On Friday, Ray Liotta was the man in Hollywood. The 2,749th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was posthumously awarded to the late actor, who passed away in May of last year at the age of 67.
At the unveiling, Taron Egerton, who most recently played Liotta’s son in the miniseries Black Bird, along with members of Liotta’s family, including his 24-year-old daughter Karsen, who accepted the honor on her father’s behalf joined for the ceremony. Some of his recent collaborators like Elizabeth Banks, who directed Liotta in one of his final film performances in Cocaine Bear, also graced the ceremony to honor the memory of the legend.
For over four decades, Ray Liotta portrayed some of the fiercest and wildest characters in Hollywood. His upbringing in a working-class area of New Jersey probably made him an obvious choice for police dramas and gangster movies like Goodfellas, Cop Land, Field of Dreams, and The Place Beyond the Pines.
His performance justified the choices as Liotta belted out great performances soon reaching the top of Hollywood just on his talent. Liotta has impacted Hollywood in more ways than most people can imagine for put into words but after his death, many came together to talk about the man that he was.
Ray Liotta yelled in Bradley Cooper’s face during a shoot
Friends, relatives, and costars such as Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Lopez, and Andy Garcia recalled the tales of how they first met the austere yet cool actor in a vast new oral history of the late actor’s life and career for Esquire. One of these tales highlight his dedication and trust in the director.
There was a point on the set of The Place Beyond the Pines when Liotta had to include some tough love into the scene before beginning it, as her longtime manager Beth Holden-Garland recalls. In the Derek Cianfrance-directed movie, Ray Liotta portrayed a character by the name of Detective Peter Deluca who was dirty, rough and intimidating.
Liotta had to shake down Cooper’s character but he was not getting it right, the director took him to a corner and said, “I want you to really f*cking let loose on him now. Just say whatever you want to say to him.” Liotta adhered to his director and took the necessary steps.
“Ray got in Bradley’s face and said, ‘You are the luckiest actor in this town. You suck, Hangover II sucked.’ He just ripped into him like nobody’s business. Then Derek was like, ‘Action!’ And then they got the scene.”
Thankfully Bradley Cooper who played Avery Cross did not take offense and played along. The director, Cianfrance was content with the take and said it was one the greatest moments on set.
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Ray Liotta was almost not cast in Goodfellas
Longtime Liotta friend Gary Hecker remembered a serendipitous meeting they had while dining at 72 Market Street in Venice, California. It appears that Irwin Winkler, who would eventually direct Goodfellas, was across the room.
“Ray was not the kind of guy to go up to a group of people and start talking. I may have given him a push and said, ‘You should go talk to these people.'”
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Gary Hecker nudged Ray Liotta to talk to Goodfellas probable director and Liotta took the bait. He stood up and walked towards Irwin Winker to talk to him. Hecker believes
“Ray said, “Irwin, can I talk to you outside?” It’s really ballsy to go up to Irwin Winkler and say that. I remember Ray was gone for fifteen minutes, which was really a long time. It was all happenstance—getting Ray out and going to 72 Market Street, Irwin Winkler being there, Ray going up to him, which he rarely did. But that helped to grease the wheels for him to get that part.”
Of course, meeting Winkler did little to guarantee Liotta the role of the brave Hill, a former gangster who became an FBI informant. He initially had to become acquainted with Martin Scorsese. Lorraine Bracco, who portrayed Hill’s wife Karen in the 1990 movie, recalls her first encounter with Liotta in Scorsese’s apartment in Ray Liotta: An Oral History. stakes are high! But, that wasn’t a test.
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