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Ray Liotta’s fiancee Jacy Nittolo has remembered the ‘deep love’ and ‘wild’ chemistry she shared with the late actor in a touching tribute posted to her Instagram account days after his passing at age 67.
‘My life these past couple of years have been nothing but truly magical,’ Nittolo, 47, posted to her Instagram account.
‘Ray and I share a deep love that I will cherish in my heart forever. We laughed daily and we were inseparable. The chemistry was wild in the best way. He was everything in the world to me and we couldn’t get enough of each other.
‘The kind of real love that one dreams of. He was the most beautiful person inside and out that I’ve ever known…and even that is an understatement.’
Nittolo and Liotta got engaged in December 2020, after being introduced by their children.
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.
‘He was everything in the world to me’: Ray Liotta’s fiancee Jacy Nittolo has remembered the ‘deep love’ and ‘wild’ chemistry she shared with the late actor in a touching tribute posted to her Instagram account days after his passing at age 67
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.’
Liotta and Nittolo are pictured enjoying a meal at a steakhouse together in the Dominican Republic just two days before the actor’s sudden death
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
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 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.
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
A large white floral tribute was seen being delivered to the home on Friday
The actor said the COVID-19 lockdown brought him and Nittolo closer together.
‘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!!!’
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 her former husband, 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 said the COVID-19 lockdown brought him and Nittolo closer together
Nittolo is Italian-American and started working as a hairstylist when she was 16 years old. She is pictured with Liotta
The couple started dated in 2020. They are pictured in an undated photo Nittolo shared on Instagram in her tribute to Liotta
Nittolo shared an undated photo of the couple and their loved ones on a beach in her Instagram tribute
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.
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.’
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
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)
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 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.
‘I tried to quit smoking for years on my own. I couldn’t do it. I needed help,’ he said in one commercial.
In another he stated: ‘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.
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 faced a few controversies and scandals
In 2007, 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.
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 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
Before finding Nittolo, Liotta was married to producer Michelle Grace.
He 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
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.’
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.’
Before his death, Liotta found love again with Nittolo. The two started dating during the pandemic after his daughter set them up
Nittolo and Liotta are seen at the premier of Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark in September 2021
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 Nittolo. The two started dating during the pandemic after his daughter set them up.
‘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.
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.’
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
Ray Liotta appears in a 2016 episode of Modern Family
Liotta’s 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.
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.’
The legendary actor passed away Thursday on the Caribbean island of Zona Colonial while in the midst of filming 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.
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 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’
Although he now has a grand list of more than 120 acting credits and has gone on to become one of the biggest movie stars of all time, Liotta initially 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.
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.
Liotta has a grand list of more than 120 acting credits and has gone on to become one of the biggest movie stars of all time. He is pictured in October
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
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
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.
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.
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
‘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.’