Ray Liotta (born December 18, 1954) is an Emmy Award-winning and
Golden Globe-nominated American actor.
Ray (pronounced lee-OH-ta) was born in Newark, New Jersey and was adopted at the age of six months by Mary, an appointed township clerk, and Alfred Liotta, an auto parts store owner, personnel director, and the president of a local Democratic club. Both of his adoptive parents unsuccessfully ran for local office. Liotta believed his biological parents were of Scottish and Italian descent, but eventually reunited with his biological mother and discovered he is not Italian. In 1973 Ray Liotta graduated from Union High School in Union, New Jersey and was inducted into the school's Hall of Fame in 1992. Liotta studied acting at the University of Miami, where he performed at the university's Jerry Herman Ring Theatre.
One of Liotta's earliest roles was as Joey Perrini on the daytime program Another World. He appeared on the show from 1978 to 1981. Infamously, he made his film debut sexually assaulting Pia Zadora with a garden hose in the cult classic The Lonely Lady. Come 1987, however, he earned his first Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of volatile ex-con Ray Sinclair in Jonathan Demme's film Something Wild (1986). In 1990, Liotta portrayed real-life mobster Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese's film Goodfellas. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Liotta would earn more critical praise for his turn in the James Mangold directed film Cop Land, starring alongside Sylvester Stallone, Robert De Niro and Harvey Keitel.
In addition to his film roles, Liotta portrayed legendary singer Frank Sinatra in the 1998 TV movie The Rat Pack (for which he received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination) and provided the voice of Tommy Vercetti for the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. That same year he appeared as Det. Lt. Henry Oak in the Joe Carnahan-directed film Narc, receiving an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Male. He also narrated Inside the Mafia for the National Geographic Channel in 2005. Liotta had a memorable guest appearance that year on the television drama ER playing Charlie Metcalf in the episode "Time of Death". The role earned him an Emmy for "Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series". Liotta would later spoof himself and his Emmy win in Bee Movie. He starred in the 2006 CBS television series Smith, which was pulled from the schedule after only three episodes had aired. He later appeared in Smokin' Aces (reuniting with Narc director Joe Carnahan), portraying an FBI agent named Donald Carruthers in one of the lead roles. He appeared with John Travolta in the movie Wild Hogs and with Johnny Depp in the 2001 film Blow, portraying the father of drug dealer George Jung.
Liotta will appear in Battle in Seattle as the city's mayor and in Hero Wanted playing a detective alongside Cuba Gooding Jr.. He will also be in Crossing Over, co-starring Harrison Ford. Ray played Detective Harrison in the 2009 Jody Hill comedy Observe and Report as Seth Rogen's nemesis from the local police.
Ray Liotta told ABC's Good Morning America in 2001 that he was offered the role of Tony Soprano by series creator David Chase but turned it down to focus on movies. Ray was interested in a role in the proposed third sequel of Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather but plans are on hold.
Ray married actress Michelle Grace in February 1997. They met at her ex Husband's (Mark Grace) baseball game; they also co-starred in The Rat Pack, in which Liotta played Frank Sinatra and Grace played Judith Campbell Exner. Their daughter, Karsen, was born in December 1998. The couple divorced in 2004. Ray currently resides in Pacific Palisades, California and is dating actress Catherine Hickland.
A baseball pitcher bearing his name is currently in the Kansas City Royals system. The two Ray Liottas are distant cousins.
On February 17, 2007, Ray was arrested in the Highlands of Pacific Palisades after crashing his Cadillac Escalade into two parked cars on Palisades Drive, approximately one-half mile from his residence. He was charged with a misdemeanor DUI. Liotta was released on $15,000 bail and a court date was planned for March 2007. Liotta was alone in his car, and no one was injured in the crash.
This Ray Liotta Biography Page is Copyright © 2004 - 2009 Chuck Ayoub