Ray Liotta Biography

(Actor and Producer Best Known for His Roles as ‘Shoeless Joe Jackson’ in Film ‘Field of Dreams’)

Birthday: December 18, 1954 (Sagittarius)

Born In: Newark, New Jersey, United States

Ray Liotta was a well-known Hollywood actor and producer. He stumbled into acting, gave dreadful performances, and was often typecast for playing a lot of violent psychotic characters. However, he undid all that by choosing fresh roles and building a wide gamut that shot down critics and naysayers who doubted his artistic talent. He entered the world of entertainment with TV which garnered high praise and earned him several nominations and awards. He received critical acclaim for his movies as well and has worked in two video games. His brilliance lay in his ability to portray edgy, menacing, and upsetting characters with ease. Despite being pigeonholed as a psychotic villain at the beginning of his career, he won recognition for his ability to portray a wide range of emotions. He carefully chose meatier roles that transport the audience through varied emotions, such as sorrow, remorse, joy, longing, etc. 

Quick Facts

Also Known As: Raymond Allen Liotta

Died At Age: 67


Spouse/Ex-: Michelle Grace (m. 1997–2004)

father: Alfred Liotta

mother: Mary Liotta

siblings: Linda Liotta

children: Karsen Liotta

Born Country: United States

Quotes By Ray Liotta Actors

Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males

Died on: May 26, 2022

place of death: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

U.S. State: New Jersey

City: Newark, New Jersey

More Facts

education: University Of Miami

Childhood & Early Life

Liotta was born on December 22, 1954, in Newark, New Jersey, to unmarried parents who put him up for adoption. When he was just 6 months old, he was adopted by foster parents, Alfred and Mary.

Although he was not very good at academics, he stood out in high school for his performance in soccer and basketball. In his spare time, he helped his father with his business and spent most of his holidays in Japan, Hawaii, and Europe.

He wasn’t interested in going to college but enrolled at the University of Miami for acting. He auditioned for a play – forgot all his lines and gave a disastrous performance. He was still given a chance to appear in plays like ‘Taming of the Shrew' and ‘Cabaret’ in his early years.

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Liotta started his acting career as Joey Perrini in ‘Another World’, a soap opera in which he acted from 1978 to 1981. The popularity of the show got him roles in made-for-TV movies and 20 other TV series.

He made his film debut with a controversial role in the offbeat classic, ‘The Lonely Lady’. Released in 1983, he essayed the role of a man who sexually assaulted the female lead in the movie.

In 1986, Liotta played the role of a jealous ex-husband, opposite Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels in ‘Something Wild’. This film earned him widespread critical acclaim for his on-screen portrayal of the volatile character.

In ‘Dominick and Eugene’, released in 1988, he played a sensitive medical student, who takes care of his brother. He then starred as ‘Shoeless Joe Jackson’ in ‘Field of Dreams’ which was released in 1989. Following this movie, he convinced directors to cast him in likable roles.

Throughout the 1990s, he played tough cops and mobsters - the most challenging role being that of Henry Hill in Scorcese’s film, ‘Goodfellas’, in 1992.

In ‘Unlawful Entry’, released in 1993, he played a psychotic cop, co-starring Kurt Russell and Madeleine Stowe.

He earned great critical appreciation for the 1998 film Phoenix, in which he portrayed the role of a policeman and a compulsive gambler Harry Collins.

In the 2000s, he was regarded as one of the busiest and most bankable stars of his generation with acclaimed performances in ‘Blow’ and ‘Identity’.

‘The River Murders,’ released in 2011, he plays the role of detective Jack Verdon, who is investigating a series of murders.

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Ray Liotta also lent his voice to the character 'Billy Handsome' in the video game ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops II’ in 2013. He also starred in the film ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ alongside Eva Mendes, Ryan Gosling, and Bradley Cooper, in the same year.

In 2014, Ray Liotta appeared as a preacher in the film 'The Identical.'That same year, he appeared alongside Jeremy Renner in 'Kill the Messanger' and also starred in the comedy crime film 'Stretch' with Chris Pine.

In 2015, Liotta starred in the History Channel western miniseries 'Texas Rising.' In the docu-series 'The Making of the Mob' (2015-2016), Liotta worked as the narrator.

In the American crime drama series 'Shades of Blue' (2016-2018), he starred opposite Jennifer Lopez. Ray Liotta played a divorce attorney in the 2019 drama film 'Marriage Story.'

He went on to star in films like ‘Hubie Halloween,’ ‘No Sudden Move,’ ‘The Many Saints of Newark,’ and ‘Every Last Secret.’ He also appeared in ‘Cocaine Bear,’ Fool's Paradise,’ and ‘Dangerous Waters’ (all posthumous releases). He will also be seen in ‘The Substance’ and ‘April 29, 1992.’

Major Works

In 1989, his portrayal of ‘Shoeless Joe Jackson’ in the film, ‘Field of Dreams’ made him one of the most sought-after actors. The movie clocked in approximately $84 million worldwide.

In 2002, he played a bearded, overweight detective, Henry Oak in ‘Narc’. As the executive producer of the film, he faced several problems that almost prevented the screening of this movie. His stellar performance in the movie was highly appreciated.

Awards & Achievements

For his supporting role as Ray Sinclair in ‘Something Wild’, released in 1986, Liotta received the ‘Boston Society of Film Critics Award’ for the category of ‘Best Supporting Actor’.

In 2002, he received two nominations for ‘Independent Spirit Award’ and the ‘Phoenix Film Critics Society Award’, for his supporting role as Henry Oak in ‘Narc’.

In 2003, his voiceover work for Grand Theft Auto garnered him a ‘G-Phoria Award’ for ‘Best Male Voice Performance’.

Personal Life & Death

Ray Liotta married Michelle Grace in 1997, with whom he starred in ‘The Rat Pack’. They have a daughter, Karsen, who was born in December 1998.

Ray Liotta died in his sleep on May 26, 2022, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. He was filming for a new movie 'Dangerous Waters.' He was 67 and engaged to Jacy Nittolo at the time of his death.


This illustrious Hollywood actor got his role in ‘Goodfellas’ after he presented an unflustered yet convincing case in support of his casting to Scorcese, the director.

Ray Liotta Movies

1. Goodfellas (1990)

  (Drama, Crime)

2. Blow (2001)

  (Crime, Biography, Drama)

3. Marriage Story (2018)


4. Field of Dreams (1989)

  (Sport, Family, Fantasy, Drama)

5. Ticker (2002)

  (Adventure, Action, Short)

6. Identity (2003)

  (Mystery, Thriller)

7. The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)

  (Thriller, Drama, Crime)

8. John Q (2002)

  (Drama, Thriller, Crime)

9. Narc (2002)

  (Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Drama)

10. Cop Land (1997)

  (Thriller, Crime, Drama)


Primetime Emmy Awards
2005 Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series ER (1994)

See the events in life of Ray Liotta in Chronological Order

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