmy Conway

The actor appeared to shy away from his fame in the 1990s and kept a low profile but a resurgence in more recent years. Pictured: Goodfellas

The actor appeared to shy away from his fame in the 1990s and kept a low profile but a resurgence in more recent years. Pictured: Goodfellas  

Abandoned baby who rose to fame as Henry Hill in Goodfellas… who was Ray Liotta?

Liotta was born in New Jersey in 1954 but was abandoned by his mother at an orphanage before being adopted six months later.

He was the adopted son of a town clerk and auto-parts shop owner, who insisted he never contemplated acting while growing up in Newark.

After graduating he moved to New York City and worked as a barman until he was cast in soap opera Another World in 1980.

Liotta found fame playing ex-con Ray Sinclair in 1986 black comedy Something Wild, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.

He went on to star as Shoeless Joe Jackson in the 1989 film Field Of Dreams and is best known for his portrayal of Henry Hill in Goodfellas opposite Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci and directed by Martin Scorsese.

Yet the actor appeared to shy away from his fame in the 1990s and kept a low profile but made a resurgence in more recent years.

In 2021 Liotta starred in the Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints Of Newark, after turning down a role in the original film.

He recently finished filming Cocaine Bear, a film directed by Elizabeth Banks which is scheduled to be released in February next year.

The New Jersey-born actor was also reportedly due to star in The Substance alongside Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley. 

Deadline reported the star passed away in his sleep but did not say when or how but TMZ claimed there was no foul play suspected.

His publicist Jennifer Allen, from Viewpoint, said the actor died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic, where he was filming Dangerous Waters. Nittolo was on location at the time of his death.

A spokesman for the Dominican Republic’s General Direction of Cinema said: ‘We understand that he was accompanied by his wife and that the wife asks that you please respect her grief.’

A source who saw the actor in March told DailyMail.com: ‘Ray looked slow and unsteady on his feet. He was noticeably pale and needed help from the valet putting on his jacket. His fiancée was carrying all the bags to help him out.’

The actor most recently spoke on social media in an Instagram post three weeks ago where he plugged his new movie Cocaine Bear.

He wrote: ‘Cocaine Bear follows an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500-pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of the white powder and goes on a coke-fueled rampage seeking more blow — and blood.’

Liotta was born in New Jersey in 1954 but was abandoned by his mother at an orphanage before being adopted six months later.

He was the adopted son of a town clerk and auto-parts shop owner, who insisted he never contemplated acting while growing up in Newark.

After graduating he moved to New York City and worked as a barman until he was cast in soap opera Another World in 1980.

Liotta found fame playing ex-con Ray Sinclair in 1986 black comedy Something Wild, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.

He went on to star as Shoeless Joe Jackson in the 1989 film Field Of Dreams and is best known for his portrayal of Henry Hill in Goodfellas opposite Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci and directed by Martin Scorsese.

Asked why he never worked with Scorsese – a director renown for working with the same cast – again, he said: ‘I don’t know, you’d have to ask him. But I’d love to.’

The actor appeared to shy away from his fame in the 1990s and kept a low profile but made a resurgence in more recent years.  

It is not yet clear what he died of or when but there is understood to be no suspicion of foul play. He leaves behind his fiance Jacy Nittolo, 46, as well as his daughter Karsen, 23, who he had with ex-wife Michelle Grace

It is not yet clear what he died of or when but there is understood to be no suspicion of foul play. He leaves behind his fiance Jacy Nittolo, 46, as well as his daughter Karsen, 23, who he had with ex-wife Michelle Grace

Liotta had been spotted out and about in LA in March where onlookers said he appeared 'noticeably pale' and 'needed help from the valet putting on his jacket'

Liotta had been spotted out and about in LA in March where onlookers said he appeared ‘noticeably pale’ and ‘needed help from the valet putting on his jacket’

The source added he was 'slow and steady on his feet' and Nittolo had to help him by carrying all his bags from the car to the hotel

The source added he was ‘slow and steady on his feet’ and Nittolo had to help him by carrying all his bags from the car to the hotel

A source who saw the actor in March told DailyMail.com: 'Ray looked slow and unsteady on his feet. He was noticeably pale and needed help from the valet putting on his jacket. His fiancée was carrying all the bags to help him out'

A source who saw the actor in March told DailyMail.com: ‘Ray looked slow and unsteady on his feet. He was noticeably pale and needed help from the valet putting on his jacket. His fiancée was carrying all the bags to help him out’

The actor most recently spoke on social media in an Instagram post three weeks ago where he plugged his new movie Cocaine Bear

The actor most recently spoke on social media in an Instagram post three weeks ago where he plugged his new movie Cocaine Bear

Liotta was born in New Jersey in 1954 but was abandoned by his mother at an orphanage before being adopted six months later. He is pictured with Nittolo in March

Liotta was born in New Jersey in 1954 but was abandoned by his mother at an orphanage before being adopted six months later. He is pictured with Nittolo in March

Ray Liotta’s last film: Goodfella’s star was shooting thriller Dangerous Waters with Eric Dane

Ray Liotta, 67, died in his sleep this week while filming on location in the Dominican Republic for an upcoming thriller, Dangerous Waters.

The feature film co-starred Euphoria and Grey’s Anatomy actor Eric Dane, alongside Odeya Rush and Saffron Burrows.

Their casting was announced just a few weeks back, at the beginning of May.

Dangerous Waters, from Signature Films, which is directed by John Barr and written by Mark Jackson, was in the midst of shooting when the actor passed away unexpectedly. 

The film centers on an out of control sailing vacation that goes off the rails when a teenage girl discovers ‘the dark past of her mother’s new boyfriend,’ according to the synopsis.

Producers were said to have been pitching the project at this month’s Cannes Film Festival to potential buyers, Deadline reported.

Dangerous Waters was just one of many projects currently on the docket for Liotta at the time of his shocking death.

The actor can be seen in the upcoming television drama Black Bird and recently completed two films, Cocaine Bear and El Tonto.

In addition to Dangerous Waters, Ray had two other films in production: April 29, 1992 and The Substance.

Tributes flooded in for the beloved star on Friday afternoon, with Devon Sawa saying: ‘I try not to do the RIPs but Ray Liotta was truly one of my favorites to watch.

‘He just has this magnetic draw to his performances, which is part of the reason Goddfellas remains tied with Aliens as my favorite film(s) ever made. This one stung more than usual.’

Goodfellas costar Lorraine Bracco, who was his wife in the movie, said: ‘I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray.

‘I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas. Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same…Ray Liotta.’

Josh Brolin said: ‘My buddy. My friend. How so soon? Why? I’ll miss you. I will think about seeing you at Gold’s often, talking about what to do next, how to find something together.

‘I always looked up to you — the work was always so good, but the man you were always stood out among the rest of them. Yes, I will miss you, pal. Until we meet again, wherever they say that is.’

Helena Christensen wrote: ‘Oh man what an immense actor he was ♥️.’ Joe Pantoliano said: ‘WHAT!!!! No! Omg! I was watering the lawn this morning and I was thinking about Ray he popped into my head. Oh No! RIP RAY RAY…’ 

Viola Davis said: ‘RIP Ray Liotta. Loved your work.’ Jamie Lee Curtis posted: ‘His work as an actor showed his complexity as a human being. A gentle man. So sad to hear.’

Rosanna Arquette wrote: ‘I’m really sad to hear that Ray Liotta has passed away. He was an friend back in the day and it’s very sad. We had a lot of laughs Rest In Peace My friend.’

Jeffrey Wright said: ‘Ray Liotta. Man. Just met dude for the first time last year. GREAT actor. Nice to have had a chance to say that to him. RIP.’

Mangold put: ‘Shocked and saddened to hear of Ray Liotta’s passing. Beyond the tough guy exterior and the tightly wound emotions of his signature characters, he was a sweet, playful and passionate collaborator and brilliant actor.’

Former costars: Jennifer Love Hewitt, who worked with Liotta on the 2001 film Heartbreakers, shared a sweet tribute as she said, 'I'm heart broken. I loved the time we spent and memories we made. You will be so missed.' The actress shared a broken heart emoji and a photo of a dove with an olive branch

Former costars: Jennifer Love Hewitt, who worked with Liotta on the 2001 film Heartbreakers, shared a sweet tribute as she said, ‘I’m heart broken. I loved the time we spent and memories we made. You will be so missed.’ The actress shared a broken heart emoji and a photo of a dove with an olive branch

Her tribute: His Goodfellas costar Lorraine Bracco, who played his wife in the hit 1990 movie, said: 'I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray'

He was the best: 'I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas. Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same…Ray Liotta'; seen in 2012

Her tribute: His Goodfellas costar Lorraine Bracco, who played his wife in the hit 1990 movie, said: ‘I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray. I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas. Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same…Ray Liotta’; seen left in Goodfellas and right in 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

The actor, who starred in more than 80 films, revealed more about his life in a rare interview with Esquire magazine in 2016.

He said: ‘I’m adopted so I don’t really know what I am. Who I consider my mother and father are Italian and Scottish.

‘I did find my birth mother and she said she was a mix of something, and when I asked about what my Dad was she wouldn’t even talk about it. It was like it never even happened.’

He added: ‘If I hadn’t have become an actor I’d have gone into construction. I always thought I would be doing construction. Those were jobs I had during the summer. My Dad also had a chain of automotive stores.

‘I didn’t know until after I graduated college that he wanted me to take over the business. When he saw that I was interested in something else, he said ‘well, I’m sick of doing this’ and moved in politics.

‘But I never knew that he wanted me to take over. It was in his mind, but I hated it. To this day I hate the smell of rubber.’

He died in his sleep while filming on location in the Dominican Republic for an upcoming thriller called Dangerous Waters.

The feature film co-starred Euphoria and Grey’s Anatomy actor Eric Dane, alongside Odeya Rush and Saffron Burrows. Their casting was announced just a few weeks back, at the beginning of May.

The film centers on an out of control sailing vacation that goes off the rails when a teenage girl discovers ‘the dark past of her mother’s new boyfriend,’ according to the synopsis.

Producers were said to have been pitching the project at this month’s Cannes Film Festival to potential buyers, Deadline reported.

Dangerous Waters was just one of many projects currently on the docket for Liotta at the time of his shocking death.

The actor can be seen in the upcoming television drama Black Bird and recently completed two films, Cocaine Bear and El Tonto.

In addition to Dangerous Waters, Ray had two other films in production: April 29, 1992 and The Substance. It is unclear if his role in Dangerous Waters will be recast or if his portion of filming had been completed.

Tragic: Jacy Nittolo, a mother of four who Ray got engaged to in December 2020, was said to be with the film star while Dangerous Waters was being recorded

Tragic: Jacy Nittolo, a mother of four who Ray got engaged to in December 2020, was said to be with the film star while Dangerous Waters was being recorded

Liotta (pictured in December with his acting teacher) also featured in The Many Saints of Newark, Marriage Story and No Sudden Move in more recent years

Liotta (pictured in December with his acting teacher) also featured in The Many Saints of Newark, Marriage Story and No Sudden Move in more recent years

Liotta (pictured with Frankie Avalon in February) rocketed to stardom and became a household name across the globe for Goodfellas, in which he played a crook called Henry Hill who got in with the Italian-American mafia

Liotta (pictured with Frankie Avalon in February) rocketed to stardom and became a household name across the globe for Goodfellas, in which he played a crook called Henry Hill who got in with the Italian-American mafia

Liotta (pictured in October) was born in New Jersey in 1954 but was abandoned by his mother at an orphanage before being adopted six months later

Liotta (pictured in October) was born in New Jersey in 1954 but was abandoned by his mother at an orphanage before being adopted six months later

Liotta (pictured in October) was born in New Jersey in 1954 but was abandoned by his mother at an orphanage before being adopted six months later

TV: And he worked from 2016 until 2018 on the NYPD cop show Shades Of Blue with Drea de Matteo (pictured) and Jennifer Lopez

TV: And he worked from 2016 until 2018 on the NYPD cop show Shades Of Blue with Drea de Matteo (pictured) and Jennifer Lopez

A TV star as well: He worked from 2016 until 2018 on the NYPD cop show Shades Of Blue with Jennifer Lopez

They were friends in real life too: Seen in an embrace in 2016

A TV star as well: He worked from 2016 until 2018 on the NYPD cop show Shades Of Blue with Jennifer Lopez, Right, seen in an embrace in 2016

Ray Liotta starred in more than 80 movies in his five-decade career including:

  • 1983 The Lonely Lady Joe Heron
  • 1986 Something Wild Ray Sinclair
  • 1987 Arena Brains
  • 1988 Dominick and Eugene
  • 1989 Field of Dreams
  • 1990 Goodfellas
  • 1992 Article 99
  • 1994 No Escape
  • 1995 Operation Dumbo Drop
  • 1996 Unforgettable
  • 1997 Turbulence
  • 1998 Phoenix Detective
  • 1999 Muppets from Space Gate Guard, Forever Mine
  • 2000 Pilgrim Jack, A Rumor of Angels
  • 2001 Hannibal, Heartbreakers, Blow
  • 2002 Narc, John Q, Ticker
  • 2003 Identity
  • 2004 The Last Shot, Control
  • 2005 Revolver, Slow Burn
  • 2006 Even Money, Take the Lead, Local Color, Comeback Season, Smokin’ Aces
  • 2007 Wild Hogs, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Battle in Seattle, Bee Movie
  • 2008 Hero Wanted, Powder Blue
  • 2009 Crossing Over, Observe and Report, La Linea, Youth in Revolt
  • 2010 Crazy on the Outside, Date Night, Snowmen, Chasing 3000, Charlie St. Cloud
  • 2011 The Details, The Son of No One, All Things Fall Apart, Street Kings 2: Motor City, The River Murders, Field of Dreams 2: Lockout, The Entitled
  • 2012 Wanderlust, Killing Them Softly, Breathless, The Iceman, The Place Beyond the Pines, Ticket Out, Yellow, Bad Karma, Dear Dracula
  • 2013 The Devil’s in the Details
  • 2014 Better Living Through Chemistry, Muppets Most Wanted, The Identical, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Revenge of the Green Dragons, Stretch
  • 2015 Blackway, Campus Code
  • 2016 Sticky Notes, Flock of Dudes
  • 2019 Marriage Story
  • 2020 Hubie Halloween
  • 2021 No Sudden Move, The Many Saints of Newark
  • 2022 Broken Soldier

In 2016 he told of his regrets he had in the way he handled his career, including turning down the chance to audition for Tim Burton’s Batman movie.

‘I wish I’d handled my career differently but, you know, hindsight…’ he said at the time. ‘When I did my first movie, Tim Burton was getting ready to do Batman and he was interested in me because he wanted it to be edgy and real.

‘I thought, ‘Batman? That’s a stupid idea’, even though he had just done one of my favourite movies of all time, Beetlejuice. So yes, I regret not auditioning for that.’

He enjoyed a varied career, also appearing as Frank Sinatra in the 1998 TV movie The Rat Pack.

In 2004, Liotta made his Broadway debut in dramatic comedy Match and appeared on the big screen in comedies such as 2010’s Date Night and two Muppets movies, and dramas including 2012’s The Iceman and 2014’s Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.

Despite his immensely varied career, Henry Hill is still a character audiences continued to associate him with. But it was an association the actor did not mind, telling PA: ‘People ask if I’m bothered by that but no, Goodfellas will be a top 10 movie for years and years, it seems.

‘I have kids coming up to me like the movie’s just come out that week… That and Field Of Dreams. I get a lot of Field Of Dreams lovers too.’

In recent years Liotta appeared in Marriage Story and No Sudden Move and starred alongside Taron Egerton in the upcoming Apple TV series Black Bird.

He also starred in Sky’s Shades Of Blue, a crime drama set in New York which starred Jennifer Lopez as a detective and single mother of a teenage daughter who faces a difficult predicament when the FBI catches her in an incriminating position.

In 2021 Liotta starred in the Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints Of Newark, after turning down a role in the original film.

He recently finished filming Cocaine Bear, a film directed by Elizabeth Banks which is scheduled to be released in February next year.

The New Jersey-born actor was also reportedly due to star in The Substance alongside Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley.

In addition to his acting roles, Liotta was also the narrator of documentary series The Making Of The Mob, and starred in a number of music videos including for David Guetta’s song Lovers On The Sun.

Liotta leaves behind his daughter Karsen, whom he shares with his ex-wife Michelle Grace, and his fiancee Nittolo.

Lorraine Bracco, who played Karen Friedman Hill in Goodfellas, said she was ‘shattered’ to hear the ‘terrible news’ about her former co-star.

Sharing a photo of them on Twitter, she added: ‘I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas.

‘Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same…Ray Liotta.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk