Mafioso, gangster, villain – these were Ray Liotta’s prime roles. Now the film world mourns the “Goodfellas” star – at the age of 67, Liotta died unexpectedly.

Scarred skin, piercing eyes: Ray Liotta had the right face for Hollywood’s villain roles. He brilliantly embodied the mafioso Henry Hill in the gangster film “Goodfellas” (1990) by star director Martin Scorsese. Now the film world is mourning the character actor.

He died “completely surprisingly” in his sleep, spokeswoman Jennifer Allen said on Thursday at the request of the German Press Agency. Liotta was 67 years old. He stayed in the Dominican Republic for filming. Nothing was initially known about the cause of death.

Colleagues and fans were dismayed. Liotta’s death made him “very sad,” Robert De Niro wrote in a statement. “He’s far too young to leave us,” the 78-year-old continued. “I am absolutely devastated to hear this terrible news about my Ray,” actress Lorraine Bracco wrote on Twitter. She played Liotta’s screen wife in “Goodfellas”. The best thing about the film for her was working with Liotta, Bracco paid tribute to the deceased.

“He was a wonderful artist,” wrote Jamie Lee Curtis, co-star of their joint film Dominick

breakthrough in the 80s

Liotta had his breakthrough in Hollywood in 1986 with a crime comedy. Jonathan Demme brought the newcomer in front of the camera with Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels for “Dangerous Girlfriend”. All three received a Golden Globe nomination.

Liotta then wrote film history with the mafia epic “Goodfellas” (1990) by director Martin Scorsese. Robert de Niro played the crime boss, but not the main character. It went to Liotta as Mafioso Henry Hill, who grew up in the Italian district of New York and rose through the mafia hierarchy through small jobs and his first crimes. In the thriller “Cop Land” by director James Mangold, Liotta was again in front of the camera with De Niro.

He shot “Field of Dreams” with Kevin Costner, the immigrant drama “Crossing Over” with Harrison Ford, the crime thriller “Killing Them Softly” with Brad Pitt, and the drama “The Place Beyond the Pines” with Ryan Gosling. Last year he starred in the mafia flick The Many Saints of Newark. The gangster film told the history of the TV series “The Sopranos”. At the beginning of May, Liotta linked a film report on another film project on Instagram. He wanted to play in “Cocaine Bear” for director Elizabeth Banks.

Liotta also boasted an Emmy trophy. He won the coveted television award with a guest appearance in the medical series “Emergency Room”.

Liotta had an adult daughter from his 2004 marriage to actress Michelle Grace. In December 2020, he announced his engagement to partner Jacy Nittolo on Instagram. “Christmas wishes can come true,” he wrote at the time on a joint photo of the couple. He asked for her hand and she said yes.