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Celebrating The Life Of Ray Liotta On His Birthday

Ray Liotta was one of the most talented actors in Hollywood. He had a long and successful career. We sadly lost Ray Liotta in 2022. In honor of his birthday, let’s take a brief look back at the life of Ray Liotta.

Surprising Upbringing

Ray Liotta was born on December 18, 1954, in New Jersey. At 6 months old, Liotta was adopted from an orphanage. As an adult he would meet his birth mother. Surprisingly Liotta’s ancestry was not primarily Italian, it was Scottish, despite Liotta’s biggest role being that of an Italian mobster. Liotta got his start as an actor in soap operas and other television dramas. His breakout role was Something Wild. Field of Dreams would be another famous project that he appeared in. But his most iconic role, would be as Henry Hill, in Goodfellas.

ray liotta Something Wild


Goodfellas opened in theaters on September 19, 1990. The gangster epic is one of the greatest achievements in American film history. It highlights magnificent performances from its cast, and of course you cannot overlook the work of director, Martin Scorsese.

Goodfellas starred Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta. It was directed by the legend, Martin Scorsese. The story of Goodfellas focused on real life gangster, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta). It chronicled his life in the mob, including his relationship with his partners in crime Jimmy (Robert DeNiro) & Tommy (Joe Pesci). It was written by Nicholas Pileggi and Scorsese. The film is based on Pileggi’s book, Wiseguy.

Ray Liotta was not considered a movie star before being cast as Henry Hill. Tom Cruise was one of the original choices to play Hill, because many felt a movie star was needed. Despite Martin Scorsese feeling Liotta was perfect for the role, the rest of the decision makers had to be convinced. Eventually, everyone saw why Liotta was the only choice. Goodfellas made Liotta a movie star. The film’s success was dependent on the work of Liotta as Henry Hill. His brilliance helped to make it a classic.


10 Facts About The Gangster Epic

  1. The story of Goodfellas focused on real life gangster, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta). The film chronicled his life in the mob.
  2. Ray Liotta earned his part in Goodfellas because of how he dealt with Martin Scorsese's bodyguards. Liotta was calm, but strong with the bodyguards when they stopped him from approaching Scorsese.
  3. Author Nicholas Pileggi wrote the book “Wiseguy,” which Goodfellas was based on. Pileggi also co-wrote the script for Goodfellas.
  4. Tom Cruise was one of the original choices to play Hill, because many felt a movie star was needed.
  5. Madonna was strongly considered for the role of Karen Hill, Henry’s wife in the film.
  6. One of the things that convinced Joe Pesci to appear in the film was the director, Martin Scorsese, agreeing to let him add an experience from his life into the story. The famous “Funny How” scene was inspired by a true event Pesci experienced.
  7. Joe Pesci won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Goodfellas.
  8. Martin Scorsese’s mother appears in the film, as Tommy’s (Pesci) mother.
  9. The film was so violent and graphic that Scorsese had to fight for an R rating.
  10. Goodfellas was not a huge financial success at the box office. It has made less than $50 million at the worldwide box office.

A Tragic Loss

Ray Liotta was working consistently right before he shockingly passed away. He was still appearing in successful films in Hollywood. Films like The Many Saints of Newark (2021) , a prequel to The Sopranos, showcased that Liotta was still massively talented.


- Adam C. Better