Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Lorraine Bracco, Jamie Lee Curtis and More Pay Tribute to “Brilliant Actor” Ray Liotta

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Hollywood stars were heartbroken over the news of Ray Liotta’s death on Thursday and took to social media to pay tribute to the late actor.

Liotta’s rep Jennifer Craig at Gersh confirmed his death to The Hollywood Reporter, saying the actor died in his sleep while on location. Publicist Jennifer Allen said he was working on the movie Dangerous Waters, shooting in the Dominican Republic. He was 67.

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The producers of Dangerous Waters told THR in a statement, “We were deeply saddened to learn of Ray’s passing, it’s a tremendous loss and our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, fiancée Jacy and daughter Karsen.”

The legendary actor’s memorable roles included starring as hustler-turned-mob rat Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas and as disgraced baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams (1989). His recent big-screen roles included Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (2019), Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move (2021) and Alan Taylor’s The Many Saints of Newark (2021).

On the small screen, Liotta portrayed corrupt cop Matt Wozniak on the 2016-18 NBC cop drama Shades of Blue, opposite Jennifer Lopez, and starred in the third season of the Amazon series Hanna. In 2005, he won an Emmy Award for a guest turn on the NBC drama ER.

Scorsese wrote in a statement sent to The Hollywood Reporter: “He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor. Playing Henry Hill in Good Fellas was a tall order, because the character had so many different facets, so many complicated layers, and Ray was in almost every scene of a long, tough shoot. He absolutely amazed me, and I’ll always be proud of the work we did together on that picture. My heart goes out to his loved ones, and it aches for his loss, way too early.”

GoodFellas co-star Robert De Niro said in a statement sent to THR, “I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing. He is way too way young to have left us. May he Rest in Peace.”

Meanwhile, Liotta’s GoodFellas co-star Lorraine Bracco tweeted that she’s “utterly shattered” over the news and credited the actor as the “best part” of their film: “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.”

Lopez, who starred alongside Liotta in Shades of Blue, wrote: “Ray was my partner in crime on Shades of Blue … the first thing that comes to mind is he so was kind to my children. Ray was the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside … I guess that’s what made him such a compelling actor to watch. The original Goodfella.”

In a statement, David Chase, who wrote and produced the 2021 Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark, in which Liotta starred, called the actor’s passing “a massive, unexpected shock.”

“I have been an admirer of Ray’s work since I saw him in ‘Something Wild,’ a movie he wrenched by the tail. I was so glad he worked on ‘The Many Saints of Newark.’ I believed strongly in my heart that he could play that double role. He created two distinctly separate characters and each performance was phenomenal,” he said. “Ray was also a very warm and humorous person. A really superior actor. We all felt we lucked out having him on that movie.”

Alessandro Nivola, who starred alongside Liotta in The Many Saints of Newark, reflected on working with the actor. “My first memories of working together, we were on the set, and I found him just staring at me sometimes from across the room in a kind of very intense and intent way,” Nivola told THR. “I just assumed he was sizing me up. But I didn’t know, he could have been thinking about the laundry list. And two weeks into working together, he said that I reminded him of himself as Henry Hill. That was the most incredible affirmation that I could ever receive from him.”

Liotta’s last completed roles before his death was in Black Bird, an Apple TV+ limited series that’s set to premiere in July. Series creator and executive producer Dennis Lehane paid tribute to Liotta, describing working with the actor as “the culmination of a lifelong dream.”

Liotta’s Dominick and Eugene co-star Jamie Lee Curtis paid tribute on Twitter, writing, “Ray Liotta has died. His work as an actor showed his complexity as a human being. A gentle man. So sad to hear.”

Charlie Day, who worked with Liotta on his untitled directorial debut, said of Liotta in a statement to THR, “I’m devastated to hear of Ray’s passing. He was fantastic to work with and gave a great performance that I am sorry he never got to see. I was a longtime fan and getting to work with him was everything I hoped it would be. My thoughts go out to his family.”

Taron Egerton, who stars in the upcoming Apple TV series Black Bird alongside Liotta, wrote on Instagram: “I have never felt such an easy, warm connection with another performer. He was so generous. If I went one way he followed me. Always dancing. Always listening. Never self-generated.”

Other stars who also paid tribute included Cary Elwes, who wrote, “Very sad to hear the news this morning about the passing of #RayLiotta. An extraordinary talent whose remarkable performances left an indelible mark on the screen. Our deepest condolences to his family. RIP Ray.” Lou Diamond Phillips tweeted, “Absolutely stunned at the passing of Ray Liotta. I never had the privilege of working with him but his reputation as one of the good guys was well known. A tragic loss. #RIPRayLiotta.” Producer Gale Anne Hurd also honored Liotta, writing, “#RIP #RayLiotta We collaborated on #MartinCampbell’s #NoEscape, which is worth checking out for his terrific performance as a thoroughly engaging action star. He’s gone way too soon.” 

 

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