A visible devastated Jacy Nittolo returned to the house she shared with the Goodfellas actor on Friday morning
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Ray Liotta’s visibly distressed fiancée has been pictured returning home to Los Angeles for the first time since the veteran actor died in his sleep aged just 67. 

Jacy Nittolo, 47, was with Liotta in the Dominican Republic when he died on Thursday, while filming a new movie called Dangerous Waters, with actress Saffron Burrows.

On Friday, a distraught-looking Nittolo returned to California, accompanied by aides bringing in large bouquets of flowers. A new photo shared Thursday night showed the couple dining together in a steakhouse in the Dominican Republic just two days before Liotta’s death.

She was seen entering the Pacific Palisades home that Liotta bought in 2003, having sold his previous home nearby – reportedly to Britney Spears. Liotta bought the 8,575 square foot, five bedroom Mediterranean villa in the 1990s, and sold it in the early 2000s.

He remained in the area.

Two nights before he died, Liotta was pictured dining with Nittolo at an upscale steakhouse in the Dominican Republic.

‘We were fortunate to host Ray for dinner on Tuesday night,’ wrote the owners of Naca’n on social media.

‘He was a special person and talented actor that will be missed – your friends at Naca’n will remember you fondly – #RestinPeace.’

Naca’n shared a photo of the couple at the establishment on Tuesday after they ate.

‘Mr Ray Liotta joined us for dinner with friends,’ the caption read. 

‘We had a nice chat about the history of our building and our business. Very friendly and generous gentleman. #Nacan #NacanLikes #FineDining #goodfellas.’

A visible devastated Jacy Nittolo returned to the house she shared with the Goodfellas actor on Friday morning

A visible devastated Jacy Nittolo returned to the house she shared with the Goodfellas actor on Friday morning

Nittolo is pictured on Friday morning being helped with her luggage, having returned from the Dominican Republic. Her fiancee Ray Liotta died on the island in his sleep on Thursday

Nittolo is pictured on Friday morning being helped with her luggage, having returned from the Dominican Republic. Her fiancee Ray Liotta died on the island in his sleep on Thursday

Liotta and Nittolo began dating in 2020, and made their red carpet debut (pictured) in February 2020

Liotta and Nittolo began dating in 2020, and made their red carpet debut (pictured) in February 2020

An emotional-looking Nittolo is seen returning to the home she shared with Liotta

An emotional-looking Nittolo is seen returning to the home she shared with Liotta

Nittolo left the island 24 hours after her fiance was found dead. His cause of death has not been released, but he died in his sleep

Nittolo left the island 24 hours after her fiance was found dead. His cause of death has not been released, but he died in his sleep

Nittolo and Liotta got engaged in December 2020. It's unclear if they set a date for their wedding

Nittolo and Liotta got engaged in December 2020. It’s unclear if they set a date for their wedding

Nittolo and Liotta were introduced by their children, with Liotta's daughter Karsten and Nittolo's son Chazz thinking their parents would get along

Nittolo and Liotta were introduced by their children, with Liotta’s daughter Karsten and Nittolo’s son Chazz thinking their parents would get along

Nittolo is seen being helped from her car, having arrived back home

Nittolo is seen being helped from her car, having arrived back home

Two people were waiting to greet her: it was unclear if they were aides or relatives

Two people were waiting to greet her: it was unclear if they were aides or relatives

The pair helped Nittolo with her luggage as she returned to the Pacific Palisades house

The pair helped Nittolo with her luggage as she returned to the Pacific Palisades house

Workers were seen carrying bouquets of flowers into the Pacific Palisades house

Workers were seen carrying bouquets of flowers into the Pacific Palisades house

A large white floral tribute was seen being delivered to the home on Friday

A large white floral tribute was seen being delivered to the home on Friday

Liotta bought this Pacific Palisades home in the late 1990s, and then sold it in the early 2000s - reportedly to Britney Spears. He continued to live in the neighborhood

Liotta bought this Pacific Palisades home in the late 1990s, and then sold it in the early 2000s – reportedly to Britney Spears. He continued to live in the neighborhood

Nittolo and Liotta were last seen together in California on May 1, having dinner at a Pacific Palisades Italian restaurant, Spruzzo. 

In January this year, the pair were pictured enjoying the beach on the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

Nittolo and Liotta got engaged in December 2020, after being introduced by their children.

Liotta is father to 23-year-old Karsen, who was born while he was married to actress and producer Michelle Grace, from 1997 to 2004.

Nittolo has four children with ex-husband Joey, a film producer who made Vin Diesel’s A Man Apart in 2003.

She frequently posts images of her son Dax, 24; son Chazz, 22; daughter Jade, 19; and son Joey, 11.

Liotta and Nittolo are pictured on Tuesday, having dinner at a steakhouse in the Dominican Republic

Liotta and Nittolo are pictured on Tuesday, having dinner at a steakhouse in the Dominican Republic

Liotta and Nittolo are seen in January, on vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Liotta and Nittolo are seen in January, on vacation in the U.S. Virgin Islands

Liotta was seen on Sunday, posing with a fan in the Dominican Republic. It is one of the last known photos of the beloved actor

Liotta was seen on Sunday, posing with a fan in the Dominican Republic. It is one of the last known photos of the beloved actor

Liotta in September 2021 told Live with Kelly and Ryan that Karsen was at a party, and met Chazz.

Karsen and Chazz decided to set their parents up.

Liotta said that when Nittolo found out who he was, she said: ‘Wait a second though, isn’t he, like, in his 60s? I’m in my 40s.’

He added: ‘But the buzz-kill for me was she also had a 10-year-old. When you’re in your 60s, the last thing that you want is a 10-year-old. Luckily this kid is very cool!’

The couple started dating in 2020, and in February of that year made their red carpet debut, at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Liotta won the ensemble Robert Altman award alongside his Marriage Story cast mates Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver and Laura Dern. 

Liotta said the lockdown brought them closer.

‘It brought us really, really close, to the point now where I’m engaged,’ he told People last year.

Liotta announced the news on his Instagram, writing: ‘Christmas wishes do come true. I asked the love of my life to marry me, and thank God she said yes!!!’

An ecstatic Nittolo and Liotta are seen celebrating their engagement, in December 2020

An ecstatic Nittolo and Liotta are seen celebrating their engagement, in December 2020

Nittolo and Liotta are seen at the premier of Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark in September 2021

Nittolo and Liotta are seen at the premier of Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark in September 2021

His fiancee is Italian-American and started working as a hairstylist when she was 16 years old, according to The Sun.

She dreamed of owning the studio, and Joey bought her the studio when they married.

In December 2017, she posted a photo showing her and her staff in Christmas sweaters, doing shots at a bar during their festive celebration.

Liotta grew up in New Jersey, and was raised by adoptive parents.

He hired a private detective in 1997 to track down his mother, who left him in an orphanage when he was a baby. When he found her, she was cagey about his background, but confirmed she was Irish. His adoptive parents were Scottish and Italian.

Nittolo had her own family tragedy: her father and uncle were convicted in 1995 of hiring two hitmen to kill their parents.

In September 1995, her father and uncle were convicted of hiring two hitmen, Steve and Robert Homick, to kill their parents.

Her father died in prison in 2014.

Then in 2000, her brother was in a car accident that caused severe brain damage.

Liotta and Nittolo, at the time of his death, were staying at the luxurious five-star Casas del VXI resort on the island of Hispaniola, which the Dominican Republic shares with the neighboring nation of Haiti.

The resort is a collection of individual houses and rooms in the capital of Santo Domingo, some of which date back to the 16th century – making them some of the oldest in the city’s historical quarter.

Rooms offer butler and concierge service as standard, and boast of enhanced security and privacy measures for guests. Beds start around $300 per night, but the standout feature are the individual houses which come equipped with private pools, patios and dining rooms – with prices only available on inquiry.

Liotta and Nittolo were at the hotel while he was filming a new movie Dangerous Waters – about a sailing-holiday gone awry when a daughter discovers the haunting past of her mother’s new boyfriend – when he passed away in his sleep.

Medics were called to the resort but were unable to save him, with his body now taken for a post-mortem. There is no indication yet of his cause of death, but also no suspicion of foul play.

It is thought Liotta had been suffering from poor health when he visited Los Angeles in March, where those who saw him checking into the Beverley Hills Hotel saying he was ‘slow and steady’ on his feet, ‘noticeably pale’ and required help to put on his jacket.

But he looked healthier in pictures taken at the start of this month as he strolled through Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles with his fiancee.

Liotta was known to be a smoker, but had started appearing in adverts for Chantix – a stop-smoking medication – telling viewers: ‘I tried to quit smoking for years on my own. I couldn’t do it. I needed help.’

Ray Liotta is believed to have been staying at the five-star Casas del VXI resort in the Dominican Republic capital of Santo Domingo when he passed away in his sleep on Thursday (pictured, one of the resort's rooms)

Ray Liotta is believed to have been staying at the five-star Casas del VXI resort in the Dominican Republic capital of Santo Domingo when he passed away in his sleep on Thursday (pictured, one of the resort’s rooms)

The hotel's rooms start around $300 per night for a room, but the standout accommodation is the individual houses (pictured) which feature private pools and dining rooms, and whose prices are only available on request

The hotel’s rooms start around $300 per night for a room, but the standout accommodation is the individual houses (pictured) which feature private pools and dining rooms, and whose prices are only available on request

Casas del VXI is located in the Zona Colonial - the oldest part of the Dominican Republic's capital, dating back to the 16th century - with some of the houses preserved from that period

Casas del VXI is located in the Zona Colonial – the oldest part of the Dominican Republic’s capital, dating back to the 16th century – with some of the houses preserved from that period

Butler and concierge service is offered with the hotel rooms as standard, and the resort boasts of enhanced privacy and security measures for their guests (pictured above, one of the private house pools)

Butler and concierge service is offered with the hotel rooms as standard, and the resort boasts of enhanced privacy and security measures for their guests (pictured above, one of the private house pools)

People linked to the filming leave the hotel where Liotta died at the age of 67, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, today

People linked to the filming leave the hotel where Liotta died at the age of 67, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, today

Goodfellas star Ray Liotta (pictured earlier this month) has died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic aged 67 where he was filming Dangerous Waters

Deadline reported the star (pictured in March passed away in his sleep but did not say when or how but TMZ claimed there was no foul play suspected

Goodfellas star Ray Liotta (left, earlier this month and right, in March) has died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic aged 67 where he was filming Dangerous Waters 

The legendary gangster actor (pictured in LA at the end of March) passed away on the Caribbean island halfway through recording Dangerous Waters, about a sailing holiday spiraling out of control

The legendary gangster actor (pictured in LA at the end of March) passed away on the Caribbean island halfway through recording Dangerous Waters, about a sailing holiday spiraling out of control

Façade of the hotel where Liotta passed away overnight in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. People were seen leaving the hotel today

Façade of the hotel where Liotta passed away overnight in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. People were seen leaving the hotel today

He was perhaps best known for his incredible performance in Martin Scorsese's 1990 classic Goodfellas, where he played Henry Hill while Robert De Niro took on the role of Jimmy Conway

He was perhaps best known for his incredible performance in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 classic Goodfellas, where he played Henry Hill while Robert De Niro took on the role of Jimmy Conway

The actor appeared to shy away from his fame in the 1990s and kept a low profile but a resurgence in more recent years. Pictured: Goodfellas

The actor appeared to shy away from his fame in the 1990s and kept a low profile but a resurgence in more recent years. Pictured: Goodfellas  

His sudden death shocked fans as he was embarking on a huge resurgence in his career recent years, with him staring alongside Taron Egerton in Black Bird later this year.

He also featured in The Many Saints of Newark, Marriage Story and No Sudden Move in more recent years as his acting took off again.

But he was best known for his incredible performance in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 gangster classic Goodfellas, where he played Henry Hill while De Niro, 78, took on the role of Jimmy Conway.

Deadline reported the star passed away in his sleep and TMZ claimed there was no foul play suspected.

His publicist Jennifer Allen, from Viewpoint, said the actor died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic, where he was filming Dangerous Waters. Nittolo was on location at the time of his death.

A spokesman for the Dominican Republic’s General Direction of Cinema said: ‘We understand that he was accompanied by his wife and that the wife asks that you please respect her grief.’

A source who saw the actor in March told DailyMail.com how he looked frail and moved carefully.

They said: ‘Ray looked slow and unsteady on his feet. He was noticeably pale and needed help from the valet putting on his jacket. His fiancée was carrying all the bags to help him out.’

The actor most recently spoke on social media in an Instagram post three weeks ago where he plugged his new movie Cocaine Bear.

He wrote: ‘Cocaine Bear follows an oddball group of cops, criminals, tourists and teens converging in a Georgia forest where a 500-pound apex predator has ingested a staggering amount of the white powder and goes on a coke-fueled rampage seeking more blow — and blood.’

Liotta had been a smoker up until around 2018 where he started appearing in Pfizer’s Chantix adverts, which he said helped him pack in the cigarettes.

In one he says: ‘In the movies, a lot of times I tend to play the tough guy. But I wasn’t tough enough to quit on my own – not until I tried Chantix.’

A spokesman for the firm previously said the actor had ‘wanted to share his story to help others’ so joined its cast for the commercials. 

The Goodfellas, the bad, and the ugly: Inside wild life of Ray Liotta, who was abandoned at birth, saw his adoptive mom die in his arms while filming gangster film that shot him to stardom – and the scandals and arrests that dimmed his decades-long career

The news of Goodfellas star Ray Liotta’s sudden death today sent shockwaves through Hollywood – prompting an outpouring of tributes from stars around the world, including several of his surviving co-stars from the gangster movie that shot him to stardom. 

But while Liotta, who passed away in his sleep in a hotel in the Dominican Republic, is best remembered for his work on the big screen and his dominance of the mob movie genre, behind the scenes, his life was as dramatic and, at times, tragic, as many of the characters he portrayed.  

The legendary actor – who is best known for playing mob leader Henry Hill in Goodfellas – passed away in bed on Thursday on the Caribbean island of Zona Colonial.

He was in the midst of filmign the upcoming flick Dangerous Waters, which is being directed by John Barr and is also set to star Eric Dane, Odeya Rush, and Saffron Burrows.

An emergency service team reportedly rushed to the building, but he could not be saved; his body was transferred to the forensic institute of Santo Domingo and there is no suspicion of foul play. 

In the wake of his sudden passing, FEMAIL has taken a look back at his impressive career – including how he overcame tragedy to become a global superstar. 

The legendary actor - who is most known for playing mob leader Henry Hill in Goodfellas - has tragically died in his sleep at a hotel in the Dominican Republic at age 67 - where he was filming a new movie. He is pictured in Goodfellas

The legendary actor – who is most known for playing mob leader Henry Hill in Goodfellas – has tragically died in his sleep at a hotel in the Dominican Republic at age 67 – where he was filming a new movie. He is pictured in Goodfellas

In the wake of his sudden passing, FEMAIL has taken a look back at his impressive career - including how he overcame tragedy to become a global superstar. He is pictured in October

In the wake of his sudden passing, FEMAIL has taken a look back at his impressive career – including how he overcame tragedy to become a global superstar. He is pictured in October

Liotta, who has a grand list of more than 120 acting credits, was left at an orphanage by his mother when he was a baby. 

He was adopted at age six by a New Jersey couple, and for decades he struggled to come to terms with the fact that his biological mother had given him up.

Decades later, with the help of his ex-wife, Michelle Grace, the star was able to find and reunite with his birth mom, however, he later called their meet up ‘disappointing,’ adding, ‘Thank God I was adopted.’

Liotta faced heartbreak once again while making the 1990 gangster movie Goodfellas – when his adoptive mother died of cancer while he was holding her in his arms, having raced from the set of the movie to see her once more before she passed away.

However, despite being plagued with tribulation in his family life, the star flourished in his career – landing a huge array of roles throughout his decades-long profession as an actor.

He was also able to find love late in life, falling for a former hairstylist named Jacy Nittolo, 47, during the pandemic, whom he was gearing up to marry before his tragic death.

A spokesman for the Dominican Republic’s General Direction of Cinema confirmed the news, stating: ‘We understand that he was accompanied by his [fiancée] and that the [fiancée] asks that you please respect her grief.’ 

The actor had been spotted out and about in Los Angeles back in March, where onlookers told DailyMail.com exclusively that he appeared ‘noticeably pale’ and ‘needed help from the valet putting on his jacket.’ 

The source added that he was ‘slow and steady on his feet,’ and that Nittolo had to help him by carrying all his bags from the car to the hotel. 

But the acclaimed movie star looked healthier in pictures taken at the start of this month, as he strolled through Pacific Palisades with his fiancée. 

From how having a crush on a cute girl inspired him to get into acting to how he prevailed despite being abandoned by his birth mom as a baby and his adoptive mother dying in his arms – FEMAIL has recapped Liotta’s extraordinary life.

Ray Liotta’s childhood: How being abandoned by his mom as a baby plagued him for years to come

Liotta was born in New Jersey, on December 18, 1954. His mother left him at an orphanage as a baby, and he was adopted at the age of six by couple named Mary and Alfred Liotta. He is pictured with his adoptive father and sister

Liotta was born in New Jersey, on December 18, 1954. His mother left him at an orphanage as a baby, and he was adopted at the age of six by couple named Mary and Alfred Liotta. He is pictured with his adoptive father and sister

Liotta was born in Newark, New Jersey, on December 18, 1954. His mother left him at an orphanage as a baby, and he was adopted at the age of six by a Scottish township clerk and an Italian auto-parts store owner named Mary and Alfred Liotta. His sister, Linda, was also adopted.

Throughout his childhood, both of Liotta’s parents ran for local office but neither of them won. 

He previously told NJ.com that he spent most of his time as a kid playing sports – including basketball, baseball, and football – and ‘pretend games’ like ‘army.’

Decades later, with the help of his ex-wife, Michelle Grace, the star was able to find and reunite with his birth mom, however, he later called their meet up 'disappointing,' adding, 'Thank God I was adopted.' He is pictured in 2012

Decades later, with the help of his ex-wife, Michelle Grace, the star was able to find and reunite with his birth mom, however, he later called their meet up ‘disappointing,’ adding, ‘Thank God I was adopted.’ He is pictured in 2012 

He was brought up as Catholic but later said he didn’t consider himself religious, since he remembered church as being a ‘scary place.’

‘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,’ he told the Christian Post in 2014. 

‘I was brought up Catholic and [the priest] 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.’

In a separate 2014 interview, however, he admitted that he ‘still prays.’

‘To this day, I still pray. Some days, you’ll listen to a bunch of scientists on some television show, and say, ‘There’s no way someone just said boom here it is.’ But yet, I still believe there’s gotta be something. I don’t know, did we really just crawl out of the sea?’ he once told MovieGuide.org.

His adoptive father, who passed away in 2015, had a long lasting effect on him, with Liotta explaining to Esquire in 2016 that he taught him from a young age to not ‘sweat the small stuff.’

‘He had an expression, my old man – ‘What it mean to me?” Liotta explained. ‘One of his stores was broken into a lot. It was happening like once or twice a month – calls in the middle of the night.

‘I went with him once and I said, ‘Dad, doesn’t this get you upset? Aren’t you tired of this?’ He said, ‘What it mean to me? What am I going to do? This is where my store is, I like the store being here. Things happen.’ He meant: ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff.’ I try not to.’

Although he played many tough mobsters throughout his career, Liotta once admitted that he wasn’t much of a fighter in real life and that his only physical altercation was in seventh grade.

‘It was me and this kid, and for some reason he wanted to challenge me that the food in his grammar school was better than the food in my grammar school,’ he told the Today show of the fight. ‘We sort of just beat each other, like a couple girls.’

He graduated from Union High School in 1973, and went on to attend the University of Miami, where he studied acting and received a BFA in 1978. 

Liotta (pictured in 1980) explained in 2014 interview with Larry King that at first, he resented his mother for giving him up. But after finding her and hearing her reasons for leaving him at the orphanage, he understood why she did it

Liotta (pictured in 1980) explained in 2014 interview with Larry King that at first, he resented his mother for giving him up. But after finding her and hearing her reasons for leaving him at the orphanage, he understood why she did it

As for his biological father, he didn't know much about him. He told Esquire, 'When I asked about what [nationality] my dad was, she wouldn't even talk about it. It was like it never even happened.' Liotta is pictured in 1990

As for his biological father, he didn’t know much about him. He told Esquire, ‘When I asked about what [nationality] my dad was, she wouldn’t even talk about it. It was like it never even happened.’ Liotta is pictured in 1990

During his time in college, he performed in musicals like Cabaret, Dames at Sea, Oklahoma, and Sound of Music.

As an adult, Liotta tracked down his biological mother with the help of his ex-wife Grace, who became  inspired after she watched an episode of Oprah that featured someone who’s job it was to locate lost family members. The locator, named Troy, was able to find his mother within a day. 

Liotta later told the Christian Post, ‘At the end of [the] show … there was this guy named Troy who was a locator and [my ex] called him without me knowing it and within a day he found out who my birth mother was.

‘The biggest thing that I got out of [our reunion] was, ‘Thank God I was adopted.”

He also told the Guardian that he was ‘disappointed’ when he finally met his mother, reiterating, ‘I was really grateful that I was adopted.’

In the process, he also found out he had a sister, as well as a half brother and five half-sisters. 

Liotta explained in 2014 interview with Larry King that at first, he resented his mother for giving him up. But after finding her and hearing her reasons for leaving him at the orphanage, he understood why she did it.

‘I used to wear being adopted on my sleeve, ‘How could you give up a kid,’ that sort of thing, but realized when I met her that she had really valid reasons,’ he said.

‘I then realized that almost 99 per cent of kids that are put up for adoption, it’s for the betterment of the kid… The household, the situation, the age just dictate that’s the best thing to do for the child.’

Throughout his life, Liotta believed he was half Irish and half Italian, but he was stunned when he reconnected with his mom and found out he was actually of Scottish descent. 

As for his biological father, he didn’t know much about him. He told Esquire, ‘When I asked about what [nationality] my dad was, she wouldn’t even talk about it. It was like it never even happened.’

Getting his start: How a crush inspired him to become an actor, despite him admitting he had no interest in the profession

He may have gone on to become a huge actor, but at first, Liotta (pictured in 2016) had no interest in becoming an actor. It wasn't until he met a 'really cute girl' in college that he decided to become a drama major for a chance to hit on her

He may have gone on to become a huge actor, but at first, Liotta (pictured in 2016) had no interest in becoming an actor. It wasn’t until he met a ‘really cute girl’ in college that he decided to become a drama major for a chance to hit on her

He may have gone on to become one of the biggest movie stars of all time, but at first, Liotta had no interest in becoming an actor.

He was more into sports, and it wasn’t until his drama teacher asked him to be in a school play that he decided to give it a try. 

According to the star, if he hadn't gone into acting, he would have been a construction worker. Liotta (pictured in 1989) explained to Esquire in 2016 that his dad wanted him to take over his automobile business

According to the star, if he hadn’t gone into acting, he would have been a construction worker. Liotta (pictured in 1989) explained to Esquire in 2016 that his dad wanted him to take over his automobile business

He told NJ.com, ‘I never wanted to be an actor. Basically I just played sports all the time. Basketball, baseball, football, you know, whatever the season was. 

‘But I remember senior year, basketball had stopped and the drama teacher asked me if I wanted to be in the play. So, alright, I’m not doing anything, I’m used to hanging around anyway, sure, I’ll be in the play.’

And even after appearing in the play, he still wasn’t drawn to the profession. But when he met a ‘really cute girl’ during college, who was in line to register for the drama department, he said he was inspired to switch majors.

‘I didn’t like [acting] at all. I didn’t like anything about it,’ he continued. ‘What happened afterward was, I went off to the University of Miami… I thought I’d stay a year, do liberal arts. 

‘But I looked at the requirements, and it sounded really hard. And then I looked over and right next to the liberal-arts department was the drama department. And there was this really cute girl in line to register…’

According to the star, if he hadn’t gone into acting, he would have been a construction worker. He explained to Esquire in 2016  that his dad wanted him to take over his automobile business, but he ‘hated’ that idea.

‘If I hadn’t have become an actor I’d have gone into construction. I always thought I would be doing construction. Those were jobs I had during the summer,’ he said.

‘My Dad also had a chain of automotive stores. I didn’t know until after I graduated college that he wanted me to take over the business. 

‘When he saw that I was interested in something else, he said, ‘Well, I’m sick of doing this,’ and moved in politics. But I never knew that he wanted me to take over. It was in his mind, but I hated it. To this day I hate the smell of rubber.’

Mob movie supremo: How Ray Liotta found stardom by playing gangsters, and why he turned down major roles

One of his earliest roles was as Joey Perrini in the soap opera Another World, which he starred in from 1978 to 1981. He then moved to Los Angeles, California, so he could pursue his acting career even further. He is pictured in Goodfellas

One of his earliest roles was as Joey Perrini in the soap opera Another World, which he starred in from 1978 to 1981. He then moved to Los Angeles, California, so he could pursue his acting career even further. He is pictured in Goodfellas

He also starred in sports fantasy movie Field of Dreams in 1989, before he landed the role as mobster Henry in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas in 1990 (pictured)

He also starred in sports fantasy movie Field of Dreams in 1989, before he landed the role as mobster Henry in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas in 1990 (pictured)

He also starred in sports fantasy movie Field of Dreams in 1989, before he landed the role as mobster Henry in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas in 1990 (pictured)

He later opened up about playing the gangster to NJ.com, admitting that it was difficult for him to portray such a 'violent person.' He said, 'It can get to you. I'm not a violent person and to play someone like that, you try to put yourself in their head'

He later opened up about playing the gangster to NJ.com, admitting that it was difficult for him to portray such a ‘violent person.’ He said, ‘It can get to you. I’m not a violent person and to play someone like that, you try to put yourself in their head’

After finishing college, Liotta moved to New York City where he got a job as a bartender at the Shubert Organization; and within six months of working there, he landed an agent.

One of his earliest roles was as Joey Perrini in the soap opera Another World, which he starred in from 1978 to 1981. He then moved to Los Angeles, California, so he could pursue his acting career even further.

He made his film debut in 1983 in the flick The Lonely Lad, however, what was considered his first major movie role came in 1986 in Something Wild, which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

He also starred in sports fantasy movie Field of Dreams in 1989, before he landed the role as mobster Henry in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas in 1990.

Goodfellas also starred Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, and Paul Sorvino, and went on to become one of the most popular movies of its time.

It grossed $47 million in the box office, and was nominated for six Academy awards, with Pesci winning for Best Supporting Actor. 

He later opened up about playing the gangster to NJ.com, admitting that it was difficult for him to portray such a ‘violent person.’

‘When you’re doing it, you try and stay in it, and in that mood as much as possible,’ he said. ‘It can get to you. 

‘I’m not a violent person and to play someone like that, and try to put yourself in their head – I’ve done movies where at the end of the shoot, I’m definitely exhausted.’

After Goodfellas, he starred in a slew of big movies and TV shows including psychological thriller Unlawful Entry, sci-fi flick No Escape, 1997’s Cop Land, crime movie Phoenix, The Rat Pack (in which he played Frank Sinatra), TV drama ER (which earned him an Emmy), Hannibal (alongside Anthony Hopkins and Julianne Moore), horror movie Identity, Wild Hogs (opposite John Travolta), 2009 crime drama Crossing Over, The Son of No One (with Channing Tatum), Date Night (which also starred Steve Carell), Killing Them Softly in 2012, western miniseries Texas Rising, and Shades of Blue (alongside Jennifer Lopez), among others.

Despite appearing in more than 120 titles throughout his career, he admitted that he still didn't feel like he fit in with his fellow actors. He said in 2007, 'I don't feel like I'm one of the guys. My personality is more mellow.' He is pictured in Goodfellas

Despite appearing in more than 120 titles throughout his career, he admitted that he still didn’t feel like he fit in with his fellow actors. He said in 2007, ‘I don’t feel like I’m one of the guys. My personality is more mellow.’ He is pictured in Goodfellas

After Goodfellas, he starred in a slew of big movies and TV shows including The Rat Pack (pictured) - in which he played Frank Sinatra - and Copland - which also starred Michael Rapaport and Harvey Keitel

After Goodfellas, he starred in a slew of big movies and TV shows including The Rat Pack - in which he played Frank Sinatra - and Copland (pictured) - which also starred Michael Rapaport and Harvey Keitel

After Goodfellas, he starred in a slew of big movies and TV shows including The Rat Pack (left) – in which he played Frank Sinatra – and Copland (right) – which also starred Michael Rapaport and Harvey Keitel

Some of his other roles included Unlawful Entry, No Escape, Phoenix, The Rat Pack, ER, Hannibal, Identity, Crossing Over, Date Night, Killing Them Softly (pictured), Rising, and Shades of Blue

Some of his other roles included Unlawful Entry, No Escape, Phoenix, The Rat Pack, ER, Hannibal, Identity, Crossing Over, Date Night, Killing Them Softly (pictured), Rising, and Shades of Blue

He also provided his voice for the video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in 2002, acted in the Broadway play Match in 2004, and narrated the AMC docu-series The Making of the Mob.

Ray Liotta starred in more than 80 movies in his five-decade career including:

  • 1983 The Lonely Lady Joe Heron
  • 1986 Something Wild Ray Sinclair
  • 1987 Arena Brains
  • 1988 Dominick and Eugene
  • 1989 Field of Dreams
  • 1990 Goodfellas
  • 1992 Article 99
  • 1994 No Escape
  • 1995 Operation Dumbo Drop
  • 1996 Unforgettable
  • 1997 Turbulence
  • 1998 Phoenix Detective
  • 1999 Muppets from Space Gate Guard, Forever Mine
  • 2000 Pilgrim Jack, A Rumor of Angels
  • 2001 Hannibal, Heartbreakers, Blow
  • 2002 Narc, John Q, Ticker
  • 2003 Identity
  • 2004 The Last Shot, Control
  • 2005 Revolver, Slow Burn
  • 2006 Even Money, Take the Lead, Local Color, Comeback Season, Smokin’ Aces
  • 2007 Wild Hogs, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale, Battle in Seattle, Bee Movie
  • 2008 Hero Wanted, Powder Blue
  • 2009 Crossing Over, Observe and Report, La Linea, Youth in Revolt
  • 2010 Crazy on the Outside, Date Night, Snowmen, Chasing 3000, Charlie St. Cloud
  • 2011 The Details, The Son of No One, All Things Fall Apart, Street Kings 2: Motor City, The River Murders, Field of Dreams 2: Lockout, The Entitled
  • 2012 Wanderlust, Killing Them Softly, Breathless, The Iceman, The Place Beyond the Pines, Ticket Out, Yellow, Bad Karma, Dear Dracula
  • 2013 The Devil’s in the Details
  • 2014 Better Living Through Chemistry, Muppets Most Wanted, The Identical, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Revenge of the Green Dragons, Stretch
  • 2015 Blackway, Campus Code
  • 2016 Sticky Notes, Flock of Dudes
  • 2019 Marriage Story
  • 2020 Hubie Halloween
  • 2021 No Sudden Move, The Many Saints of Newark
  • 2022 Broken Soldier

Despite his major success, Liotta once spoke out about the struggles of being an actor, especially when he didn’t land a role that he auditioned for.

‘The business is rough, no matter where you’re at in your career,’ he told NJ.com. ‘There’s always some reason for them to say no to you – that part of it is horrible

‘But the job itself – making people believe that what they’re seeing is really happening – that’s still a challenge, putting that puzzle together. You know, what can I say, I still like playing pretend. And it’s sure a fun way to make a living.’

 He also addressed the public reception of his movies, calling it ‘really disappointing’ when something he starred in got a negative review.

‘It’s really disappointing because our business is not a meritocracy,’ he told the Guardian.

‘It doesn’t matter how well you do; it’s how well the movie does. That predicts what’s going to happen with your jobs. The better the movie does, the more offers you get. So I was burned a couple of times, and disappointed.  

‘Back in 1991 I was picky about what I would do. But you can’t just sit around and wait for the perfect ones to turn up. You try to make the best choices that you can.’

Despite appearing in more than 120 titles throughout his career, he admitted that he still didn’t feel like he fit in with his fellow actors. 

He shared, ‘I don’t feel like I’m one of the guys. Even when I’m with these guys [his Hannibal costars] I feel I’m more quiet and let them take center stage. My personality is more mellow. I don’t need to be the center of attention. I don’t know if that’s being an outsider or not.’

While speaking to the Guardian in a separate interview last year, he admitted that he often turned down roles throughout his career, in the fear of playing similar characters back-to-back.

It turns out, he said no to portraying Ralphie in The Sopranos because he felt it was too much like his part in Goodfellas. 

‘I didn’t want to do another mafia thing, and I was shooting Hannibal. It just didn’t feel right at the time,’ he said.

However, as time went on, he became more willing to play whatever roles appealed to him.

‘If I played a bad guy, then I want to play a good guy, and then after a while, you just say ‘Whatever’s the best part, you do two bad guys in a row, so be it,’ he told the Digital FX in September.

He also told the Guardian, ‘Back in 1991. I was picky about what I would do. But you can’t just sit around and wait for the perfect ones to turn up. You try to make the best choices that you can, but I was turning down lots of things.’

Aside from The Sopranos, Liotta also turned down the role as Batman in 1989, after director Tim Burton considered casting him in the flick. Jack Nicholson ended up snagging the part.

‘I thought, ‘Batman? That’s a stupid idea,’ even though he’d had just done one of my favorite movies of all time, Beetlejuice. So yes, I regret not auditioning for that,’ he later told Irish News.

He added to Los Angeles Times, ‘I think Tim Burton is such a great, great director, and I’ve always regretted not going to meet him. Just to meet him, just to talk – whether I agreed with playing it – because I couldn’t wrap my head around and understand.’

Losing his adoptive mother: How Ray Liotta made one of the biggest movies of all time while dealing with the tragic loss

Liotta faced heartbreak while making the 1990 gangster movie Goodfellas - when his adoptive mother died of cancer while he was holding her in his arms. He is pictured in the movie

Liotta faced heartbreak while making the 1990 gangster movie Goodfellas – when his adoptive mother died of cancer while he was holding her in his arms. He is pictured in the movie

While making the movie Goodfellas, tragedy struck for Liotta when his adoptive mother died of cancer in his arms. 

It turns out, the actor got the news that she had taken a turn for the worse in the middle of filming, but he still made sure to finish the scene.

‘My mom was sick with cancer during the filming of Goodfellas, and she passed away in the middle of it… It put things in perspective in a really deep way,’ he told the Today show last year, while discussing the highly-acclaimed film.

‘I was doing a scene Friday. They told me [she was dying]. My knees buckled, but you realize you’ve got to go back and finish the scene. And I did.’

After wrapping up for the day, he rushed to the hospital and made it just in time to say goodbye. 

‘I went back [to the hospital] that night, and luckily I was there when she passed, literally in my arms. I’ve never really talked about that,’ he continued.

It turns out, the actor got the news that she had taken a turn for the worse in the middle of filming, but he still made sure to finish the scene, before rushing to the hospital to say goodbye. He is pictured in the movie

It turns out, the actor got the news that she had taken a turn for the worse in the middle of filming, but he still made sure to finish the scene, before rushing to the hospital to say goodbye. He is pictured in the movie

While talking to NJ.com, he called making the movie a ‘weird experience’ after suffering from the loss of his mom.

‘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,’ he recalled.

‘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.’

After his adoptive parents passed away, Liotta admitted that he wasn’t sure how they felt about his impressive acting career.

He explained that despite them often watching his appearances, they never told him they were proud of his achievements. 

He said in 2016: ‘You know, my parents never really said one way or the other if he was pleased I became successful. My mother passed away right in the middle of Goodfellas. 

‘I knew they were proud because they taped the shows I was on and they would watch them at night, but they never really said anything about it or how they thought I was doing.

‘My dad just passed away over Christmas at the age of 98. Like anything, you find out from other people. ‘You’re Dad talks about you so much.’ Really? He does?’

Inside Ray Liotta’s family and love life: How he found love in the years before his death 

Liotta met his ex-wife Grace in February 1997 when they both attended a baseball game, where her former husband Mark Grace was playing for the Chicago Cubs. The former couple is pictured in 2002

Liotta met his ex-wife Grace in February 1997 when they both attended a baseball game, where her former husband Mark Grace was playing for the Chicago Cubs. The former couple is pictured in 2002

Liotta and his ex-wife were married from 1999 to 2004. They welcomed one daughter together, named Karsen Liotta - who is now an actress herself. Liotta and Karsen are pictured in 2004

Liotta and his ex-wife were married from 1999 to 2004. They welcomed one daughter together, named Karsen Liotta – who is now an actress herself. Liotta and Karsen are pictured in 2004

Liotta couldn't stop gushing over his daughter while chatting to the Guardian in 2007. He said, 'My whole life is about her. Being a dad. She'll come up and visit me on set. I don't like to go too long without seeing her.' They are pictured in 2008

Liotta couldn’t stop gushing over his daughter while chatting to the Guardian in 2007. He said, ‘My whole life is about her. Being a dad. She’ll come up and visit me on set. I don’t like to go too long without seeing her.’ They are pictured in 2008

Liotta met his ex-wife Grace in February 1997 when they both attended a baseball game, where her former husband Mark Grace was playing for the Chicago Cubs.

Grace, now 53, is a producer and actress who was behind flicks like Baseball Wives and Knights of the South Bronx.

They married in 1999 and were together until 2004, when they got divorced. They welcomed one daughter together, named Karsen Liotta – who is now an actress herself.

Karsen, now 23, has modeled for brands like Brandy Melville, and has starred in A Rumor of Angels, Mississippi Requiem, Shades of Blue, Teenage Bada**, and Hubie Halloween.

According to the budding star, she fell in love with acting after visiting her father’s set as a kid.

‘I always go with him whenever I have a break,’ she told Teen Vogue in 2015. ‘I enjoy hanging out on location and meeting people.’ 

As for the lessons her dad taught her, she explained, ‘He taught me to do my homework, to always practice. That’s how you get where you want to be.’

Liotta couldn’t stop gushing over his daughter while chatting to the Guardian in 2007. He said, ‘My whole life is about her. Being a dad. She’ll come up and visit me on set. I don’t like to go too long without seeing her. 

‘Maybe a couple of weeks. I just had a period of four months at home because I decided not to do a movie so I could spend more time with her. It was all about taking her to dance classes, playing with her.’ 

Karsen, now 23, has modeled for brands like Brandy Melville, and has starred in A Rumor of Angels, Mississippi Requiem, Shades of Blue, Teenage Bada**, and Hubie Halloween

Karsen, now 23, has modeled for brands like Brandy Melville, and has starred in A Rumor of Angels, Mississippi Requiem, Shades of Blue, Teenage Bada**, and Hubie Halloween

Karsen, now 23, has modeled for brands like Brandy Melville, and has starred in A Rumor of Angels, Mississippi Requiem, Shades of Blue, Teenage Bada**, and Hubie Halloween 

According to the budding star, she fell in love with acting after visiting her father's set as a kid. 'I always go with him whenever I have a break,' she told Teen Vogue in 2015. 'I enjoy hanging out on location and meeting people'

According to the budding star, she fell in love with acting after visiting her father’s set as a kid. ‘I always go with him whenever I have a break,’ she told Teen Vogue in 2015. ‘I enjoy hanging out on location and meeting people’

The actor explained at the time of the interview – which took place three years after his divorce – that he was still friends with Grace and that they were focused on co-parenting their daughter.

‘It just didn’t work out,’ he said of the romance. ‘I would love to be in a relationship with the right person. That’s the key – the right person.

‘She’s a great woman, and thank God we’re still friends. She still stays over at the house, so Karsen can see us together. You want to give her as much semblance of a family unit as you can when you’re separated or divorced.’

Before his romance with Grace, Liotta dated a woman named Heidi – a former stunt woman who was a quadriplegic.

According to the outlet, they met through actress Melanie Griffith, but their romance fizzled out after Liotta realized he needed to focus more on his career.

‘We went to the movies, did everything like a regular girlfriend-boyfriend relationship – physically, sexually, everything,’ he told the outlet.

‘She just happened to be a quad. After a year it starts wearing on you. At first I hoped she’d get better. It was an intense relationship. It took so much out of me I was compromising the work part. I realized that to succeed in the dream I had to break away.’

Before his death, Liotta found love again with former hairstylist Jacy Nittolo, 47. The two started dating during the pandemic after his daughter set them up. They got engaged of December 2020

Before his death, Liotta found love again with former hairstylist Jacy Nittolo, 47. The two started dating during the pandemic after his daughter set them up. They got engaged of December 2020 

After he and Grace split, he had a brief relationship – which he kept hidden from the media – but he said it didn’t work out because he was still feeling ‘vulnerable’ from the divorce.

‘I had a relationship after I got divorced and it didn’t feel as equal as I would have liked,’ he admitted. ‘I was more vulnerable based on the experience I’d just been through. Everybody brings the dynamics of the previous relationships they were in.’

At the time, Liotta said he wasn’t dating anyone, but was still hoping to find the love of his life.

‘Dating, I haven’t really gotten into that at all. I’ve only had one or two dates in the past couple of years. It’s either going to happen, or not. I’m hoping that it is,’ he said, adding that he was looking for someone who was ‘not as career-oriented’ and who was ‘more about the relationship.’

‘You kind of want someone who is not at your beck and call but loves the idea of being in a relationship and what that entails. Being there for you,’ he continued.

Before his death, Liotta found love again with former hairstylist Jacy Nittolo, 47. The two started dating during the pandemic after his daughter set them up.

It turns out, she met Nittolo at a party thrown by her son Chazz, and she decided to play matchmaker.

‘She said, ‘I want you to go out with my dad, I think you’d be perfect for my dad,” Liotta recalled during a September 2021 appearance on Live With Kelly and Ryan, adding that Nittolo initially wanted ‘nothing’ to do with a famous actor, but she eventually came around.

Before meeting Liotta, Nittolo was previously married to a man named Joey Nittolo, and the pair share sons, Dax, Chazz, and Joey, and daughter, Jade. 

She and Liotta made their red carpet debut at the Film Independent Spirit Awards in February of 2020, and announced their engagement in December of that year. 

‘Christmas wishes do come true. I asked the love of my life to marry me, and thank God she said yes!’ he wrote on Instagram at the time. 

He opened up about their romance to People back in November, explaining: ‘Luckily, I had met somebody [during the pandemic], and it brought us really, really close, to the point now where I’m engaged.

‘So I like to think that was the reason. I’ve heard that there’s a lot of people whose relationship didn’t work out because they were with each other so much. But she’s just great.’

Courting controversy: How Ray Liotta skirted scandal throughout his decades-long career 

Throughout his decades-long career, Liotta had a few controversies and scandals. In 2016, the actor appeared on British TV show Good Morning Britain and seemed disoriented and confused, sparking speculation that he was drunk during the appearance (pictured)

Throughout his decades-long career, Liotta had a few controversies and scandals. In 2016, the actor appeared on British TV show Good Morning Britain and seemed disoriented and confused, sparking speculation that he was drunk during the appearance (pictured)

In 2007, Liotta faced controversy when he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, after he crashed his car into two parked vehicles in Pacific Palisades, California.

He was taken into custody and booked on a misdemeanor DUI charge, said Los Angeles Police spokesman Mike Lopez, according to Berkshire Eagle. He was released after posting $15,000 bail and later pled no contest. 

In 2016, the actor appeared on U.K. talk show Good Morning Britain and seemed disoriented and confused, sparking speculation that he was drunk during the appearance.

‘Liotta’s face was pale and bloated. He stumbled over his words and acted way out of character,’ NY Daily News reported at the time. 

That same year, the actor made headlines when he attended the SAG Awards sporting a suspiciously line-free face.

The actor raised eyebrows as he showed off his new look on the red carpet, leaving many people on the internet wondering if he had gotten plastic surgery.

At the time, some social media users compared him to characters from The Grinch and The Hunger Games. 

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