Ray Liotta, who died in his sleep last Thursday at the age of 67, made a name for himself in films for his portrayal of corrupt cops on the edge of hooligans and psychopaths.
most famous role goodfellas (1990), Martin Scorsese’s gripping drama built around the experience of Henry Hill (played by Liotta), a real-life, small-time New York rogue mobster who eventually becomes an informer and a witness protection program gets excited.
The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director, with Joe Pesci winning for Best Supporting Actor. Liotta prepared for her role by spending time with Brooklyn-born, half-Irish, half-Sicilian Henry Hill.
Liotta was told to work hard to get to first place. The story goes that he tried to lobby Scorsese on the beach at the Lido in Venice while the director was attending the film festival, but was turned away by bodyguards (against a 1988 photo of Scorsese protecting Scorsese from demonstrators). was hired for) Christ’s Last Temptation) Liotta managed to get him to talk, and convinced Scorsese to be cast as Hill. Even then there was initial resistance from studio executives – including producer, Erwin Winkler – who wanted a bigger name.
Genuine stardom never touched Liotta, despite the intensity and considerable charm that she brought to the most unequaled roles and good looks that were reminiscent of Tony Curtis. Liotta claimed that earning a lot of money never inspired her, and she had no ambitions of becoming a screen idol; He liked playing working-class characters because, he said, they were “very emotionally charged”.
Born Raymond Julian Wissimarli on December 18, 1954, in Newark, New Jersey, he spent the first six months of his life in an orphanage before being adopted by car parts store owner Alfred Liotta and his wife, Mary. a local government official.
At Union High School, Ray excelled in basketball, then went on to the University of Miami, graduating in 1978 with degrees in theater and fine arts. He claimed that at that stage he was more interested in sports than acting, but in college he appeared in several plays and musicals, partly because it enabled him to meet beautiful girls.
After moving to New York, he was working as a barman when he was offered a role in a television commercial. This led to a small part in television film hardhat and feet (1980) and, in 1981, in eight episodes of the long-running soap opera another world,
Invited to play the role of Sasha the Burman in a television series based on the classic film in 1983 casablanca, he moved to Los Angeles, where he took twice-weekly acting lessons. Liotta debuts on the big screen single lady (1983), in which his most memorable contribution is the sexual assault on Pia Zadora with the tip of a garden hose.
In 1986, Liotta achieved its first notable success, in something wild, starring Melanie Griffith. She had secured her share through her friendship with Steven Bauer, Griffith’s then-husband and a contemporary at the University of Miami. Liotta’s turn as Griffith’s violent ex-husband, a convicted armed robber, earned him a Golden Globe nomination, wall street journal Call it “screen-stealing, chilling performance”.
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Now with a sudden job offer, Liotta said he declined some $2m worth of roles that could have typecast him as a “psychotic”. He didn’t get another important part for two years, but when he did it was very different: for the well-received. Dominic and Eugene (1988), Liotta showed a new dimension as a medical student caring for his mentally challenged brother.
The following year he starred alongside Kevin Costner in the film Baseball. field of dreams, Liotta portrayed the ghost of Chicago White Sox player Shoeless Joe Jackson, who, along with seven of his teammates, was banned from the game for “throwing” the 1919 World Series.
Following goodfellasIn 1992 Liotta was top billing as a crusading surgeon in a black comedy, alongside Kiefer Sutherland and Forrest Whitaker. Article 99,
Although there was never a shortage of work after that, Liotta was increasingly cast in roles that showcased her talent for criminals, misfits, and outsiders. as he told Guardian In 2007: “You can’t just sit around and wait for the right people to come in. You try to make the best choices you can.”
He was a psychopathic Los Angeles cop in the thriller illegal entry (1992); A former sea captain sent to a penal colony for the murder of his commanding officer in a science-fiction/action film can’t run (1994); a corrupt police officer cop Land (1997); and a policeman with a gambling problem marvel (nineteen ninety eight). 2001, appearing in Hannibal (sequel the silence of the Lambs), Liotta was a Justice Department official, Paul Crandler, whose brains are fried and eaten by Dr. Lecter.
Liotta’s many other credits include a cocaine-smuggling film. blow (2001); Video game Grand Theft Auto Vice City (2002); Thriller hell (2002), identity (2003), the son of No One (2011), killing them Softly (2012) and the place Beyond the Pines (2012); and biker comedy wild boar (2007).
He had the roles of Frank Sinatra in many of his television roles. rat Pack (1998), which earned him a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. He also appeared in the western miniseries Texas Rising (2015). From 2016 to 2018 he starred as corrupt cop Lieutenant Matt Wozniak in the television series blue color patternWith Jennifer Lopez.
In 2021 he played two roles as the father and uncle of the main character, sopranos movie prequel Many Saints of Newarki,
Unlike the screen characters he was most associated with, Ray Liotta was a calm, thoughtful personality with little enthusiasm for the glitz that surrounded the movie business.
He married Michelle Grace, an actress and producer, in 1997, who appeared with rat Pack, They had a daughter together, and they divorced in 2004. He is survived by his fiancé Jesse Nitolo.
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