Ray Liotta

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Ray Liotta
Ray Liotta at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival
Born(1954-12-18) December 18, 1954 (age 59)
Newark, New Jersey
United States
Alma materUniversity of Miami
Years active1978–present
Spouse(s)Michelle Grace
(1997–2004; divorced)
Partner(s)Catherine Hickland
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Ray Liotta
Ray Liotta at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival
Born(1954-12-18) December 18, 1954 (age 59)
Newark, New Jersey
United States
Alma materUniversity of Miami
Years active1978–present
Spouse(s)Michelle Grace
(1997–2004; divorced)
Partner(s)Catherine Hickland

Raymond Allen "Ray" Liotta (born December 18, 1954) is an American actor, best known for his portrayal of Henry Hill in the crime-drama Goodfellas (1990) and as 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[edit]

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.[6] As an actor, Liotta says he doesn't think that actors should not 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.[6] "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 Stephen 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]

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]

Personal life[edit]

Liotta married actress Michelle Grace in February 1997 after they met at her ex-husband (Mark Grace)'s professional baseball game.[25] 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]



1983Lonely Lady, TheThe Lonely LadyJoe Heron
1986Something WildRay SinclairBoston 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)
1987Arena BrainsThe ArtistShort film
1988Dominick and EugeneEugene "Gino" Luciano
1989Field of DreamsShoeless Joe Jackson
1990GoodfellasHenry Hill
1992Article 99Dr. Richard Sturgess
1992Unlawful EntryOfficer Pete DavisNominated: MTV Movie Award for Best Villain
1994No EscapeCapt. J.T. Robbins
1994Corrina, CorrinaManny Singer
1995Operation Dumbo DropCapt. T.C. Doyle
1996UnforgettableDr. David Krane
1997TurbulenceRyan Weaver
1997Cop LandDet. Gary "Figgsy" Figgis
1998PhoenixHarry CollinsAlso co-producer
1999Muppets from SpaceGate Guard # 1Cameo
1999Forever MineMark Brice
2000Rumor of Angels, AA Rumor of AngelsNathan Neubauer
2001HannibalPaul Krendler
2001HeartbreakersDean Cummano / Vinny Staggliano
2001BlowFred Jung
2002NarcDet. Lt. Henry OakAlso producer
Nominated: Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Nominated: Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actor
2002John QChief Gus Monroe
2002TickerFBI AgentShort film
2003IdentitySamuel Rhodes
2004Last Shot, TheThe Last ShotJack Devine
2004ControlLee Ray OliverDirect-to-video
2005RevolverDorothy Macha
2005Slow BurnFord ColeCo-executive producer
2006Even MoneyTom Carver
2006Take the LeadExecutive producer
2006Local ColorJohn Talia Sr.
2006Comeback SeasonWalter Pearce
2006Smokin' AcesDonald Carruthers
2007Wild HogsJack Blade
2007In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege TaleGallian
2007Battle in SeattleMayor Jim Tobin
2007Bee MovieHimself (voice)
2008Hero WantedDet. Terry Subcott
2009Crossing OverCole Frankel
2009Observe and ReportDet. Harrison
2009Powder BlueJack Doheny
2009La LineaMark ShieldsAlso executive producer
2009Youth in RevoltLance Wescott
2010Crazy on the OutsideGray
2010Date NightJoe Miletto
2010SnowmenReggie Kirkfield
2010Chasing 3000Adult Mickey
2010Charlie St. CloudFlorio Ferrente
2011The DetailsPeter Mazzoni
2011Son of No One, TheThe Son of No OneCaptain Marion Mathers
2011All Things Fall ApartDr. Brintall
2011Street Kings: Motor CityMarty KingstonDirect-to-video
2011River Murders, TheThe River MurdersJack Verdon
2011Field of Dreams 2: LockoutRoger GoodellShort film
2011Ticket OutJim
2011Entitled, TheThe EntitledRichard Nader
2012Killing Them SoftlyMarkie Trattman
2012BreathlessSheriff Cooley
2012The IcemanRoy DeMeo
2012Place Beyond the Pines, TheThe Place Beyond the PinesDeluca
2012Bad KarmaMolloy
2012Dear DraculaCount Dracula (voice)Direct-to-video
2013Devil's in the Details, TheThe Devil's in the DetailsDr. Robert Michaels
2013PawnMan in the Suit
2013SuddenlyTodd Shaw
2014Better Living Through ChemistryJack Roberts
2014Muppets Most WantedBig Papa
2014The IdenticalReece Wade
2014Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForJoey
2014Revenge of the Green DragonsMichael Bloom
2014Kill the MessengerJohn Cullen
2015Flock of DudesUncle ReedPost-production
2015AloneMr. AncilliaPost-production
2015Sticky NotesJackPost-production


1980Hardhat and LegsFamilyTV movie
1980–1981Another WorldJoey Perrini #28 episodes
1981Crazy TimesJohnny "Wizard" LazarraTV movie
1983St. ElsewhereMurrayEpisode: "Rain"
1983CasablancaSacha5 episodes
1984Mike HammerTony CableEpisode: "Kill Devil"
1985Our Family HonorOfficer Ed Santini10 episodes
1990Women and Men: Stories of SeductionJerry DamonTV movie
1991Women & Men 2: In Love There Are No RulesMartin MeadowsTV movie
1995FrasierBob (voice)Episode: "Frasier Grinch"
1998Rat Pack, TheThe Rat PackFrank SinatraTV movie
Nominated: Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2001Family GuyZack (voice)Episode: "Brian Does Hollywood"
2001–2002Just Shoot Me!Himself2 episodes
2002Point of OriginJohn Leonard Orr / Aaron StilesTV movie
2004ERCharlie MetcalfEpisode: "Time of Death"
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series
Prism Award for Best Performance in a Drama Series Episode
2006–2007SmithBobby Stevens7 episodes
2008SpongeBob SquarePantsTrevor (voice)Episode: "What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?"
2010Hannah Montana ForeverPrincipal LugerEpisode: "Hannah Montana to the Principal's Office"
2011The LeagueMr. HudabegaEpisode: "Yobogoya!"
2012Phineas and FerbHimself (voice)Episode: "What A Croc!"
2012NTSF:SD:SUV::JasonEpisode: "Wasilla Hills Cop"
2012Abominable ChristmasAbominable Dad (voice)TV movie
2014The MoneyGeorge ArcherPilot
2015Texas RisingMiniseries

Video games[edit]

2002Grand Theft Auto: Vice CityTommy Vercetti (voice)G-Phoria Award for Best Male Voice Performance
Spike Video Game Awards for Best Performance by a Human
2013Call of Duty: Black Ops IIBilly Handsome (voice)Mob of the Dead DLC



Music Videos[edit]

2014Lovers on the SunSingleThe Villain

| The Villain


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  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". Movies.yahoo.com. Retrieved 7 July 2009. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h King, Larry (3 September 2014). "Ray Liotta". Larry King Now. Ora. Retrieved 6 September 2014. 
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  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. ^ Longsdorf, Amy (22 January 2003). "Ray Liotta finds intense adrenaline rush in 'Narc'". Pottstown Mercury. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 

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