Ray Liotta, of ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Field of Dreams,’ dies at 67
By Neil Genzlinger
Ray Liotta, who created intense, memorable characters in “Goodfellas,” “Field of Dreams” and other films as well as on television, died Wednesday night or early Thursday in a hotel in the Dominican Republic, where he was filming a movie. He was 67.
His publicist, Jennifer Allen, said that he died in his sleep and that the cause was not yet known.
Liotta was known primarily for having played Joey Perrini, a character he once called “the nicest guy in the world,” on soap opera “Another World” when he landed an entirely different kind of role in the 1986 comic crime story “Something Wild.” His friend Melanie Griffith leaned on the film’s director, Jonathan Demme, to consider him, and he landed the role of her character’s menacing husband, an ex-con.
“Mr. Liotta, a newcomer, nearly walks off with his sections of the film,” Vincent Canby wrote in his review in The New York Times — and suddenly he was in demand for such parts.
The most notable of those was his portrayal of gangster Henry Hill in “Goodfellas,” Martin Scorsese’s acclaimed 1990 film. The year before, he had won acclaim for a quieter type of intensity when he played baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in “Field of Dreams.”
“Ray can be very still, almost like a cat,” director Howard Deutch told the Times in 1992. “He’s very powerful in his stillness. You have the sense that he’s combustible.”