1954 – 2022
Film and video game fans have been left shocked and saddened by the news that Ray Liotta, whose career was defined by his select yet endlessly iconic roles, has passed away. He was 67.
Abandoned at a New Jersey orphanage at just six months old, Liotta was raised by adoptive parents Mary and Alfred Liotta. During his formative years, Liotta quickly took to acting and the performing arts, appearing in plays and musicals during his tenure at Union High School and the University of Miami, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1978. Upon moving to New York thereafter, Liotta began acting on stage, TV, and in film.
While his big break came with his performance in Jonathan Demme’s screwball comedy Something Wild (1986), Liotta is immediately recognizable thanks to his stellar lead performance in Martin Scorsese’s violent and dramatic crime opera Goodfellas (1990). Portraying real-life mobster Henry Hill, Liotta’s good looks, effortless cool, and wild, adaptive personality shone through, with the actor holding his own alongside cinema heavyweights Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. Today, Goodfellas is rightly recognized not only as one of the greatest crime pictures of all time, but one of cinema’s best-ever movies period.
For the video game community, Liotta became immortalized as the voice of rising hoodlum Tommy Vercetti, the protagonist of the excellent Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002). As the franchise’s first voiced protagonist, Liotta led an all-star cast in a genre-defining video game that became the blueprint for every crime sim — every open-world release — that followed. The influence of GTA: Vice City is still felt in the industry to this day, 20 years on from its game-changing launch.
Liotta, who was filming in the Dominican Republic, passed away in his sleep on May 26, 2022. Far from an Average Nobody, the New Jersey native has carved out his personal legacy in several indelible performances, both on-screen and behind the mic, destined to transcend generations to come.
And now it’s all over… And that’s the hardest part…