Actor Ray Liotta, arguably best known for his role as Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s classic crime film Goodfellas has passed away at the age of 67. Liotta reportedly died in his sleep while filming his latest movie, Dangerous Waters, in the Dominican Republic.
As sad as it always is to report an actor’s death, it’s simply a fact of life that one day all of us will breathe our last breath. Hollywood actors, being human beings just like you and I, aren’t immune to this grim reality.
Liotta isn’t the only Goodfellas actor who has died. In fact, quite a few of the iconic film’s cast are sadly no longer with us. In this video, we’ll be covering all of the Goodfella’s cast deaths while taking some time to celebrate their lives and accomplishments.
Goodfellas remains one of the most critically acclaimed films in motion picture history. It hit theaters in the US on September 19, 1990, and went on to earn almost $47 million at the box office.
The movie honored with countless accolades and glowing write-ups from critics. It received five Oscar nods for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Film Editing. Actor Joe Pesci won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Besides Pesci and Liotta, the groundbreaking mafia flick starred Robert DeNiro, Lorraine Bracco, and Paul Sorvino. It was based on the novel ‘Wiseguy’ by author Nicholas Pileggi, which tells the true story of Henry Hill’s rise to prominence in the powerful Lucchese crime family. Hill’s partners in crime, Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito, portrayed in the film respectively by Deniro and Pesci, likewise played pivotal roles in the movie’s storyline.
Liotta’s portrayal of Henry Hill was quite powerful. He deserved every bit of recognition that he received for that role. But Goodfellas was but one of many films and television shows that he appeared in.
1989, Liotta played Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams. In 1986, he received a Golden Globe nomination for his performance as Ray Sinclair in the comedy-romance film Something Wild. A few of his other most notable films include 2001s Hannibal, 2002s John Q, 2012s Killing Them Softley, and 2019s Marriage Story.
From 2016 to 2018, Liotta appeared in the television drama series Shades of Blue. And in 2002, he voiced another Italian-American gangster, Tommy Vercetti, in the Rockstar Games open-world action-adventure video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Liotta is survived by his fiance Jacy Nittolo and his daughter Karsen, whom he had with his ex-wife Michelle Grace.
Ray Liotta will sorely missed. It’s a shame that he died before he able to finish filming his latest project. But given his prolific career, it’s certain that he won’t soon be forgotten.
If you’re a fan of Goodfellas and are curious about which of it’s cast members are unfortunately no longer with us, keep watching! Join Facts Verse to learn more the details about the Goodfellas Cast Members Who Have Tragically Died.
Known for his prominent role in the music industry, Frank DiLeo worked as an executive at Epic Records and served as Michael Jackson’s manager. DiLeo held this position for about five years after the release of Jackson’s Thriller album and worked with him again. Albeit briefly, right before the so-called King of Pop’s death in 2009.
During his tenure as Jackson’s manager, DiLeo produced several of the singer’s short films and music videos, including Speed Demon, Bad, Leave Me Alone, HIStory, and Moonwalker.
As expected, given his position, Dileo on the set of Jackson’s famed ‘Bad’, which interestingly was directed by Martin Scorsese. While filming the video, DiLeo and Scorsese formed a working relationship which inevitably led to DiLeo being cast in Goodfellas as Paul Cicero’s brother Tuddy.
Dileo’s role in the movie wasn’t a very big one, but it was quite pivotal. Tuddy served as Henry’s mentor early on in the film. And at one point he scolded the young up-and-coming gangster for using his clean aprons while trying to help a wounded man.
Later on, Tuddy shot Tommy in retribution for the murder of Billy Batts.
Post-Goodfellas, DiLeo made appearances in several notable films, including 1992s Wayne’s World and it’s’ 1993 sequel. In both films, he played the character Frankie ‘Mr. Big’ Sharp. In 1995, DiLeo appeared in the crime drama Kiss of Death.
DiLeo died at the age of 63 on August 24, 2011, after suffering adverse complications following heart surgery.
Vincent only appeared in Goodfellas for a few minutes, but they were crucial ones. He played the gangster Billy Batts who very memorably scolded Tommy for not showing him the respect he thought he was owed. After telling Tommy to go home and get his effing shinebox, Tommy and Jimmy beat Batts to death at Henry’s bar.
Seeing as how Batts was a ‘made man’ who worked for the Gambinos, there were serious repercussions for his murder. Eventually, Tommy got himself killed thanks to his actions. And ultimately Billy’s death led to the downfall of the Lucchese crime syndicate family.
Including Goodfellas, Vincent appeared in a total of 90 films. Most notable of these included Raging Bull, Casino, Jungle Fever, Before Night Falls on Manhattan, and Do The Right Thing.
Vincent, like Liotta, also voiced the character Salvatore Leone in three of the Grand Theft Auto video games.
Perhaps his most notable post-Goodfellas role that mob boss Phill Leotardo on The Sopranos. In which he appeared in thirty episodes before being killed off the series in the sixth season.
Vincent died of complications of heart surgery on September 13, 2017, at the age of 80.
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This former real estate developer met actor Robert DeNiro in the 70s. Robert was one of Chuck’s tenants at the time and the two quickly struck up a friendship. Being friends with a high-profile actor obviously comes with a few perks, as the Academy Award-winning actor has secured parts for several of his buddies in movies such as The King of Comedy, The Mission, Once Upon A Time in America, and Goodfellas.
For the latter, DeNiro hooked Low up with the role of wig shop owner and gangster Morrie Kessler. His most memorable scene involved his character getting choked out by Deniro’s Jimmy Conway after refusing to pay back a debt.
Low appeared periodically throughout the movie, frequently alongside his friend Robert. His character met a rather brutal end following the Lufthansa heist scene when he began demanding the money that Jimmy owed him. Morrie died at the hand of Tommy, who stabbed him in the back of the head.
After Goodfellas, Low appeared in several Deniro-led movies like Night and the City, Sleepers, and Mistress. Later, he even appeared in the television mafia drama series The Sopranos before passing away of natural causes at the age of 89 in a nursing home on September 18, 2017. Low died just five days after his Goodfellas co-star Frank Vincent.
Youngman was not only an actor but also a famed violinist and comedian. As a comic, he earned the reputation for being the ‘king of one-liners’. Throughout his seven-decade spanning career, Youngman appeared in films like Nashville Rebel and The Great Masquerade.
He also got a chance to deliver a few jokes on The Mary Tyler Moore Hour, enjoyed a stint on Adam West’s Batman series. And played a Roman chemist in Mel Brooks “History of the World: Part I’.
In Goodfellas, the talented comic played himself in the unforgettable three-minute tracking shot scene in which Henry Hill guides his girlfriend Karen through a busy nightclub before finally arriving at a table in the front-row just in time to see Youngman’s stand-up routine.
Youngman died at the age of 91 from complications of the flue on February 24, 1998.
Mastrogiacomo played one of Henry’s mistresses, Janice Rossi. She’s introduced in the film about halfway through it’s run, immediately after Billy Batt’s gruesome death scene. At that point in the movie, Henry and his partners, Tommy and Jimmy, were still living it up while spending their evenings out on the town surrounded by a flock of women while their poor wives sat at home with the kids.
Naturally, that kind of thing didn’t sit well with Henry Hill’s wife, Karen, and at one point, she paid a visit to Janice’s apartment to threaten to tell everyone in the complex about her cheating ways. Not surprisingly, Janice, not wanting to face Karen’s wrath, exited the picture. This forced Henry to swap her out for another girl named Sandy, played by Debi Mazar.
Following Goodfella’s Mastrogiacomo appeared in films like Jungle Fever and The Naked Gun 2 ½: The Smell of Fear. On TV, Gina guest-starred on shows like Seinfeld, The X-Files, and ER.
Sadly, Mastrogiacomo one of the youngest cast members to pass away. She died on May 2, 2001, at the age of 39 after coming down with a rare bacterial heart infection.
Martin Scorsese’s Mother and Father
Martin Scorsese’s mother, Catherine Scorsese, who played Tommy’s mother in a brief but memorable scene in the film, died of Alzheimer’s disease in 1997 at the age of 84. Catherine made cameos in nearly all of her son’s films.
Luciano Charles Scorsese, Catherine’s husband, likewise appeared in several of Martin’s movies, including Raging Bull, After Hours, Taxi Driver, and the King of Comedy.
In Goodfella, Luciano made a cameo as the character Vinnie – a man who made spaghetti sauce for Henry and Paul’s boys in prison. Henry thought that Vinnie used too many onions but maintained that it was still some pretty good sauce.
Luciano died after battling a long illness on August 23, 1993. He was 80.
A few other Goodfellas cast members have passed away in the 32 years since the film’s release. John ‘Cha Cha’ Ciarcia was an extra who played a member of Billy Batt’s crew. He died on November 21, 2015, at 75, after battling a short illness.
Frank Albanese played a mob lawyer who defended a young Henry Hill after getting in trouble for selling cigarettes with Tommy early on in the film. Albanese died at the age of 84 on October 5, 2014.
Frank Adonis played a relatively minor character named Anthony Stabile. He died at the age of 83 on December 26, 2018.
Frank Pellegrino played the gangster Johnny Dio. He died from lung cancer at the age of 72 on January 31, 2017.
And that about does it!
Which Goodfellas cast member’s death were you the most surprised to learn about. And did you know that Martin Scorsese’s mother and father frequently made cameos in his films? Let us know in the comments.
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