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Ray Liotta

Ray Liotta
Ray Liotta at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival
Born Raymond Allen Liotta
(1954-12-18) December 18, 1954 (age 65)
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
Alma mater University of Miami
Occupation Actor
Years active 1978–present
Spouse(s) Michelle Grace
(1997–2004; divorced)
Partner(s) Catherine Hickland
Children 1

Raymond Allen "Ray" Liotta (born December 18, 1954) is an American actor, film producer, voice actor. He is known for his portrayals of Henry Hill in the crime-drama Goodfellas (1990) and Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams (1989). He has won an Emmy Award and been nominated for Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards.

Early life

Liotta was born in Newark New Jersey, and was adopted at the age of six months by Mary, an appointed township clerk,[1] and Alfred Liotta,[2][3] an auto parts store owner, personnel director, and the president of a local Democratic club.[1][4] His adoptive parents both unsuccessfully ran for local office.[5] He has a sister, Linda Liotta, who is also adopted.

Liotta said he knew he was adopted as a young child, as he did a show and tell report on it for kindergarten.[6] Liotta found his biological mother in the 2000s.[6] Liotta's adoptive parents were of Italian and Scottish/Irish ancestry; by birth, he is not of Italian descent. After research and talks with his biological mother, Liotta discovered he is of part Scottish ancestry.[7][8][9][10][11] "I found my birth mother and found out I have, not an identical twin, but a half brother, five half sisters and a full sister that I didn’t know about until 15 years ago."[12]

As a kid, Liotta said being adopted, he "felt like I was given up,”[13] but as an adult he resolved these issues. On his birth mother: “I found out she’d already had a child with the same guy, but he didn’t want to get married. He went off to the Korean War, they got together again when he came back, I came out, they took me home. And they realized they couldn’t afford it. So I was bonding with her, and, boom, they ripped me away.”[13]

Liotta was raised Roman Catholic although his family was not very religious.[14] "We did go to church, we were not raised in a strict home. We went to church every Sunday but we had a horrible priest," Liotta said. "I was brought up Catholic and he was just scary, [church] was just so heavy and scary. [He] gave me this huge fear of death … I'd definitely say I'm much more spiritual than religious."[14] Liotta said the family went to church when he was a kid, and he got his first communion and was confirmed "but we didn't pray before every meal or anything like that. I'm a work-in-progress but yet if I'm in a fix I'll pray ... if I'm feeling uncomfortable about something I'll say "Our Father's" and "Hail Marys" to this day," he said. "My daughter went to a Christian school [and] I was involved in a lot of [her schooling] and I think it goes back to [me] having that scary priest."[14]

Liotta's parents were both Democrats. On his political involvement as a child, Liotta said that he remembers going to parades handing out materials for his dad, and going door-to-door canvassing for his father's run for Township Committee. As an actor, Liotta says he doesn't think that actors should put themselves out there, doesn't think it's the best thing for an actor to do because there's too much out there on them if you want to do different parts. "I vote, I'm active, I listen to things, but...."[6]

He graduated from Union High School[15] in 1973 in Union, New Jersey where he grew up.[7]

Liotta graduated from the University of Miami, where he received a degree in Fine Arts in 1978 and studied acting with Robert "Buckets" Lowery with fellow actor Steven Bauer.[16] He said he did a lot of musicals (Cabaret, Dames at Sea, Oklahoma, Sound of Music) during college, especially in his first year of acting studies.[17]


After college Liotta moved to New York City. He got a job as a bartender at the Shubert theaters and landed an agent within six months.[7]

One of Liotta's earliest roles was as Joey Perrini on the soap opera Another World; he appeared on the show from 1978 to 1981. He infamously made his film debut in a sexual assault scene with Pia Zadora and a garden hose in the 1983 cult classic The Lonely Lady.

Liotta describes his career progression as: 6 months out of college, Liotta lands a soap, Another World, for 5 years (until he was 25 years old); he quits the soap because he moved to Los Angeles to try and work in the movies; acting school with Harry Mastergeorge, who he heard about from his friends Stephen Bauer and Melanie Griffith; was in acting class for 12 years; lands first major acting role at the age of 31, with Something Wild.[6][8]

In 1987, he earned his first Golden Globe nomination[18] for his portrayal of volatile ex-con Ray Sinclair in Jonathan Demme's film Something Wild (1986). In 1989, he costarred alongside Kevin Costner in the fantasy/drama film Field of Dreams— Liotta portrayed Shoeless Joe Jackson, the ghost of the famed baseball player. His voice over line, "If you build it, he will come," is #39 on the American Film Institute's list of 100 movie quotes.

In 1990, Liotta portrayed real-life mobster Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese's film Goodfellas. "It was a weird experience for me, because my mom was really sick, so that was going on, and really tempered what I was feeling at the time," Liotta says. "But that movie, it's amazing, it definitely has a life of its own, and it's only grown over time. People watch it over and over, and still respond to it, and different ages come up, even today, teenagers come up to me and they really emotionally connect to it."[7]

On this early period in his career, Liotta said that after such strong first few movies, he thinks the representatives he had let him flounder; inspired by the films of the 1970s, he wanted to play different types of roles.[6]

In 1992, he costarred as a psychopathic cop alongside Kurt Russell and Madeleine Stowe in the thriller Unlawful Entry. He also appeared in a leading role in the sci-fi/action film No Escape. Liotta would earn more critical praise for his turn in James Mangold's film Cop Land, starring alongside Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro, and Harvey Keitel. In 1998, he received critical praise for his performance in the crime film Phoenix, in which he plays decent policeman Harry Collins who is also a compulsive gambler.

In addition to his film roles, Liotta portrayed singer Frank Sinatra in the 1998 TV movie The Rat Pack (for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination), he provided the voice of Tommy Vercetti for the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and appeared in the television drama ER in 2004, playing Charlie Metcalf in the episode "Time of Death". The ER role earned Liotta an Emmy for "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series" (Liotta would later spoof himself and his Emmy win in Bee Movie). Liotta starred in the 2006 CBS television series Smith, which was pulled from the schedule after only three episodes had aired, and, in 2012, Liotta appeared as himself in a purely vocal role for the "What a Croc!" episode of the Disney Channel comedy series Phineas & Ferb.

Liotta played the father of drug dealer George Jung in the 2001 Johnny Depp film Blow and, in the following year, appeared as Det. Lt. Henry Oak in the Joe Carnahan-directed film Narc, a role that led to an Independent Spirit Award nomination and a Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards nomination for Best Supporting Male.[citation needed] He then reunited with director James Mangold in 2003, alongside John Cusack and Alfred Molina, in the dark horror-thriller Identity. In 2005, he narrated Inside the Mafia for the National Geographic Channel. He later appeared in Smokin' Aces—reuniting with Narc director Carnahan—in which he portrayed an FBI agent named Donald Carruthers in one of the lead roles.

Liotta appeared with John Travolta in the movie Wild Hogs, in Battle in Seattle as the city's mayor, and in Hero Wanted as a detective alongside Cuba Gooding Jr.. He was also in Crossing Over, co-starring Harrison Ford. Liotta played Detective Harrison in the 2009 Jody Hill comedy Observe and Report as Seth Rogen's nemesis from the local police. In 2011, he starred in The Son of No One, opposite Channing Tatum and, for the first time in his career, Al Pacino.

In 2004, Liotta made his Broadway debut opposite Frank Langella[19] in the Stephen Belber play, Match.[20][21]

In the 2010s, Liotta appeared in Date Night, with Steve Carell, Charlie St. Cloud with Zac Efron, the independent drama Snowmen, and The River Sorrow, which stars Liotta as a detective alongside Christian Slater and Ving Rhames. Liotta starred alongside Brad Pitt and James Gandolfini in the 2012 Andrew Dominik film Killing Them Softly[22] and the 2013 Ariel Vromen film The Iceman features Liotta as the character of Roy DeMeo.[23] He had a supporting role in Muppets Most Wanted (2014).

In 2014, Liotta played a preacher in the faith-based film, The Identical.[17][24] He also had a supporting role in crime drama film Revenge of the Green Dragons, executive produced by Martin Scorsese .

Liotta will star in the Western miniseries Texas Rising for The History Channel in 2015. Other projects include Kill the Messenger with Jeremy Renner, Stretch with Chris Pine and a David Guetta video.[24]

In June 2015, Liotta will narrate the AMC Networks series called The Making of the Mob: New York.[25]

Personal life

Liotta married actress Michelle Grace in February 1997 after they met at her ex-husband (Mark Grace)'s professional baseball game.[26] The couple co-starred in The Rat Pack, in which Liotta played Frank Sinatra and Grace played Judith Campbell Exner. They have a daughter named Karsen born in 1998.[7] The couple divorced in 2004.[1][7]

From his experience shooting the Western, Texas Rising, Liotta says he's continued horseback riding. He said, "I was obsessed with riding horses [on the show]. I love it now. I've never had a hobby. It might be my new hobby. Just love it, everything about them. Horses are unbelievable: Smart, loyal -- and moody, [laughing] which I can relate to."[6]



Year Film Role Notes
1980 Hardhat and Legs Family Television film
1981 Crazy Times Johnny "Wizard" Lazarra Television film
1983 Lonely Lady, TheThe Lonely Lady Joe Heron
1986 Something Wild Ray Sinclair Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated: Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated: National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor (3rd place)
Nominated: New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor (3rd place)
1987 Arena Brains The Artist Short film
1988 Dominick and Eugene Eugene "Gino" Luciano
1989 Field of Dreams Shoeless Joe Jackson
1990 Goodfellas Henry Hill
1991 Women & Men 2: In Love There Are No Rules Martin Meadows Television film
1992 Article 99 Dr. Richard Sturgess
1992 Unlawful Entry Officer Pete Davis Nominated: MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
1994 No Escape Capt. J.T. Robbins
1994 Corrina, Corrina Manny Singer
1995 Operation Dumbo Drop Capt. T.C. Doyle
1996 Unforgettable Dr. David Krane
1997 Turbulence Ryan Weaver
1997 Cop Land Det. Gary "Figgsy" Figgis
1998 Phoenix Harry Collins Also co-producer
1998 Rat Pack, TheThe Rat Pack Frank Sinatra Television film
Nominated: Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
1999 Muppets from Space Gate Guard # 1 Cameo
1999 Forever Mine Mark Brice
2000 Pilgrim Jack
2000 Rumor of Angels, AA Rumor of Angels Nathan Neubauer
2001 Hannibal Paul Krendler
2001 Heartbreakers Dean Cummano / Vinny Staggliano
2001 Blow Fred Jung
2002 Narc Det. Lt. Henry Oak Also producer
Nominated: Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Nominated: Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
2002 John Q Chief Gus Monroe
2002 Ticker FBI Agent Short film
2002 Point of Origin John Leonard Orr Television film
2003 Identity Samuel Rhodes
2004 Last Shot, TheThe Last Shot Jack Devine
2004 Control Lee Ray Oliver Direct-to-DVD
2005 Revolver Dorothy Macha
2005 Slow Burn Ford Cole Also co-executive producer
2006 Even Money Tom Carver
2006 Take the Lead Executive producer
2006 Local Color John Talia Sr.
2006 Comeback Season Walter Pearce
2006 Smokin' Aces Donald Carruthers
2007 Wild Hogs Jack Blade
2007 In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale Gallian
2007 Battle in Seattle Mayor Jim Tobin
2007 Bee Movie Himself (voice)
2008 Hero Wanted Det. Terry Subcott
2009 Crossing Over Cole Frankel
2009 Observe and Report Det. Harrison
2009 Powder Blue Jack Doheny
2009 La Linea Mark Shields Also executive producer
2009 Youth in Revolt Lance Wescott
2010 Crazy on the Outside Gray
2010 Date Night Joe Miletto Uncredited
2010 Snowmen Reggie Kirkfield
2010 Chasing 3000 Adult Mickey
2010 Charlie St. Cloud Florio Ferrente
2011 The Details Peter Mazzoni
2011 Son of No One, TheThe Son of No One Captain Marion Mathers
2011 All Things Fall Apart Dr. Brintall
2011 Street Kings: Motor City Marty Kingston Direct-to-DVD
2011 River Murders, TheThe River Murders Jack Verdon
2011 Field of Dreams 2: Lockout Roger Goodell Short film
2011 Breakout Jim
2011 Entitled, TheThe Entitled Richard Nader
2012 Wanderlust Himself Cameo
2012 Killing Them Softly Markie Trattman
2012 Breathless Sheriff Cooley
2012 The Iceman Roy DeMeo
2012 Place Beyond the Pines, TheThe Place Beyond the Pines Deluca
2012 Yellow Afai
2012 Bad Karma Molloy
2012 Dear Dracula Count Dracula (voice) Direct-to-DVD
2012 Abominable Christmas Abominable Dad (voice) Television film
2013 Devil's in the Details, TheThe Devil's in the Details Dr. Robert Michaels
2013 Pawn Man in the Suit
2013 Suddenly Todd Shaw
2014 Better Living Through Chemistry Jack Roberts
2014 Muppets Most Wanted Big Papa
2014 The Identical Reece Wade
2014 Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Joey
2014 Revenge of the Green Dragons Michael Bloom
2014 Stretch Himself
2014 Kill the Messenger John Cullen
2015 Flock of Dudes Uncle Reed Post-production
2015 Alone Mr. Ancillia Post-production
2015 Sticky Notes Jack Post-production
2015 Go with Me Filming


Year Title Role Notes
1980–1981 Another World Joey Perrini #2 8 episodes
1983 St. Elsewhere Murray Episode: "Rain"
1983 Casablanca Sacha 5 episodes
1984 Mike Hammer Tony Cable Episode: "Kill Devil"
1985 Our Family Honor Officer Ed Santini 10 episodes
1995 Frasier Bob (voice) Episode: "Frasier Grinch"
2001 Family Guy Zack (voice) Episode: "Brian Does Hollywood"
2001–2002 Just Shoot Me! Himself 2 episodes
2004 ER Charlie Metcalf Episode: "Time of Death"
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Prism Award for Best Performance in a Drama Series Episode
2006–2007 Smith Bobby Stevens 7 episodes
2008 SpongeBob SquarePants Trevor (voice) Episode: "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?"
2010 Hannah Montana Forever Principal Luger Episode: "Hannah Montana to the Principal's Office"
2011 The League Mr. Hudabega Episode: "Yobogoya!"
2012 Phineas and Ferb Himself (voice) Episode: "What A Croc!"
2012 NTSF:SD:SUV:: Jason Episode: "Wasilla Hills Cop"
2014 The Money George Archer Pilot
2015 Texas Rising Lorca

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2002 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Tommy Vercetti (voice) G-Phoria Award for Best Male Voice Performance
Spike Video Game Awards for Best Performance by a Human
2013 Call of Duty: Black Ops II Billy Handsome (voice) Mob of the Dead DLC


Year Title Role Notes
2004 Match Mike Broadway

Music videos

Year Title Album Role
2014 "Lovers on the Sun" Listen by David Guetta The Villain
2015 "Bloodstream"[27] × by Ed Sheeran and Rudimental[28]


  1. ^ a b c "Ray Liotta". Biography. Lifetime TV. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Raymond Liotta - United States Public Records, 1970-2009". FamilySearch. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mary E Liotta - United States Public Records, 1970-2009". FamilySearch. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Ray Liotta Biography (1955?-)". Film Reference. Retrieved July 7, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Ray Liotta". Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f King, Larry (3 September 2014). "Ray Liotta". Larry King Now. Ora. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Whitty, Stephen (25 November 2012). "Ray Liotta on 'Goodfellas,' mob movies, Jersey and more". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  8. ^ a b Finke, Nikki (16 September 1990). "Not Your Typical Wise Guy : Why Ray Liotta had a tough time getting a deal he didn't want to refuse--a leading role in Martin Scorsese's Mafia movie, 'GoodFellas'". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ Tarshis, Joan (Fall 2001). "One on One with Ray Liotta". Smoke Magazine. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  10. ^ "Ray Liotta Is Glad He Met His Biological Mother". Star Pulse. 6 October 2006. Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  11. ^ Keier, Helen (1 March 2001). "IGN: Interview with Ray Liotta". IGN. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  12. ^ Evans, Suzy (4 September 2014). "Ray Liotta Filmed 'The Identical' Because of His Own Adoption Experience". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  13. ^ a b Schneller, Johanna (30 November 2012). "Ray Liotta: sweetheart or psycho? Either, if the script is good". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c Nsenduluka, Benge (29 August 2014). "Ray Liotta on 'The Identical,' Being Adopted and Safety Concerns After Playing a Snitch in 'Goodfellas'". Christian Post. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  15. ^ Kratch, James (1 September 2012). "Football previews, 2012: Union". The Star-Ledger. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Marr, Madeleine (5 September 2014). "Ray Liotta dug deep to play a preacher in ‘The Identical’". Miami Herald. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
  17. ^ a b Camilleri, Ricky (4 September 2014). "Ray Liotta LIVE" (VIDEO INTERVIEW). Huffington Post. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  18. ^ "HFPA – Awards Search". Hollywood Foreign Press. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  19. ^ Gans, Andrew (14 November 2003). "Frank Langella to Join Ray Liotta for Broadway's Match". Playbill. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  20. ^ "Match - Stephen Belber". Dramatists Play Service. 2004. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  21. ^ Gardner, Elysa (8 April 2004). "Langella, Liotta make almost perfect 'Match'". USA Today. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  22. ^ Scott, A.O. (29 November 2012). "One Bad Turn Deserves Another". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  23. ^ Alex Godfrey (6 June 2013). "Ray Liotta: 'I like Brad. I admire his whole career'". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 9 June 2013. 
  24. ^ a b Richford, Rhonda (9 September 2014). "Deauville: Ray Liotta Reflects on Career, Box Office Beating of 'The Identical'". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 12 September 2014. 
  25. ^ Neale, April (10 April 2015). "AMC’s 8-Part Event ‘Making Of The Mob: New York’ With Ray Liotta Kicks Off “Mob Mondays”". Monsters & Critics. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 
  26. ^ Longsdorf, Amy (22 January 2003). "Ray Liotta finds intense adrenaline rush in 'Narc'". Pottstown Mercury. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  27. ^ "Ed Sheeran & Rudimental "Bloodstream" [Official Music Video YTMAs]". YouTube. March 23, 2015. Retrieved March 23, 2015. 
  28. ^ Dreps, Daniel (23 March 2015). "Ray Liotta Plays Washed-Up, Hair-Metal Star in Ed Sheeran's 'Bloodstream' Video". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 10 April 2015. 

External links

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