Ray Liotta, ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Field of Dreams’ Star, Dies

Ray Liotta, the actor best known for playing mobster Henry Hill in “Goodfellas” and baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in “Field of Dreams,” has died. He was aged 67.

A source at the Dominican Republic’s National Forensic Science Institute who was not authorized to speak to the media confirmed the death of Ray Liotta and said his body was taken to the Cristo Redentor morgue. Representatives for Liotta were cited by the Hollywood Reporter as well as NBC News. They claimed that he had died Wednesday night in his sleep. He was visiting the Dominican Republic for filming a new movie.

Born in Newark, New Jersey on March 6, 1954, the native adopted his mother at six months from an orphanage. He was adopted by an auto parts manufacturer and a township clerk. Although he grew up mostly playing sports (including baseball) during his senior year at high school, the drama instructor asked him if it was possible to play in a production. He agreed on a lark. And it stuck: He’d go on to study acting at the University of Miami. After graduation, he got his first big break on the soap opera “Another World.”

Liotta’s first big film role was in Jonathan Demme’s “Something Wild” as Melanie Griffith’s character’s hotheaded ex-convict husband Ray. This role earned Liotta a Golden Globe nomination. A few years later, he would get the memorable role of the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson in “Field of Dreams.”

His most iconic role, as real life mobster Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” came shortly after. Scorsese had to battle for his role. He tried multiple auditions, and appealed to the studio several times to cast him.

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