Ray Liotta is one of the first Hollywood actors to have forayed into the world of video games. The actor is best known for playing the character of a mobster named Henry Hill in Goodfellas (1990). On May 26, 2022, the actor passed away in his sleep in the Dominican Republic. He reportedly was in the location to shoot a new movie.
Liotta had entered the film industry in 1989, a year before Goodfellas made it to the theaters. His debut film was Field of Dreams in which he was given the character of a baseball player named Shoeless Joe Jackson. But, none of these two films gave him the movie icon he is known for. The actor would not have become a representative of the genre until he had worked on Martin Scorsese’s mafia epic along with co-actors like Joe Pesci and Robert De Niro.
Liotta was seen in two video games to date, and he starred in one as a voice actor. It is 2002’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Liotta gave Rockstar Games exactly what they were looking for, the gangster credibility to their game development studio. Ray Liotta played the protagonist Tommy Vercetti in the game. His extraordinary performance in the shoes of the rising mafia member made Liotta a natural fit for the role. In an interview, he described his work at Rockstar North as “sitting there cursing at people” and “fun to do”.
Varied sound effects that Tommy makes while performing hundreds of stunts and moves throughout the game suggest that Liotta must have done a lot more than merely sitting and delivering pages upon pages of dialogue. His second appearance in video games came exactly ten years after his GTA performance, in 2012. The actor was spotted in a Call of Duty DLC titled “Mob of the Dead”. It was an expansion to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. The trailer shows Liotta alongside a few more gangsters clearing out hordes of zombies in the game while adding a flick of a story to the entire experience.
However, this second appearance was not as iconic or noteworthy as his performance as Tommy Vercetti. Ray Liotta will be missed throughout the mobster sub-genre and video games and as a person and actor in general.