Acclaimed director Martin Scorsese is paying tribute to his friend and “Goodfellas” star Ray Liotta after his untimely death.
Liotta died in her sleep on Wednesday night of unknown causes while filming a movie in the Dominican Republic. He was 67.
The 79-year-old Gangs of New York filmmaker shared a touching statement with People on Thursday, noting, “I am absolutely shocked and devastated by the sudden, unexpected death of Ray Liotta. He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so daring as an actor.”
“Playing Henry Hill in ‘Goodfellas’ was challenging because the character had so many different facets, so many intricate layers, and Ray was in almost every scene of a long, tough shoot,” he continued. “He absolutely amazed me and I will always be proud of the work we did together on this picture. My heart goes out to his loved ones and I grieve for his loss far too soon.”
The ‘Corina, Corina’ actor’s ‘Goodfellas’ co-star Robert De Niro told The Post of his death on Thursday: ‘I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s death. He’s far too young to leave us. Rest in peace.”
His other “Goodfellas” co-star and “Sopranos” alumnus, Lorraine Bracco, also wrote a touching tribute to her friend on Twitter Thursday.
“I am deeply shocked to hear this terrible news about my Ray.” She wrote. “I can be anywhere in the world and people will come and tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas. Then they always ask what was the best thing about making that film. My answer was always the same… Ray Liotta.”
Liotta is survived by his fiancée Jacy Nittolo (46) and daughter Karsen (23).
While the New Jersey native was known for playing a mobster in Scorsese’s 1990 drama and the 2021 “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark,” the “Shades of Blue” star was terrified shortly after “Goodfellas ‘ being labeled as a mafioso. Premiered.
He also turned down the role of Ralphie, played by Joe Pantoliano, in the 1999 HBO crime series.
He explained in an interview with the Guardian last September that he was approached by Sopranos creator David Chase to play a different character.
“No! I don’t know where that story came from,” Liotta said of the idea of being offered the role of Tony Soprano. “David spoke to me once about playing Ralphie. But never Tony.”
“I didn’t want to do another mafia thing, so I made Hannibal. It just didn’t feel right at the time,” he said.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/27/martin-scorsese-mourns-goodfellas-star-ray-liotta-after-death/ Martin Scorsese mourns ‘Goodfellas’ star Ray Liotta after death