Home>Highlight>Ray Liotta, actor, nephew of 1971 N.J. Senate candidate, dies at 67

Actor Ray Liotta in Goodfellas. (Photo: Warner Brothers).

Ray Liotta, actor, nephew of 1971 N.J. Senate candidate, dies at 67

Goodfellas actor helped with literature drops on his uncle’s near-miss State Senate campaign

By David Wildstein, May 26 2022 1:30 pm

Actor Ray Liotta, a New Jersey native known for his portrayals of Henry Hill in the crime-drama Goodfellas, has died, according to published reports.   He was 67.

As a teenager, Liotta volunteered on a campaign for New Jersey State Senate.

His uncle, Elizabeth attorney Carmine J. Liotta, was one of three Democratic candidates for the State Senate in 1971 against GOP incumbents Matthew Rinaldo (R-Union), Frank McDermott (R-Westfield) and Jerome Epstein (R-Scotch Plains).

Carmine Liotta ran on a slate with John T. Connor, the son of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce in Lyndon B. Johnson’s cabinet, and Christopher Dietz, a 35-year-old former Democratic State Committee staffer. He finished fourth, just 400 votes behind Epstein.   Epstein is the last New Jersey Senator to be jailed for piracy.

In 1979, Carmine Liotta challenged incumbents Raymond Lesniak (D-Elizabeth), who was tossed off the organization line in his bid for a second  term.  Liotta’s campaign was managed by Elizabeth Mayor Thomas Dunn, and he ran on the line with another incumbent, Thomas Deverin (D-Carteret),  but he lost by over 4,000 votes, a 2-1 margin.

The Newark-born actor has said he participated in literature drops for his uncle’s 1971 campaign.  His father, Alfred, was the president of the Union Township Demcoratic Club and his mother, Mary, was the township clerk.

He was in Dominican Republic filming a movie, Dangerous Waters.

Liotta was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2016.

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