As the heartbreaking news filled our feeds today that the iconic actor Ray Liotta has passed away, so have the tributes from a plethora of figures across the entertainment world; everyone from Jamie Lee Curtis to Jeffrey Wright has spared their thought for the late hero of cinema.
No official details have been announced about his death, just that he was 67. Although Deadline has reported that the actor “died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic, where he was shooting the film Dangerous Waters.”
Liotta was one of the most gifted character actors of his generation and starred in a myriad of films that showcased the dextrous extent of his talent. His acting credits include Something Wild (1986), Land (1997), Hannibal (2001), Blow (2001), Marriage Story (2019) and countless others
However, his most iconic role undoubtedly came as the complex crook Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster flick, Goodfellas. This was the film that made his image, striking look, and unmistakable New Jersey accent world famous.
After this much-acclaimed performance, Liotta became somewhat synonymous with the character of the crook. This was to such an extent that he was hired as Tommy Vercetti, the protagonist in the legendary video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2002. Duly, he will forever be regarded as one of the finest actors to portray gangsters that Hollywood has ever seen, up there with the other greats, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, et al.
In the wake of Liotta’s passing, many of those he worked with over his long and celebrated career have weighed in with some thoughts for the late actor, and one of the most pertinent has come via his Goodfellas co-star Lorraine Bracco, who played Hill’s wife, Karen.
Taking to Twitter, she remembered her old friend, writing: “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 favourite 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.”
Bracco clearly remembers her time on Goodfellas fondly, and during an interview with USA Today for the film’s 30th anniversary in 2020, she recalled a hilarious anecdote of when she was filming with Liotta. “I remember every morning saying to myself, ‘I better bring my A-game. I better bring everything I got. No holding back now,'” she started.
However, for one scene, perhaps she should’ve held it together with a little more. Looking back on the memorable scene where Karen wakes Henry by holding a gun to his head and accusing him of cheating, she revealed that one take didn’t go to plan. “At one point, when Ray hit me, the gun went flying out of my hand and I sadly hit (cinematographer) Michael Ballhaus in the head,” the actress reportedly admitted, “with a laugh”. “He was OK, but still. I definitely remember that day.”