Publicist Jennifer Allen told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor died Wednesday night or early Thursday in his sleep in his hotel room while in the Dominican Republic making the movie Dangerous Waters. His fiancée, Jacy Nittolo, was with him. He had begun work on the film about a week ago.
The boyish, blue-eyed Liotta also was memorable as Ray Sinclair, the violent ex-convict husband of Melanie Griffith’s character, in Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild (1986); as the disgraced Chicago White Sox baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in the Kevin Costner starrer Field of Dreams (1989); and as the corrupt cop Matt Wozniak on the 2016-18 NBC cop drama Shades of Blue, opposite Jennifer Lopez.
“Ray was the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside,” Lopez wrote on Twitter.
Crime stories were his specialty — he was a great choice to narrate Inside the Mafia for the National Geographic Channel in 2005 — and he was superb as shady cops in Unlawful Entry(1992), Cop Land (1997) and Narc (2002) and as the voice of the mobster Tommy Vercetti in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Amid a career resurgence, Liotta was quite busy recently, with big-screen roles in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (2019), Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move (2021) and Alan Taylor’s The Many Saints of Newark (2021) — as two members of the Moltisanti family in the Sopranos prequel — and a gig as a villain on the third season of the Amazon series Hanna.