Martin Scorsese pays tribute to 'uniquely gifted' Ray Liotta after 'Goodfellas' actor dies at 67

US actor Ray Liotta attends the premiere of
Ray Liotta has died aged 67. (ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

Martin Scorsese has said his heart aches following the death of his Goodfellas star Ray Liotta.

The director was among the many Hollywood stars to pay tribute after Liotta – who was 67 - died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic, where he was filming new movie Dangerous Waters.

He said in a statement that he was “absolutely shocked and devastated”, and that he would “always be proud” of the work they had done together.

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“He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor,” Scorsese said.

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 24:  (L-R) Director Martin Scorsese, actress Lorraine Bracco and actor Ray Liotta attend the Vanity Fair and Richard Mille celebration of Martin Scorsese in support of The Film Foundation at Hotel Bel-Air on February 24, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for VF)
Martin Scorsese with Goodfellas stars Lorraine Bracco and Ray Liotta. (Charley Gallay/Getty Images for VF)

“Playing Henry Hill in Goodfellas was a tall order, because the character had so many different facets, so many complicated layers, and Ray was in almost every scene of a long, tough shoot.

“He absolutely amazed me, and I’ll always be proud of the work we did together on that picture.

“My heart goes out to his loved ones, and it aches for his loss, way too early.”

Liotta’s Goodfellas co-star Robert De Niro also paid tribute, saying in a statement: “I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing. He is way too young to have left us.”

Goodfellas (Credit: Warner Bros)
Ray Liotta and Robert De Niro co-starred in Goodfellas. (Warner Bros)

Lorraine Bracco, who played Karen Friedman Hill in the gangster film, said she was “shattered”.

She posted a picture of her and Liotta on Twitter, saying: “I can be anywhere in the world and people will come up and tell me their favourite movie is Goodfellas.

“Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same… Ray Liotta.”

Kevin Costner shared a clip of him and Liotta in 1989’s Field Of Dreams, which showed them playing baseball and Liotta’s character hitting the ball out of the park.

The star said he was “devastated” to hear the sad news and added: “While he leaves an incredible legacy, he’ll always be 'Shoeless Joe Jackson' in my heart.

"What happened that moment in the film was real. God gave us that stunt. Now God has Ray.”

Jennifer Lopez shared a string of snaps of her and Liotta, who she worked with on gritty cop series Shades Of Blue from 2016 to 2018.

She recalled that he had been “so kind” to her children while they were working together, saying that Liotta was “the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside”.

Jennifer Lopez and Ray Liotta in Shades Of Blue. (Virginia Sherwood/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images)

“Like all artists he was complicated, sincere, honest and so very emotional,” she said on Instagram.

“Like a raw nerve, he was so accessible and so in touch in his acting and I will always remember our time together fondly.”

Jamie Lee Curtis, who starred with Liotta in 1988 drama Dominick And Eugene, remembered him as a “gentle man”.

She wrote on Twitter: “Ray Liotta has died. His work as an actor showed his complexity as a human being. A gentle man. So sad to hear.”

Actor Elizabeth Banks tweeted that she’d had a “special bond” with Liotta.

Ray Liotta having conversation with Jamie Lee Curtis in a scene from the film 'Dominick And Eugene', 1988. (Photo by Orion Pictures/Getty Images)
Ray Liotta and Jamie Lee Curtis in Dominick And Eugene. (Orion Pictures/Getty Images)

“We met on a little film, The Details, and he blew me away,” she said.

“I always admired his acting but I genuinely enjoyed him as a human. He was a charmer. We have been collaborating on Cocaine Bear these past few months.

"I just saw him, hugged him, heard about his summer travel plans."

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She said her heart was with Liotta’s “two favourite women”, his daughter Karsten and his fiancée Jacy Nittolo.

Additional reporting from PA.

Watch: Goodfellas actor Ray Liotta dies aged 67