Born December 18, 1955 in Newark, New Jersey. Adopted when he was 6 years old. He attended Union High School in Union, New Jersey.
He studied acting at the University of Miami, where he became friends with Stephen Bauer. One of the roles he played there was Kurt Von Trapp in a 1974 production of The Sound of Music. During his time at college, he worked in a cemetery.
He spent his first years acting on television, most notably the soap opera Another World. He was in several made-for-television movies and short-lived series. He broke into the big screen in 1986's Something Wild, which earned him good reviews for his role as a psychopath. He was recommended for the role by Bauer's wife at the time, Melanie Griffith. He refused several roles afterward to avoid being typecast, and instead did the films Dominick & Eugene and Field of Dreams (1989). He tried extremely hard for, and won the role of Henry Hill in Martin Scorcese's Goodfellas (1990). This led to more roles including 1995's Operation Dumbo Drop, Copland (1997), and Unlawful Entry (1992).
He has been married to Michelle Grace since 1997 and has a child, Kathryn, with her.
Personal anecdote: He was inducted into the Union High School Hall of Fame in 1995. Normally, students did not see the inductions, but it was arranged so that Ray Liotta could speak to the entire school. An assembly was called, and he was interviewed by my English teacher. The questions were quite stupid, but the answers were even worse. In fact, the consensus was that Liotta was on something at the time. His eyes were bloodshot and the answers he gave were incoherent. It was amusing.
Editor's note: Ray Liotta died, aged 67, on May 26, 2022, in his sleep while in the Dominican Republic to work on Dangerous Waters, one of several films he had in production at the time of his death.