Quite the punim on Ray Liotta. What a kisser, huh? And those piercing blues? Sounds like I wanna marry him. Hardly. But an interesting looking character no doubt.

And despite being typecast for whatever reasons — those? — he’s a pretty accomplished actor with a long and successful career in the business firmly ensconced in whichever hip pocket he has chosen to safeguard it.

In a recent episode of Shades of Blue it was apparent that the role he plays — as most of them have been — suits him to a ‘T.’

Born Raymond Julian Vicimarli in Newark, New Jersey on December 18, 1954 and adopted at the age of six months by Mary and Alfred Liotta, Raymond Allen Liotta has made his way, charting his course since 1978 when he graduated from the University of Miami with a Fine Arts degree.

He seemingly always had the chops and he has compellingly earned his keep for the last forty years or so.

A Chock Full O’ Nuts resume featuring a steady stream of work first in television in Another World as Joey Perrini and then on the silver screen before returning to TV in the 1998 made-for-movie The Rat Pack portraying Frank Sinatra and receiving a SAG nomination for his sterling effort.

He topped that with a 2005 Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series celebrating his performance as Charlie Metcalf in an episode (“Time of Death”) of the TV medical drama ER.

His 2006 starring role in CBS TV’s Smith represented a rare failure for Liotta as the series was pulled from the schedule after only three episodes.

Some vocal work for the Disney Channel’s Phineas and Ferb in 2012 and the 2015 miniseries Texas Rising; a gig on Modern Family; and Shades all followed in terms of Liotta’s television credits.

He is very good at what he does but it’s the smoosh, particularly the eyes and I’m afraid, the complexion which has set him apart.

A few pock marks dotting the now-62-year-old-ruddiness lend legitimacy to that overflowing grease quotient tightly woven into the persona of his Shades character, Lieutenant Matt Wozniak affectionately known as Woz, the corrupt bisexual commander of the 64th Precinct. Liotta specializes in the psychopathic cloaked loosely in a cultivated charm despite his early-career efforts to avoid the inevitable typecasting.

After starring in the black comedy Something Wild (1986) which garnered him rave reviews, Liotta chose to branch out a bit and accepted roles in Dominick and Eugene (1988) and Field of Dreams (1989) before reverting back to form as Henry Hill in the Martin Scorsese blockbuster Goodfellas (1990). It would prove difficult for him to extricate himself from these character-types as evidenced by his leading or supporting roles in subsequent films such as Unlawful Entry (1992), No Escape (1994), Cop Land (1997), Blow (2001), John Q (2002), Narc (2002), Wild Hogs (2007), Killing Them Softly (2012), and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014). Since June of 2015 Liotta has narrated the AMC docu-series The Making of the Mob.

The die was cast, the mold was made and the molten liquid cooled and hardened into the pellucid and unambiguous countenance of Ray Liotta.

Ray Liotta has worked in film from 1983 until today, doing at least one project a year since 1994 and from 1986–1992. His TV career began in 1980 and continues. He has done video games, theater and music videos. He has made voiceovers. He is a living, breathing testament to the undeniable power of the strength of a marriage founded on hard work and talent.

But without that face, he may not have gone anywhere.

[Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Mr. Kaplan in May 2017.]

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