Entertainment

Ray Liotta’s career was finally booming again before his death

Ask anyone what their favorite Ray Liotta film was and most will immediately say “Goodfellas”. Good answer. It’s one of the best mob movies ever made.

But that was in 1990. Many years after playing new mobster Henry Hill in the Martin Scorsese classic – a twist that was both innocent and dangerous – the ‘Field of Dreams’ star languished in unforgettable images, made silly cameos as himself and appeared in low-quality direct-to-video fare. James Mangold’s 1997’s “Cop Land,” also starring Sylvester Stallone, was a rare bright spot.

Despite this, he never became the leading man his searing talent might have suggested.

So part of the sadness at the news of Liotta’s shocking death at the age of 67 is that he was in the midst of an exciting career comeback – a renewed recognition of his amazing skills. For the past three years, the Union, NJ born actor has given strong performances in big, notable films.

Watching him recently, one could not help feeling that one was witnessing a new beginning – one that was pitifully cut short.

Read more The New York Post’s coverage of Ray Liotta’s death

Liotta played Henry Hill in Goodfellas alongside Lorraine Bracco.

Ever since Goodfellas, Liotta has existed far removed from the Oscars conversation (also remember that Joe Pesci won for this film while Liotta wasn’t even nominated).

That all changed in 2019 when he starred in Noah Baumbach’s Best Picture-nominated Marriage Story, starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. In the dramedy about the crumbling relationship between two New York showbiz guys, he was a real eye-catcher as Driver’s divorce attorney. Johansson’s attorney was, of course, played by Laura Dern, who has enjoyed her own career renaissance.

Ray Liotta as Hollywood Dick (center) with Joey Coco Diaz and John Borras "Many saints."
Liotta was the highlight of the Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark.
AP
Ray Liotta a "history of marriage."
In “Marriage Story,” Liotta was a scene thief as Adam Driver’s cutthroat divorce attorney.
© Netflix/Courtesy of Everett Colle

Think what you will about last year’s controversial Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark, but Liotta was by far the best role in the flick, which was undoubtedly a speaker. He played Sally Moltisanti, who starts out as a boisterous clown who gets the only laughs in the film and morphs into a scary woman molester in a frightening way. Outdoing himself, he takes on the role of Sally’s imprisoned twin brother “Hollywood Dick” in later scenes.

And in last spring’s “No Sudden Move,” directed by Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh, Liotta had a small but intense scene as a gangster opposite Benicio del Toro.

His snowball comeback wasn’t a blip, either. The actor has five more films in the can, starring Demi Moore and Keri Russell, all of which will now be released posthumously. The late Liotta will surely deliver the kind of engaging, electric performances his fans have cherished for more than 30 years. If you check, they will come.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/26/ray-liottas-career-was-finally-booming-again-before-his-death/ Ray Liotta’s career was finally booming again before his death

Emma Bowman

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