Joe Manganiello calls Ray Liotta one of his generation's 'heroes' and says his Goodfellas performance was 'a master class' as he pays tribute to late actor

Joe Manganiello took to Instagram on Friday to pay tribute to the late actor Ray Liotta, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 67.

The 45-year-old Magic Make actor posted a photo of Liotta in his iconic role as Henry Hill in the 1990 gangster film Goodfellas.

Manganiello added a long sentimental caption to the photo, where he referred to Liotta as one his generation's 'heroes.'

Tribute: Joe Manganiello took to Instagram on Friday to pay tribute to the late actor Ray Liotta, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 67; Joe pictured in March

Tribute: Joe Manganiello took to Instagram on Friday to pay tribute to the late actor Ray Liotta, who passed away earlier this week at the age of 67; Joe pictured in March

'When I was a kid, we got a VCR before most other people due to the fact that my father worked for GE. He brought it home and would record everything on HBO,' Manganiello began.

'He created this incredible video library and one of the tapes in the stacks was Goodfellas. Once I found it, I watched it every day for a LONG time. 

'I was obsessed with it and as a young kid of Italian descent, who wasn’t “full blooded” like Henry Hill, I identified… you know, to a certain degree.

'The other thing you need to understand is that at that time it seemed like almost all of the greatest actors and directors were Italian American like DeNiro, Pacino, Pesci, Nic Cage, Francis Ford Coppola, Brian DePalma, and Martin Scorsese, not to mention the actual Italians like Mastroianni and Fellini…it seemed impossible that there was room for anyone else at that table or even in the restaurant to draw the metaphor out… but then came Ray.

Iconic role: The 45-year-old Magic Make actor posted a photo of Liotta in his iconic role as Henry Hill in the 1990 gangster film Goodfellas. Manganiello added a long sentimental caption to the photo, where he referred to Liotta as one his generation's 'heroes'

Iconic role: The 45-year-old Magic Make actor posted a photo of Liotta in his iconic role as Henry Hill in the 1990 gangster film Goodfellas. Manganiello added a long sentimental caption to the photo, where he referred to Liotta as one his generation's 'heroes'

Feeling camaraderie: Manganiello explained he identified with the main character in Goodfellas because they both weren't 'full blooded ' Italians (pictured March 2022)

Feeling camaraderie: Manganiello explained he identified with the main character in Goodfellas because they both weren't 'full blooded ' Italians (pictured March 2022)

'He was that godd**n good. His breakout performance in Goodfellas is a master class. I guess my generation is getting to that point where we are being forced to say goodby to our heroes and Ray Liotta was absolutely one of them. Rest In Peace,' he concluded.

The legendary gangster actor passed away in bed at Casas del XVI in Zona Colonial on Thursday just weeks after filming started on Dangerous Waters.

An emergency service team had rushed to the building but he could not be saved, with his body transferred to the forensic institute of Santo Domingo. There is understood to be no suspicion of foul play. Liotta was just 67 years old.  

So much praise: 'I guess my generation is getting to that point where we are being forced to say goodby to our heroes and Ray Liotta was absolutely one of them,' he wrote

So much praise: 'I guess my generation is getting to that point where we are being forced to say goodby to our heroes and Ray Liotta was absolutely one of them,' he wrote

Gone too soon: The legendary gangster actor passed away in bed at Casas del XVI in Zona Colonial on Thursday just weeks after filming started on Dangerous Waters (pictured 2014)

Gone too soon: The legendary gangster actor passed away in bed at Casas del XVI in Zona Colonial on Thursday just weeks after filming started on Dangerous Waters (pictured 2014)

People linked to the upcoming movie were spotted leaving the hotel with suitcases and props on Thursday afternoon after news of his death spread.

Liotta leaves behind his fiancee Jacy Nittolo, 46, as well as his daughter Karsen, 23, who he had with ex-wife Michelle Grace.

His sudden death shocked fans as he was embarking on a huge career resurgence recent years, with him starring alongside Taron Egerton in the series Black Bird later this year.

Survived by: Liotta leaves behind his fiancee Jacy Nittolo, 46, as well as his daughter Karsen, 23, who he had with ex-wife Michelle Grace (pictured with Nittolo 2020)

Survived by: Liotta leaves behind his fiancee Jacy Nittolo, 46, as well as his daughter Karsen, 23, who he had with ex-wife Michelle Grace (pictured with Nittolo 2020)

He also featured in The Many Saints of Newark, Marriage Story and No Sudden Move in more recent years as his acting took off again.

On top of Goodfellas, Liotta also starred in Field of Dreams, Blow, Shades of Blue and many more projects over a career that spanned nearly 45 years. 

He also guest starred on Modern Family, the show Manganiello's wife Sofía Vergara starred in from 2009 to 2020. 

Decades of movies: On top of Goodfellas, Liotta also starred in Field of Dreams, Blow, Shades of Blue and many more projects over a career that spanned nearly 45 years (pictured in Goodfellas)

Decades of movies: On top of Goodfellas, Liotta also starred in Field of Dreams, Blow, Shades of Blue and many more projects over a career that spanned nearly 45 years (pictured in Goodfellas)

Weird connection: He also guest starred on Modern Family, the show Manganiello's wife Sofía Vergara starred in from 2009 to 2020 (pictured on the show with Sarah Hyland, Nolan Gould, Ariel Winter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson)

Weird connection: He also guest starred on Modern Family, the show Manganiello's wife Sofía Vergara starred in from 2009 to 2020 (pictured on the show with Sarah Hyland, Nolan Gould, Ariel Winter, Jesse Tyler Ferguson) 

Manganiello is just the latest in a long string of celebrities who expressed their sadness at the news of Ray's passing. 

Lorraine Bracco, who played Liotta's character's wife in Goodfellas said: 'I am utterly shattered to hear this terrible news about my Ray.

'I can be anywhere in the world & people will come up & tell me their favorite movie is Goodfellas. Then they always ask what was the best part of making that movie. My response has always been the same…Ray Liotta.'

And another Goodfellas co-star, Robert De Niro, also paid his respects in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter: 'I was very saddened to learn of Ray’s passing. He is way too way young to have left us. May he Rest in Peace.' 

Jennifer Lopez, who cast Ray in her cop TV series Shades Of Blue that she starred in and produced, tweeted, 'Ray was my partner in crime on Shades of Blue … the first thing that comes to mind is he so was kind to my children. 

'Ray was the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside … I guess that’s what made him such a compelling actor to watch. The original Goodfella.' 

Jennifer Love Hewitt, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Costner, Kristin Chenoweth, Josh Brolin and many more stars also tweeted out similar messages of grief.    

A sad farewell on social media: Bracco also shared an image with the actor at a Hollywood event in 2012

A sad farewell on social media: Bracco also shared an image with the actor at a Hollywood event in 2012

FROM ORPHAN TO MOVIE STAR: THE REAL RAY LIOTTA 

Liotta was born in New Jersey in 1954 but was abandoned by his mother at an orphanage before being adopted six months later.

He was the adopted son of a town clerk and auto-parts shop owner, who insisted he never contemplated acting while growing up in Newark.

After graduating he moved to New York City and worked as a barman until he was cast in soap opera Another World in 1980.

Liotta found fame playing ex-con Ray Sinclair in 1986 black comedy Something Wild, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination.

He went on to star as Shoeless Joe Jackson in the 1989 film Field Of Dreams and is best known for his portrayal of Henry Hill in Goodfellas opposite Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci and directed by Martin Scorsese.

Yet the actor appeared to shy away from his fame in the 1990s and kept a low profile but made a resurgence in more recent years.

In 2021 Liotta starred in the Sopranos prequel movie The Many Saints Of Newark, after turning down a role in the original film.

He recently finished filming Cocaine Bear, a film directed by Elizabeth Banks which is scheduled to be released in February next year.

The New Jersey-born actor was also reportedly due to star in The Substance alongside Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley.

In addition to his acting roles, Liotta was also the narrator of documentary series The Making Of The Mob, and starred in a number of music videos including for David Guetta's song Lovers On The Sun.

Liotta leaves behind his daughter Karsen, whom he shares with his ex-wife Michelle Grace, and his fiancée Nittolo.

Liotta was born in New Jersey in 1954 but was abandoned by his mother at an orphanage before being adopted six months later. He was the adopted son of a town clerk and auto-parts shop owner, who insisted he never contemplated acting while growing up in Newark. After graduating he moved to New York City and worked as a barman until he was cast in soap opera Another World in 1980

Liotta was born in New Jersey in 1954 but was abandoned by his mother at an orphanage before being adopted six months later. He was the adopted son of a town clerk and auto-parts shop owner, who insisted he never contemplated acting while growing up in Newark. After graduating he moved to New York City and worked as a barman until he was cast in soap opera Another World in 1980

 

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Joe Manganiello calls late actor Ray Liotta one of his generation's 'heroes'

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