Robert De Niro And Martin Scorsese Lead Tributes To Ray Liotta Following His Death

today27 May 2022

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On Thursday, Deadline reported that the US star had died in his sleep while in the Dominican Republic, where he had been working on the upcoming film Dangerous Waters. His death was later confirmed by his representatives to the PA news agency.

Liotta is best known for his portrayal of Henry Hill in Goodfellas opposite De Niro and Joe Pesci.

Scorsese, who directed Liotta in the 1990 film, praised the “uniquely gifted” and “courageous” performer, adding he would “always be proud” of the work they had done together.

Martin Scorsese
Martin Scorsese

Emma McIntyre via Getty Images

“I’m absolutely shocked and devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of Ray Liotta,” Scorsese said in a statement.

“He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor.

“Playing Henry Hill in Goodfellas 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.”

De Niro also issued a statement, saying: “I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing. He is way too young to have left us.”

(L-R) Ray Liotta, Robert de Niro, Paul Sorvino and Joe Pesci on the set of Goodfellas written and directed by Martin Scorsese. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
(L-R) Ray Liotta, Robert de Niro, Paul Sorvino and Joe Pesci on the set of Goodfellas written and directed by Martin Scorsese. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)

Sunset Boulevard via Getty Images

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 and people will come up and 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.”

Before Goodfellas, 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 then the gangster epic.

His Field Of Dreams co-star Kevin Costner recalled his “god-given” baseball scene in the film in his own tribute to Liotta.

Costner starred as farmer Ray Kinsella in the 1989 film, which was nominated for three Oscars.

Sharing a video clip of the classic scene to Instagram, Costner wrote: “Devastated to hear the news of Ray Liotta’s passing. While he leaves an incredible legacy, he’ll always be ‘Shoeless Joe Jackson’ in my heart.

“What happened that moment in the film was real. God gave us that stunt. Now God has Ray.”

Jennifer Lopez also said that she felt “lucky” to have worked and learnt from Liotta on the crime drama TV series Shades Of Blue, in which they starred from 2016 to 2018.

The pop superstar and actor paid tribute by sharing a series of photos on Instagram of them together along with a clip of the pair acting out an emotional scene during the show.

Tributes to Liotta also came from famous faces including Ed Sheeran, Taron Egerton and Seth Rogen.

In more recent years, the actor had been enjoying something of a resurgence in his acting career, appearing in the Sopranos sequel The Many Saints Of Newark as twins Aldo and Salvatore Molisanti, the period drama No Sudden Move and the Oscar-winning Netflix film Marriage Story.

He had also recently completed filming on the Apple TV+ miniseries Black Bird, which co-stars Taron Egerton and Greg Kinnear, and the Elizabeth Banks horror film Cocaine Bear.

He is survived by his daughter, Karsen, whose mother is the actor and film producer Michelle Grace.


RIP: Celebrities We Lost In 2022

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