(WJW) — It’s been nearly a year since Ray Liotta, best known for his roles in “Goodfellas” and “Field of Dreams,” died unexpectedly in his sleep while in the Dominican Republic. Initially, the 67-year-old’s cause of death wasn’t released.
Now, documents obtained by TMZ from officials in the Dominican Republic listed the reason for Liotta’s death as respiratory and heart issues. The actor, who was filming the thriller “Dangerous Waters,” was found on May 26, 2022.
At the time, the death was not considered suspicious. TMZ documents said that he had a condition called atherosclerosis, a build-up of cholesterol plaque in the arteries leading to bloodflow problems.
Following his death, the actor’s daughter Karsen Liotta took to Instagram saying, “Those who knew him, loved him. You are the best Dad anyone could ask for. I love you. Thank you for everything.”
Liotta was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1954. He once told Larry King he didn’t aspire to be an actor in his younger years, but began to pursue the craft after starting college at the University of Miami in the mid-1970s.
“When I decided I wanted to do acting in college, it was (those) ’70s-type movies … but the movies of the ’70s were great,” he told King in a 2014 episode of “Larry King Now.” “I aspired toward that, because that’s what my learning was.”
Starting in musical theater (“I was a dancing waiter in ‘Cabaret,’” he told King), Liotta earned a recurring role on the soap opera “Another World” out of college, but didn’t break into film until years later. At 31, he earned a role in 1986’s “Something Wild” with Melanie Griffith and Jeff Daniels. But Liotta is perhaps best known for his roles in 1989’s “Field of Dreams” and 1990’s “Goodfellas,” portraying “Shoeless” Joe Jackson and mob associate Henry Hill, respectively.
Some of Liotta’s other notable film roles include “Narc,” “Cop Land,” “The Place Beyond the Pines,” and “Marriage Story,” which earned him an Independent Spirit Award alongside the film’s director, casting director, and ensemble cast. More recently, Liotta returned to a mobster role in the “Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark.”
In a 2021 interview with the “Today” show promoting the movie, Liotta downplayed the hype around the prequel and shared his preference for a quiet life. “I’m not the kind of actor who wants to watch or see what I did, or see what it looks like,” he said. “I just like staying home with my fiancée, watching TV and chilling.”
Still, he said he wasn’t planning to give up his career anytime soon. “To me, I’m just as hungry, just as angry as I was when I first graduated college. … At this stage, I’m 66 and I just still have that burn.”