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Ray Liotta Was Doting Dad to His Kid — He Was Abandoned at an Orphanage by Mom Who He Found Years Later

Olawale Ogunjimi
May 27, 2022
01:00 P.M.
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Hollywood star Ray Liotta passed on following a decades-long career. Ray leaves behind a child and a legacy built from scratch in what is considered a tragic passing.


Ray Liotta, who passed away on May 26, 2022, had a sterling career with over 120 feature film appearances. Ray's films were characterized by intensity and a villainous essence.

In real life, Liotta's story carried as much intensity and drama. The star was born in Newark, New Jersey, and spent the first months of his life at an orphanage.

Ray Liotta, poses during a 1990 Los Angeles, California, photo portrait session. | Source: Getty Images


Ray's birth mother had abandoned him at the orphanage at birth, and six months later, a couple, Mary Edgar and Alfred Liotta adopted him. One of Ray's earliest memories was visiting an orphanage to adopt his sister, Linda.

His mother was a clerk, while his dad owned an automotive business. Later in life, the couple ventured into politics and ran for local office several times. However, they never got into office.


As a child, Ray loved sports and played games, including baseball, basketball, and pretend army. He also thought he would grow up to be a construction worker.

After high school, Ray attended Miami University, where he bagged a degree in acting. He forged his acting career, making friends with actors like Steven Bauer and appearing in films including "Something Wild," "Dominick and Eugene," and "Field of Dreams."


Ray Liotta discusses "Marriage Story" with the Build Series at Build Studio on November 8, 2019 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images


Ray had a relatively regular childhood life with his parents but could not quite shake off the thoughts of being adopted. It was something that he always carried with him.

The "Unforgettable" actor was angry at his birth mom as he could not fathom why she would abandon him at birth. All of these thoughts were laid to rest decades later.

Through his ex-wife, Michelle Grace, Ray was able to get closure. Grace watched an episode of "Oprah," where family members met their long-lost relatives, and she got an idea.

Portrait of Actor Ray Liotta. | Source: Getty Images


She contacted the locator on the show, and within one day, he found Ray's birth mom. After meeting his mom, Ray felt grateful that he had been adopted.

Once speaking to Larry King, Ray explained that he felt his birth mother did the best thing by putting him up for adoption. He believed that adoption was for the betterment of most kids who were put up from then on.

He recalled how there was a different "bounce" to his birth mother's voice after she found out who he was. Ray, who always thought he had Italian roots, discovered he was of Scottish descent.

Ray Liotta and wife Michelle are on hand for premiere of the movie "Cop Land" at the Ziegfeld Theater. | Source: Getty Images


Ray's father always wanted him to take over the automotive business, but when that did not quite pan out, Alfred did not seem disappointed.

According to Ray, his parents did not verbally praise his acting, but they watched his movies into the night.

Sadly, Mary died in the early nineties when he was filming his blockbuster role in "Goodfellas." Alfred lived to 98 and passed on in 2017. At the time of his death, Ray honored his father on Instagram.



During his lifetime, Ray was married to Michelle Grace, with whom he had a daughter. The pair met in 1997 and started dating in no time.

They welcomed their daughter, Karsen Liotta, in 1998 and got married in 1999. The duo called things off in 2004 but remained friends while co-parenting their daughter.

While Ray kept forging ahead in his acting career, he had a lovely relationship with his daughter. The actor and his daughter often spent time together, and their affection was mutual.

Actor Ray Liotta and his daughter Karsen at the premiere of DreamWorks Animation's "Bee Movie" at the Mann's Bruin Theatre on October 28, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images


These days Karsen walks in her dad's footsteps as she looks to gain fame in Hollywood. She has appeared in a few films, but she started her spotlight career as a model.

Once speaking to Teen Vogue, the Brandy Melville model stated that the agency approached her when she was 14-years-old, but she had to wait until she was 15.


After Karsen turned 15, she wasted no time getting a work visa and showing up at Brandy Melville to get started. She has been modeling since and honing her acting skills.

Having an adorable relationship with her father did leave some impact on Karsen. She told the publication that she learned quite a lot from him. One of these was always doing her assignments and practicing her craft to excel.

Karsen Liotta and Ray Liotta arrives at the Disney's "Muppets Most Wanted" - Los Angeles Premiere at the El Capitan Theatre on March 11, 2014 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images


The 23-year-old explained how she loved hanging out with her father and visiting him on set. Ray himself has gushed about Karsen a few times. He once told the Guardian that his whole life was about her.

The movie and TV actor shared that he did not like to go too long without seeing his daughter. He added that he could sometimes take months off acting to spend time with Karsen.



Ray was an active star up until he died in 2022. The star was said to have been filming an upcoming movie, "Dangerous Waters," in the Dominican Republic when he passed on.

Ray died in his sleep, and according to authorities, no foul play was suspected. The star had traveled to the movie's location with his fiancée, Jacy Nitollo. Before snagging the "Dangerous Waters" gig, Ray had a lineup of films in the 2000s and 2010s.,

He is most remembered for playing mobster Henry Hill in "Goodfellas" and Shoeless Joe Jackson in "Field of Dreams." Ray received several accolades and nominations, including Oscars and Golden Globe nominations.


Actor Ray Liotta at the "No Sudden Move" premiere during the 2021 Tribeca Festival at The Battery on June 18, 2021 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

He received a Primetime Emmy award, Indie Spirit Award, and a SAG award. His movie credit as a burgeoning star includes "Something Wild" alongside Melaine Griffith and "Another World."


More recently, Ray bagged roles on the big and silver screens. He starred alongside Jennifer Lopez in the 2016 NBC police drama "Shades Of Blue," "Texas Rising," "Black Bird," "Silence of the Lambs," "The Place Beyond The Pines," and "Killing Them Softly."

Ray is survived by his daughter Karsen, and Nitollo, who he got engaged to in 2020, around Christmas. The star actor was 67.