Ray Liotta portrayed Frank Sinatra, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Henry Hill, yet was always Ray Liotta.
Memorably playing a variety of roles with his distinctive style, Liotta possessed the gift of making tough guys endearing.
Liotta died in his sleep Wednesday night or Thursday morning in the Dominican Republic, where he had been working on the film "Dangerous Waters." He was 67.
Like his "Goodfellas" co-star Robert De Niro, Liotta was a character actor with star presence. He stamped Hill as the central character in Scorsese's 1990 organized-crime saga, standing out among a stellar cast of De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino and Michael Imperioli.
Verbally narrating Hill's true story about a brazen heist at New York's Kennedy Airport, Liotta portrays a descent from vulnerability to criiminality, bringing the audience to identify with an average man caught up in forces bigger than him.
While Pesci won the best supporting actor Academy Award for his "Goodfellas" performance, Liotta's Hill defines the film.
Like Al Pacino with Michael Corleone and James Gandolfini with Tony Soprano, Liotta portrays Hill as a person like us.
Liotta brought the same authenticity to his astonishing spectrum of roles. While Liotta gave each of his characters a distinctive personality, he's one of those special, instantly recognizable actors.