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Ray Liotta's adoption from orphanage and school teacher set him on perfect path

Molly Young May 26, 2022
'Alex Of Venice' : Premiere And Tribute To Ray Liotta - 40th Deauville American Film Festival
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American actor and producer Ray Liotta, best known for starring as Henry Hill in Goodfellas, passed away in his sleep in the Dominican Republic. He was filming an upcoming movie project, Dangerous Waters, at the time of his passing, as per Deadline reports.

The 67-year-old is survived by his fiancée Jacy Nittolo and daughter Karson. Many supporters are curious to learn more about his upbringing ahead of his successful career onscreen.

Let’s take a look into Ray Liotta’s adoption that seemed to set him on the right path after his time spent living in an orphanage as a young child. The Hollywood star even attempted to track down his biological mother and later expressed gratitude for his adoptive family.

  • CELEBRITY: Who is Jacy Nittolo? Ray Liotta and fiancée’s last photo was days before his death
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Inside Ray Liotta’s orphanage upbringing

Late actor Ray Liotta was born on 18 December 1954 in Newark, New Jersey. He was adopted at the age of six months old out of an orphanage by a township clerk and an auto parts owner, as per Independent reports.

The star was adopted by an Italian-American couple named Mary and Alfred Liotta. According to Fabiosa, his sister, Linda, was also an adopted child and he knew he wasn’t his parents’ biological child while growing up.

His adoptive family seemingly sent him on a good path when he was young and Liotta went on to become widely successful in the film industry. The star accomplished his career-defining role in 1990’s crime classic Goodfellas as well as featuring in popular onscreen projects such as Many Saints Of Newark and Identity.

The Independent states although he mostly grew up playing sports, his drama teacher at the school sparked a passion. They asked him if he wanted to appear in a play during his senior year of high school. Liotta agreed on a lark and eventually went on to study acting at the University of Miami. After graduation, he got his first big break on the soap opera Another World.

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Actor “grateful” for adoption after meeting biological mother

Ray Liotta had opened up in the media about being an adopted child and how he felt when he eventually met his birth mother.

Despite having grown up in a loving and caring family, the actor felt the hurt of being given up for adoption for many years and wanted answers.

He previously told People magazine: “At first, I didn’t understand how a parent could give up a child.”

He then explained, “when I finally met my birth mom in my forties, by then, I wasn’t as angry about it. It’s just another journey.”

While in his forties in the 2000s, he hired a private detective to locate his birth mother and younger siblings. He subsequently learned from her that he is mostly of Scottish descent.

When finally getting the chance to ask his biological mother why she gave him up, he recalled the exchange in an interview with Larry King.

He said: “I realised when I met her that she did it for very valid reasons and then realized that almost 99% of kids that are put up for adoption, it’s for the betterment of the kid… The household, the situation, the age just dictate that’s the best thing to do for the child.”

At the same time, the actor admitted he was disappointed when he met the woman who gave birth to him. He said in an interview with The Guardian: “I was really grateful that I was adopted.”

  • READ MORE: Watching late Ray Liotta laughing in Goodfellas might just raise your spirits
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The star had a family of his own

Liotta married actress Michelle Grace in 1997 when he was age 42. The couple welcomed a daughter named Karsen in 1998.

Although the couple divorced in 2004, Ray Liotta remained a present father as his daughter was growing up.

Karsen Liotta decided to follow in her parents’ footsteps and she is now a model and aspiring actress. On Instagram, @karsen_liotta maintains over 30,000 followers and posts insights surrounding her career.

Ray Liotta was most recently in a relationship with his fiancée named Jacy Nittolo.

@rayliotta boasts over 170,000 Instagram followers and prior to his unfortunate passing, he would often share content featuring his family.

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Molly Young is a Journalism with Public Relations student at Leeds Beckett University. Boasting a creative background through her studies and on her personal social media channels, Molly loves creating content and providing entertainment analysis through her writing.