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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ray Liotta, who starred in ‘The River Murders’ in Spokane, dies at 67

Ray Liotta, widely known for his compelling performance in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” died Thursday at 67.

The star of “The Sopranos” prequel “The Many Saints of Newark” died in his sleep while working on the film “Dangerous Waters” in the Dominican Republic.

Liotta became a star after delivering an electric performance as an ex-con in Jonathan Demme’s 1986 film “Something Wild.” Liotta, who also earned praise for his work in “Field of Dreams,” “John Q” and “Blow,” starred in the film “The River Murders,” which was shot in Spokane during the fall of 2010.

“I’m sort of shocked,” said Rich Cowan, the film’s director. “He’s 67. That’s pretty young these days. When I worked with him, he was great and in good health. I really enjoyed working with Ray, who was a great actor.”

Cowan, who co-founded the Spokane-based production company North by Northwest, was impressed with Liotta’s work ethic.

“In a lot of shoots, we have stand-ins, those with the actor’s physical attributes,” Cowan said. “The actors are in their trailers studying lines or relaxing, but what was cool about Ray is that he was his own stand-in. He was always on the set.”

Unlike many actors, who reside in fortresses of solitude while on location, Liotta was accessible.

“Ray was an inquisitive person,” Cowan said. “We had a 20th anniversary party (for North By Northwest), a parking lot party, and Ray showed up. I didn’t expect to see him, and he spoke with everyone. He was a great listener. That’s what I remember about him, and he also enjoyed Spokane. He loved the people, the restaurants and all that is offered here.”

Liotta is survived by his daughter, Karsen Liotta, and his fiancee, Jacy Nittolo.