Actor and producer Ray Liotta, famous for his starring role as Tommy Vercetti in the PS2 open-world classic Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, has died. He was 67 years old. He leaves behind a daughter and fiancée.
Deadline reports that Liotta died in his sleep in the Dominican Republic, where the 67-year-old actor was reportedly filming the upcoming movie Dangerous Waters. The outlet also reports that Liotta leaves behind a daughter named Karsen and that he was engaged to Jacy Nittolo.
Liotta, whose career exploded after his incredible performance in 1990’s Goodfellas, is probably best known to some audiences for his starring role in Rockstar’s mega-popular open-world hit, GTA: Vice City. In the game, Liotta played Tommy Vercetti, a no-nonsense tough guy with the skills and guns to back up his persona. Liotta provided Vercetti not only with a strong, powerful voice but also a sense of playfulness and charm that helped make the character one of the most popular protagonists in Grand Theft Auto franchise history.
In a 2002 interview with IGN, Liotta shared his thoughts on voicing a video game character, and how it wasn’t easy.
“No, it’s not a cakewalk,” said Liotta.
No way. Because, you know, you want it to seem real. It’s a great challenge. You’re creating a character that’s not there before. I’m the player, so you see my guy, but it’s kind of like I’m you or you’re me. You’re making me move and then talking to [this character] or you make a left [turn in the game]—it’s just so unbelievable. It’s so intensive. What makes the game, aside from the graphics, is that if you make a left-hand turn or you go into a car there’s one scenario that happens. If you make a right-hand turn, there’s a whole other different thing. If I talk to one guy I’ll be talkin’ one way and if somebody else shows up and you choose to talk to somebody else, it’s a whole other different thing. The scenarios that go on, it’s exhausting.
However, it’s known that Rockstar and Liotta didn’t have a perfect working relationship, with claims that Rockstar didn’t respect Liotta’s work enough and didn’t want to work with him in the future over pay disputes.
Regardless of behind-the-scenes issues, Liotta’s performance as Vercetti is iconic and helped elevate an already-great game into a bona fide classic that is still popular all these years later.
Liotta would return to games in 2013, starring as Billy Handsome in Call of Duty Black Ops 2’s zombies mode. Archival recordings of Liotta were used in the recently remastered GTA: Vice City, as well.
Making this news even sadder was the fact that, as pointed out by Deadline, Liotta was enjoying a bit of a Hollywood renaissance. He recently appeared in The Many Saints of Newark, Marriage Story, and No Sudden Move. He had also just finished filming Cocaine Bear and was reportedly due to star in The Substance alongside Demi Moore and Margaret Qualley.