Ray Liotta, ‘Goodfellas’ Star and Newark Native, Dead at 67

The "Goodfellas" star was born in Newark and grew up in Union.

Ray Liotta in Shades of Blue
Ray Liotta is seen on NBC's "Shades of Blue" in 2016. Photo: NBC/Photofest

Ray Liotta—who famously played Henry Hill in the 1990 mob classic Goodfellas—has died. He was 67 years old.

The star, who was born and bred in New Jersey, died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic, where he was on location shooting the movie Dangerous Waters, the actor’s rep, Jennifer Allen, confirmed to New Jersey Monthly on Thursday.

Liotta, a Newark native who grew up in Union, leaves behind a 23-year-old daughter, Karsen, and a fiancée, Jacy Nittolo.

Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro in Goodfellas

Liotta famously played Henry Hill in “Goodfellas” (1990) alongside Robert De Niro. Photo: Warner Brothers/Photofest

In addition to playing Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, Liotta lent his tough-guy persona to films including Something Wild, Cop Land and Killing Them Softly throughout a career that lasted more than 40 years. He most recently returned to the mafia genre in 2021’s The Many Saints of Newark, a prequel movie to The Sopranos.

Liotta is also well-known for playing Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams (1989) and for a plethora of TV roles, including NBC’s Shades of Blue in recent years.

Liotta, who graduated from Union High School in 1973, was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, alongside other Garden State A-listers including Kelly Ripa and Wyclef Jean.

During the ceremony, he fondly recalled his childhood in New Jersey.

“To me, New Jersey is about family. And Taylor ham,” Liotta said during his speech, drawing laughs from the crowd. “Which you can’t find anywhere but here.”

He continued, “In Union, where I grew up, it said, ‘Union has loads of good kids.’ That was one of the sayings. But what I have to say is, New Jersey has loads of great people.”

Many Saints of Newark cast

“The Many Saints of Newark” (2021) starred (from left) Billy Magnussen as Paulie Walnuts, Jon Bernthal as Johnny Soprano, Corey Stoll as Junior Soprano, John Magaro as Silvio Dante, Liotta as “Hollywood Dick” Moltisanti and Alessandro Nivola as Dickie Moltisanti. Photo: Warner Brothers/Photofest

After graduating from Union High School, Liotta went on to study acting at the University of Miami before moving to New York and pursuing his passion.

Deadline first reported news of the star’s death, which prompted an outpouring of remembrances from famous friends and co-stars.

“I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray,” tweeted Lorraine Bracco, who played Liotta’s on-screen wife in Goodfellas. “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.”

“Not Ray,” wrote Hollywood legend James Caan, accompanied by a broken heart emoji.

Liotta’s Many Saints of Newark co-star Aessandro Nivola added: “RIP Ray Liotta. I feel so lucky to have squared off against this legend in one of his final roles. The scenes we did together were among the all-time highlights of my acting career. He was dangerous, unpredictable, hilarious, and generous with his praise for other actors. Too soon.”

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