Ray Liotta, ‘Goodfellas’ star and gifted character actor, dies at 67

NBC NEWS — Ray Liotta, the actor best known for playing mobster Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s crime classic "Goodfellas," has died.

He was 67.

Liotta died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic, where he was filming a movie called "Dangerous Waters," according to his publicist, Jennifer Allen.

In an acting career that spanned four decades, Liotta established himself as one of the most dependable tough-guy performers in Hollywood, skilled at portraying cops and criminals in films like "Something Wild," "Cop Land" and "Killing Them Softly."

But he occasionally showed off a warmer side, endearing himself to audiences as the ghost of baseball giant Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Field of Dreams," opposite Kevin Costner.

"Goodfellas" was indisputably the high-water mark of his career, however, providing him with a juicy lead role in a decade-spanning mafia epic. He portrayed Henry Hill, a real-life mob associate who gets swept up in the thrill and glamour of the criminal underworld.

"As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster," Liotta’s Hill memorably says at the start of the film via voiceover track, summing up Scorsese’s vision of mid-century mob life as the ultimate aspiration for men with weak morals.

Liotta never achieved the A-list status of some of his 1980s and ’90s-era peers, but he was a respected artist and recognizable face, reinventing himself in the later years of his career actor who could add gravitas and swagger to any scene.