Ray Liotta Biography: Family, Marriage, Wife, Kids, Cause of Death

Who is Ray Liotta?

Ray Liotta was an award-winning American actor. He was mostly famous for his role in the 1990 crime film “Goodfellas.’’ Liotta, who sadly died in his sleep on May 26, 2022, had a career spanning 40 years with over 100 movies to his credit. Some of his notable films include “Something Wild” (1986), “Field of Dreams” (1989), and most recently “Cocaine Bear” (2023).

Ray Liotta’s full name is Raymond Allen Liotta. He was born on December 18, 1954, in Newark, New Jersey, US. The “Goodfellas” actor was 67 years old at the time of his death.

Ray Liotta’s death

Ray Liotta passed away in his sleep on May 26, 2022, after suffering heart and respiratory system issues triggered by atherosclerosis. The Emmy  Award winner died in the Dominican Republic, where he was midway through filming the movie “Dangerous Waters”. Liotta had gone to sleep at his hotel in Santo Domingo but sadly did not wake up again.

Ray Liotta’s cause of death 

While the exact cause of Ray Liotta’s death was initially unknown, an autopsy result in 2023 revealed that he died of acute heart failure, respiratory insufficiency, and pulmonary oedema – an abnormal buildup of fluid in the lung. And because smoking could trigger some of these medical conditions, the question of whether Liotta was still a smoker – in his last days – came up after he died. Although the actor was a cigarette addict, he revealed in 2016 that he’d quit smoking because he wanted to “live long”. He also disclosed that he stopped smoking after his daughter complained that he stank.

Ray Liotta wrote on his Facebook page, six years before he passed away:

“I used to smoke, but I stopped when my 4-year-old daughter told me I stank … and I stopped because I want to live long.”

Ray Liotta’s parents

Ray Liotta’s biological parents are Scottish. However, their full details are scarce in the media because they were barely part of his life. In fact, according to reports, his biological mother left him in an orphanage shortly after his birth. Thereafter, an Italian man named Alfred Liotta, and his Scottish wife, Mary, adopted 6-month-old Ray. Liotta’s adoptive family raised him alongside his adoptive sister, Linda, in Union, New Jersey.

About Ray Liotta’s birth mother 

Ray Liotta’s biological mother was Scottish. She gave the actor up for adoption shortly after his birth in 1954. According to Mama Ray, she was young at the time and wasn’t ready to be responsible for a child, so she opted to keep the actor in an orphanage.

Fast forward to the early 2000s, the “Something Wild” actor reunited with his biological family. Liotta found his birth mom and also learned from her that he was mostly Scottish – and not Italian like his adoptive father. Ray Liotta made peace with his birth family even though he wasn’t happy with his mom’s reasons for leaving him in an orphanage.

In 2021, the late actor told PEOPLE:

“At first, I didn’t understand how a parent could give up a child … when I finally met my birth mom and my birth siblings … by then, I wasn’t as angry.”

About Ray Liotta’s birth father 

Ray Liotta’s birth father and the actor’s mother were lovers in the 1950s, but they never married. When Liotta found his mother in the 2000s, she refused to speak to him about his dad; hence, it is likely that they were no longer together.

Liotta told Esquire in 2016:

“When I asked about what my dad was, she wouldn’t even talk about it … like it never even happened.”

About Ray Liotta’s adoptive parents – Mary and Alfred Liotta 

According to reports, Ray Liotta’s adoptive parents, Mary and Alfred Liotta, had raised him like their own child. Alfred and Mary had Italian and Scottish roots. Ray’s adoptive dad was a local politician who also owned auto parts stores. Mary, on the other hand, worked as a town clerk. Ray Liotta’s adoptive mom died of cancer while the actor was still filming “Goodfellas”. Sadly, his dad also passed away in 2015 at the age of 98.

About Ray Liotta’s siblings 

Ray Liotta has a total of seven siblings. Liotta’s siblings include his adoptive sister, Linda, five half-sisters and one half-brother from his mother’s later relationship. The only information available about Liotta’s sister, Linda, is that Mary and Alfred also adopted her when Ray was three years old. 

After Liotta met with his birth family in the 2000s, he only disclosed his half-brother’s name as Ray while he kept mum about the details of his half-sisters.

Ray Liotta’s wiki profile

Full nameRaymond Allen Liotta 
Stage name     Ray Liotta
Place of Birth Newark, New Jersey, US
Date of Birth December 18, 1954 
Died onMay 26, 2022
Marital statusDivorced
Aged67 years old 
Height6′ (1.83 m)
Cause of deathHeart failure, respiratory insufficiency, and pulmonary oedema 
Cemetery Mount Pleasant Cemetery
Occupation Actor
Networthest. $14 Million

Ray Liotta’s marriage and wife 

At the time of his death in May 2022, Ray Liotta was divorced and had no wife. However, he was engaged to his girlfriend Jacy Nittolo before he died.

Ray Liotta was formerly married for seven years (1997 – 2004) to his ex-wife, actress Michelle Grace. The former couple first met when Michelle was married to retired baseball champion, Mark Grace. In fact, Liotta and his ex-wife met at a baseball game where her then-husband, Mark, played for his team (Chicago Cubs). According to Ray Liotta, his relationship with Michelle Grace did not become romantic until she left her husband, Mark, in 1993. 

Afterwards, the “Goodfellas” actor dated Michelle Grace for a while before they tied the knot in 1997. Ray Liotta’s marriage to his former wife produced only one child, a daughter named Karsen Liotta. Sadly, they ended their marriage in 2004 after being together for 7 years. According to reports, the ex-couple remained friends until Ray Liotta died in 2022.

There were rumours at the time that Michelle Grace’s busy career as a producer and actress might have contributed to their failed marriage.

Ray Liotta also seemed to hint at this during an interview with Chrissy Iley of The Guardian in 2007 where he said:

“I would love to be in a relationship with the right person … Probably someone who is not as career-oriented, who is more about the relationship.” 

However, he didn’t fail to praise Michelle. In the same interview, Liotta described his former wife as a “great woman”.

Ray Liotta and his daughter Karsen as a baby.

List of Ray Liotta’s past relationships and girlfriends

Aside from his ex-wife Michelle Grace, and his fiancée Jacy Nittolo, the late actor had been in a couple of other relationships. Here is the full list of the women Ray Liotta reportedly dated or hooked up with in the past:

  1. Ray Liotta and Susan Keith hooked up briefly in 1980.
  2. Ray Liotta and Heidi Von Beltz dated shortly after the late actor moved to LA in 1981. They were together for about a year (1981 – 1982).
  3. Ray Liotta and Michelle Johnson were together for almost four months in 1991.
  4. Ray Liotta and Sherrie Rose dated for about one year (1991 – 1992).
  5. Ray Liotta and Michelle Grace were married for seven years (1997 – 2004).
  6. Ray Liotta and Donna Puzio hooked up for a few months in 2004.
  7. Ray Liotta and Jill Marie Jones dated for about six months in 2006.
  8. Ray Liotta and Catherine Hickland were in a relationship for four years (2007 – 2011).
  9. Ray Liotta and Vicky Dawson dated for a while, reports say.
  10. Ray Liotta and Jacy Nittolo were engaged for nearly two years.

About Ray Liotta’s ex-wife – Michelle Grace 

Ray Liotta’s ex-wife Michelle Grace (née Messer) is a former model and actress. She is also a producer, having co-produced the 2002 crime movie “Narc”. Born on December 4, 1968, Grace is 54 years old as of September 2023. 

Michelle Grace is more popular in the media as Ray Liotta’s ex-wife even though she was first married to Mark Grace, a former Major League Baseball (MLB) baseman. Liotta and Michelle Grace started dating around 1997 and married in the same year, reports say. Their marriage of seven years produced their only child, Karsen Liotta (born in 1998). Six years after their daughter’s birth, Ray and Grace divorced but remained cordial afterwards. In fact, the ex-lovers lived together, a few years after their split.

Ray Liotta and his ex-wife Michelle Grace pictured at the 13th Annual Tribeca Film Festival Chanel Dinner at Balthazar on April 23, 2018.

About Ray Liotta and fiancée Jacy Nittolo’s relationship 

Ray Liotta’s fiancée Jacy Nittolo is a former hairdresser and beautician. However, she is popular in the media as Ray Liotta’s fiancée. Liotta’s partner was born on September 25, 1974, in California, USA. She is 49 years old as of September 2023. Nittolo has both Scottish and Italian roots, reports say. Her Scottish father, Stewart Woodman, was convicted in 1985 for killing his parents. Ray Liotta’s fiancée Jacy Nittolo is a mother of four beautiful kids from her previous marriage to filmmaker Joey Nittolo.

Liotta and Jacy Nittolo met through the late actor’s daughter, Karsen, who felt they would make a cute couple. Karsen first met Nittolo at her son’s birthday party and would later introduce the former stylist to her dad. While Jacy Nittolo and Liotta were reluctant to start a relationship at first, they couldn’t get enough of each other when they finally did. 

According to reports gathered by DNB Stories, Liotta and Jacy Nittolo started dating in late 2019. However, they first went public as lovers in January 2020, after a paparazzi pictured them sharing a kiss outside a restaurant in California. In December 2020, Liotta asked Jacy Nittolo to marry him and she said yes. They were engaged until the actor died in 2022. In fact, they were together in the Dominican Republic where Liotta passed away, reports say. Ray Liotta and Jacy Nittolo’s affair did not produce any kids.

Reacting to Ray Liotta’s death, a grieving Nittolo wrote on Instagram: 

“There are no words to properly describe what one goes through with this type of unexpected loss. I miss him every second of every day.”

Ray Liotta and his fiancée Jacy Nittolo.

Ray Liotta’s kids

Ray Liotta has only one biological child – his daughter Karsen Liotta, whom he welcomed with his ex-wife, Michelle Grace, in 1998. 

About Ray Liotta’s daughter – Karsen Liotta 

Karsen Liotta is the only child of Ray Liotta and his ex-wife, Michelle Grace. Karsen was born to her parents on December 21, 1998. Ray Liotta’s only daughter is 24 years old as of September 2023. Just like her parents, Karsen Liotta also shares a passion for acting.

Karsen Liotta played a minor character, “Audrey Hansen” in the 2022 miniseries “Black Bird,” which also features her dad. Some of her other movies include “Shades of Blue (2016), and “Hubie Halloween” (2020). Karsen Liotta has been in a relationship with LA realtor Stefan Samorski since 2020, reports say.

In February 2023, Karsen Liotta accepted a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in honor of her father, Ray Liotta. In an emotional speech, the young actress described her late dad as a “one-of-a-kind actor … brother, and father anyone could have asked for.”

Ray Liotta and his daughter Karsen.

Ray Liotta’s net worth 

Ray Liotta’s net worth was estimated at $14 million at the time of his death in 2022. His only child, Karsen, will most likely inherit his assets.

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About Golden Madu

Golden Madu is a skilled SEO content writer and editor. He works at DNB Stories Africa as an editor and also volunteers as a writer for the holistic community, EssenceByAna. Golden Madu enjoys thriller movies and books. As someone who values family, he shares his best moments with loved ones and close friends.

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