A year on after he died age 67, the cause of death for Goodfellas star Ray Liotta has been released. The actor died in May 2022 in the Dominican Republic, where he was staying while filming the movie Dangerous Waters.
Liotta became one of the most recognisable face in Hollywood after appearing Goodfellas alongside Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci.
Here’s everything you need to know about the life and career of the celebrated actor.
Who was Ray Liotta?
Ray Liotta was born in December 1954 in New Jersey, USA.
As a young baby, he was abandoned at an orphanage before being adopted at six months old by Mary and Alfred Liotta.
He enrolled at the Univeristy of Miami to study acting, graduating in 1978.
When did Ray Liotta die - what happened?
Liotta died on 26 May 2022 at the age of 67 whilst in Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic, where he was filming Dangerous Waters, an upcoming film written and directed by John Barr. He was posthumously given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in February earlier this year.
According to officials, Liotta died as a result of heart and respiratory issues. Documents obtained by TMZ said that Liotta suffered from atherosclerosis, which the NHS says is when a persons "arteries become narrowed, making it difficult for blood to flow through them", adding that it "increases your risk of heart attack and stroke".
TMZ added that Liotta's death was categorised as "natural and nonviolent", citing "respiratory insufficiency, pulmonary edema - aka fluid in his lungs - and acture heart failure".
Liotta is survived by his daughter Karsen, whom he had with ex-wife Michelle Grace. He and Grace were married from 1997 until 2004. At the time of his death, Liotta was engaged to Jacy Nittolo.
Who has paid tribute to Ray Liotta?
Following his death last year, Hollywood mourned the loss of the actor with tributes pouring in from ex-castmates and other Hollywood A-listers.
Lorraine Braco, who has starred in Goodfellas with Ray, 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.”
Jamie Lee-Curtis called Liotta “a gentle man”, saying: “Ray Liotta has died. His work as an actor showed his complexity as a human being. A gentle man. So sad to hear.”
Filmmaker James Mangold, who was close to Liotta, paid tribute to his friend saying: “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. RIP.”
Actors such as Josh Brolin, Jeffery Wright and Oscar winner Viola Davis also shared their condolences.
Brolin posted a lengthy social media post in tribute to his friend which read: “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.”
What films was Ray Liotta in?
Liotta made his first major appearance in 1986’s Something Wild, where appeared alongside Jeff Daniels and Melanie Griffiths.
His performance in the film earned him a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 1987 Golden Glob Awards.
In his most notable appearance, Liotta starred alongside Hollywood royalty in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas in 1990.
The film was a huge success, with some branding it one of the best ever made, and it went on to have a huge impact on the industry throughout the 1990s and beyond.
Liotta remained active in his career up throughout the noughties, with notable performances in 2001’s Hannibal alongside Anthony Hopkins and in 2002’s John Q alsongside Denzel Wahsington.
He was also a familiar voice to gamers, having voiced the character of Tommy Vercetti in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.