‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Field of Dreams’ star Ray Liotta sadly died in his sleep aged 67, it was announced yesterday. The Emmy-winner was in the Dominican Republic shooting the movie ‘Dangerous Waters’, according to his publicist Jennifer Allen. Ray starred as Shoeless Joe Jackson in ‘Field of Dreams’ in 1989, before his most iconic role in ‘Goodfellas’ a year later. The legendary actor played the gangster Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s classic mob movie set in New York.
During his life, Ray was a much sought-after talent, who consistently had multiple projects in the pipeline.
The star’s abilities on screen even attracted the attention of Frank Sinatra’s daughters Nancy and Tina, who asked him to play their father in a miniseries about the crooner they were working on in the Nineties.
But the ‘Goodfellas’ actor turned the pair down, only to play old Blue Eyes in 1998 biopic, ‘The Rat Pack’.
His snub of the singer’s daughters did not go unnoticed, and they sent him a horse’s head in response.
Ray opened up about the gangster-inspired gesture in an episode of Jay Leno’s Garage in November 2021.
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The actor chatted to the late night talk show host and car fanatic as they drove around in one of Frank’s vintage motors.
He said: “We were doing the movie and I got delivered a horse’s head.
“Obviously, it wasn’t a real one, but it was a horse’s head. And, you know, a horse’s head means you’re toast.”
The symbolic sending of a horse’s head is one of the most shocking scenes of Francis Ford Coppola’s 1972 gangster epic, ‘The Godfather’.
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Ray’s film ‘The Rat Pack’ was a critical success, bagging three Emmy Awards, as well as a Golden Globe for Don Cheadle, who played Sammy Davis Jr.
Following Ray’s death, tributes flooded in from film fans and the actor’s fellow Hollywood stars.
Among them was Martin Scorsese, who admitted he was “absolutely shocked and devastated” at his passing.
In a statement, he said: “He was so uniquely gifted, so adventurous, so courageous as an actor.
“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.”