Death of Ray Liotta: 5 things to know about the Goodfellas actor

Unforgettable Henry Hill in “Goodfellas” by Martin Scorsese, American actor Ray Liotta died at the age of 67. Here are 5 things to know about his career.

Death of ray liotta: 5 things to know about the goodfellas actor
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It is an understatement to say that the announcement of the death of Ray Liotta is as brutal as it is sudden. Filming in the Dominican Republic for what was to be his next film, Dangerous Waters, he went to bed in his hotel room so as not to wake up again. The actor was 67 years old.

His death is an opportunity to come back to five anecdotes around this great actor.


If Ray Liotta has not quite had a career worthy of his talent, it nevertheless remains enamelled with several strong roles; and among them, of course, THE role that moviegoers around the world rightly revere above all else: that of Henry Hill, in Freedmen of Martin Scorsese.

The filmmaker had indeed chosen to entrust this character to a little-known actor; a role all the more difficult for him that he still took the risk of being crushed by sacred sizes, Robert de Niro and Joe Pesci The reason for this choice? According to Liotta, Scorsese had scouted him in the comedies Dangerous in all respects (1986) and Until the end of the dream (1989) for the “explosive energy” he let shine through on screen. The actor then gave some details, explaining that he had many auditions for the role, and this for more than a year.

But it was during the 1988 Venice Film Festival that things finally came to fruition: Scorsese was there for the presentation of The Last Temptation of Christ and was constantly surrounded by bodyguards given the controversy and physical threats. that there was around the film and against Scorsese.

When Liotta tried to talk to the director while walking towards him, his bodyguards pushed him away without the actor losing his composure. Seeing this scene, Scorsese was surprised that Liotta did not get upset in this situation (which could have angered some) and thought that it perfectly matched what he was looking for for the character of Hill. : a man who observes things calmly and who does not lose his means, even in the most delicate situations. It was therefore following this little incident that Liotta finally convinced the famous director to play this coveted character…


“You’re funny, I don’t know, it’s your way of telling stories, all that…” Who does not have in mind this legendary scene with the tandem Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta in Freedmen ? Scorsese had given Pesci carte blanche to run it as he saw fit. The actor had told him how, at the time when he worked in a restaurant, he had launched at the address of a boss that he found him funny, which had made the person concerned angry.

In this scene, only Ray Liotta was in on the secret to improvise the dialogues, the rest of the table not being aware in order to keep the reactions as authentic as possible. When you arrive, what do you get? One of the craziest scenes in cinema history, and an Oscar for Pesci.

Pleasure to see this scene again, in French for once, with the brilliant dubbing of John Benguigui


That a Hollywood talent lends his voice for a video game character is not exactly a novelty, as the examples abound. Yes, but here it is: Ray Liotta also lent himself to the exercise, but for a cult game released in 2002, the sixth in the video game franchise from the Rockstar studio: GTA Vice City.

He embodied in this case the main character of the game, Tommy Vercetti, former henchman and confidence of one of the pundits of the mafia of Liberty City, and also eager to find a place in the sun. If the universe of the game, which takes place in 1986, and above all largely bathed in the major influence of scarfacethe Rockstar studio loved Liotta’s composition in Freedmento the point of offering him to do the dubbing of Tommy.

Rockstar has also remembered his beautiful memory with the actor on his Twitter account, at the announcement of the death of the comedian…

Below, a small tribute montage of some of the lines of his character. Note also that he was surrounded by an incredible list of Hollywood talents lending their voices to the game: Tom Sizemore, Danny Trejo, William Fishtner, Dennis Hopper, Burt Reynolds, Luis Guzman, Robert David


Realized by Phil AldenRobinson in 1989, Until the end of the dream (often better known by its original title, Field of Dreams) is undoubtedly one of the most famous feature films of Ray Liotta.

He shares the poster with Kevin Costner, and embodies the ghost of professional player Shoeless Joe, brought back to life by a farmer who decides to build a baseball field on his cornfield, after hearing strange voices. However, due to unfortunate circumstances, Ray Liotta never had the opportunity to watch this cult film in its entirety, and has even declared that he does not intend to do so:

“It was mainly because of a personal problem that I had at the time”he confided to the microphone of QG. “When I went to see him, my mother was sick and we couldn’t stay. No, I didn’t see him.”

Death of ray liotta: 5 things to know about the goodfellas actor
Universal Pictures

The actor also explained that unlike his character in the film, he was right-handed at bat and left-handed at pitch, but the director eventually allowed him to bat with his right hand.


Difficult to forget the traumatic sequence, in Hannibalduring which the psychopathic killer played by Anthony Hopkins cooked the brains of officer Paul Krendler, while the latter was still alive (and more or less conscious)!

Disconcerted by the scene at first, and hesitant as to how to interpret this very special role, Ray Liotta explained in an interview for QG that he ended up imagining that his character had taken painkillers and thus found himself in a daze. Moreover, he also said that he had already had the opportunity to observe a real brain operation before shooting the film:

“I had played a heart surgeon in a movie long before that. And I had become fascinated with heart surgeries. And I also looked at someone’s brain, their head was open, and they were awake for they were operating on his brain. It was at a veterans hospital in Los Angeles.”

Liotta does not specify if he watched the operation on video or if he was present on the spot.

Death of ray liotta: 5 things to know about the goodfellas actor
Universal Pictures

As for the piece of brain that Hannibal gives him to eat during the famous scene, the actor explained that it was actually a piece of dark chicken meat. A food that he himself chose for its rubbery texture and difficult to chew.


It was in 1994, on the set of the show Nowhere else presented by Philippe Gildas ! Present to evoke the science fiction film Absolom 2022 realized by Martin CampbellRay Liotta found himself facing Jose Garcia and Anthony of Caunesthe time of a sketch that the two actors had concocted especially for him.

In tribute to Freedmen, Garcia indeed embodied a somewhat particular Robert de Niro, in a relationship with a parody of Brigitte Bardot. Extremely jealous and angry, he kept chanting the famous “You talkin’ to me” and “You f*** my wife”, in reference to Taxi Driver and Raging Bull. What cause a giggle of anthology at Ray Liotta!

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