Ray Liotta first gained respect for his compelling performance as vicious Ray
Sinclair in the drama comedy Something Wild (1986, won a Boston Society of Film
Critics Award and earned a Golden Globe nomination). He then gathered wide
appreciation for his fine villain role of Officer Pete Davis in the drama
thriller Unlawful Entry (1992). He was also applauded after carrying out the
Screen Actors Guild-nominated starring turn of Frank Sinatra in the fact-based
TV drama The Rat Pack (1998), for which he also sang a couple of songs.
The voice of Tommy Vercetti in the famous game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
(2002, won a G-Phoria’s Glow Award), played Henry Oak in the self-produced Narc
(2002) before enchanting TV viewers with his poignant portrayal of Charlie
Metcalf in an episode of the drama series “ER” (2004). For his impressive guest
appearance in the hospital-set TV show, Liotta was handed an Emmy Award and a
Liotta, who was inducted into his high school’s Hall of Fame during the
1992-1993 year, has been linked to several actresses, such as his costars in
“Another World” (1978-1981), Vicky Dawson and Susan Keith. He also had a
one-year relationship with paralyzed actress/stuntwoman Heidi Von Beltz
(1982-1983), before marrying Michelle Grace (now divorced, 1997-2004). The
couple shares a daughter.
Childhood and Family:
“I am mostly Scottish and a little bit Italian.” Ray Liotta
Raymond Julian Vicimarli (later famous as Ray Liotta) was born on December 18,
1955, in Newark, New Jersey. After spending his first six months of life in an
orphanage, the baby boy was adopted by Mary (township clerk) and Alfred Liotta
(president of a local Democratic club).
After graduating from Union High School in New Jersey, Ray took Drama classes at
the University of Miami, where he made several stage performances at the
university’s Jerry Herman Ring Theatre and worked as a graveyard groundskeeper.
Finishing his studies with a B.A. in Fine Arts (1977), he then pursued a career
in acting and worked part-time as a bartender.
In February 1997, Ray tied the knot with Michelle Grace, with whom he has a
daughter named Karsen Liotta (born in 1998), who later followed in Ray’s
footsteps. The couple divorced in 2004.
In college, Ray Liotta was involved in some campus stage productions, including
“The Sound of Music” (1974, as Kurt), “Cabaret,” “Death of a Salesman” and “A
Streetcar named Desire.” Soon after graduation, while bartending in New York’s
Shubert Organization theaters, Liotta made his TV acting debut as Joey Perrini
in the NBC daytime soap drama “Another World” (1978-1981).
He then appeared in the TV drama Hardhat and Legs (1980) before moving to Los
Angeles in 1982. A year later, Liotta had his first silver screen performance in
the flopped drama The Lonely Lady (1983), as Joe Heron. After making an episodic
appearance in the detective series “Mike Hammer” (1984), the newcomer was cast
as Officer Ed Santini in the short-lived cop drama “Our Family Honor” (1985).
Liotta soon gained the spotlight with his supporting role of Ray Sinclair, a
violent ex-convict, in the drama comedy Something Wild (1986), where he won a
Boston Society of Film Critics award for Best Supporting Actor and received a
Golden Globe nomination. He was then seen in the leading role of Eugene ‘Gino’
Luciano in the family drama Dominick and Eugene (1988), the supporting part of
Shoeless Joe Jackson in the adaptation of W.P. Kinsella’s book, Field of Dreams
(1989), and the starring role of Irish gangster Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s
biopic Goodfellas (1990).
Following his gig in the TV drama Women & Men 2: In Love There Are No Rules
(1991, played Martin Meadows), Liotta was applauded for his portrayal of
villainous Officer Pete Davis, opposite Kurt Russell, in the drama thriller
Unlawful Entry (1992, earned an MTV Movie award nomination). The versatile actor
next starred as widow Manny Singer in the drama comedy Corrina, Corrina (1994),
acted alongside Danny Glover and Denis Leary in Disney’s war-set movie Operation
Dumbo Drop (1995), carried out the role of framed Dr. David Krane in the sci-fi
thriller Unforgettable (1996) and appeared as Gary ‘Figgsy’ Figgis in the cop
thriller Cop Land (1997, also sang “Won’t You be My Neighbor”).
Brightly portraying the legendary Frank Sinatra in the fact-based TV drama The
Rat Pack (1998, also performed “Hey There” and “The Least I Can Do”), Liotta was
nominated for a Screen Actors Guild for Best Actor. He was then seen in the
action movie Forever Mine (1999), the drama A Rumor of Angels (2000, played
distant father Nathan Neubauer), and Hannibal (2001, as Paul Krendler), which
was directed by Ridley Scott.
Liotta, who in 1998 tried a hand at producing with Phoenix (also starred in),
made his second producing attempt in the cop thriller Narc (2002). Still in
2002, he lent his voice for Tommy Vercetti in the popular video game Grand Theft
Auto: Vice City, and took home a G-Phoria’s Glow award for Best Male Voice
Subsequent to the ensemble thriller Identity (2003, played Rhodes), Liotta guest
starred in the acclaimed hospital-set drama “ER” (2004), as alcoholic ex-con
Charlie Metcalf. For his touching guest performance, the actor took home an Emmy
for Best Guest Actor and a Prism award for Performance in a Drama Series
Episode. He then briefly appeared on the Broadway stage in the play “Match”
(2004), before taking on double tasks as an actor and producer in the drama
thriller Slow Burn (2005, played Ford Lowell) and the dance drama Take the Lead
In 2006, Liotta will take on the starring role of Roger in the star-studded
comedy Chlorine, play the adult Mickey in the sport family movie Chasing 3000,
as well as work with director George Gallo in The Poison Rose (2006). He is also
set to play Jack in the Tim Allen-starring adventure comedy Wild Hogs (2007),
act alongside Jason Statham and John Rhys-Davies in the colossal movie In the
Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale (2007), have a featured role as Donald
Carruthers in the mob action comedy Smokin’ Aces (2007) and collaborate with
Mickey Rourke and Marisa Tomei in John McNaughton’s The Night Job (2007).
Prism: Performance in a Drama Series Episode, “ER,” 2005
Emmy: Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, “ER,” 2005
G-Phoria: Glow Award for Best Voice Performance – Male, Grand Theft
Auto: Vice City (VG), 2003
Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Supporting Actor, Something Wild,