Ray Liotta, an actor best known for playing mobster Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, died on Thursday at the age of 67. Liotta died in his sleep while in the Dominican Republic filming a new movie, according to Deadline.
Liotta’s breakthrough role came just a year before Goodfellas when he played baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in Field of Dreams, but it was Scorsese’s mafia epic that made him a gangster movie icon alongside Robert De Niro and Joe Pesci. Liotta regularly played tough guys in movies and was an intimidating presence even when he was laughing.
Liotta starred in only a single videogame in his career, but it was a big one: 2002’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. His performance as Vice City protagonist Tommy Vercetti gave Rockstar Games the gangster cred the studio aspired to. Vercetti’s story is a not-too-subtle riff on the ’80s film Scarface, but Liotta made it his own. The role certainly seemed like a natural fit: as he told Conan O’Brien in a 2003 interview, “You’re just sitting there cursing at people. It’s fun to do.”
Liotta certainly did more than that, though the voice lines I heard most in Vice City were probably the grunts and shouts that played when I launched Tommy over the handlebars of a motorcycle trying to do sick jumps.
A decade later Liotta did make one more appearance in a videogame in the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 DLC pack Mob of the Dead. He starred alongside a couple other gangster flick regulars as a prisoner fighting off the undead horde on Alcatraz in what was probably the peak of the Call of Duty zombie mode’s popularity. It’s not quite the iconic role of Tommy Vercetti, but it did give Liotta a chance to riff on his Goodfellas monologue one more time.