“Ray was my partner in crime on Shades of Blue … the first thing that comes to mind is he so was kind to my children. Ray was the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside … I guess that’s what made him such a compelling actor to watch,” the 52-year-old singer said. “The original Goodfella. We shared some intense moments on set those three years! When I first heard he took the job on Shades of Blue I was thrilled, and the first time we walked on set to do our first scene together there was an electric spark and a mutual respect and we both knew this was going to be good.”
Lopez added that she was “lucky” to work with Liotta.
“Like all artists he was complicated, sincere, honest and so very emotional,” she wrote. “Like a raw nerve, he was so accessible and so in touch in his acting and I will always remember our time together fondly. We lost a great today … RIP RAY … it’s so sad to lose you what seems way too soon. I will remember you always. Sending so much love and strength to your daughter Karsen, your family and all your loved ones.”
Liotta’s publicist confirmed on Thursday, May 26, that the actor died in his sleep while in the Dominican Republic working on the movie Dangerous Waters. He was 67.
The Goodfellas star appeared alongside Lopez for three seasons of Shades of Blue, which aired on NBC from 2016 to 2018. While the “Jenny From the Block” songstress starred as NYPD detective Harlee Santos, Liotta played corrupt Lieutenant Matt Wozniak.
“She had so many things on her plate so I was always impressed that she always knew her lines, and mine,” Liotta told Business Insider in 2018 while reflecting on the series. “As it wore on, I think she knew she was leaving, and I don’t want to bash her, but her discipline got a little looser. She definitely was there with her lines and dedicated in terms of the work.”
Lopez also served as an executive producer on the drama. When asked by Parade whether it was complicated for the musician to be the “boss” off screen — while Liotta was the “boss” on screen — the Marry Me star opened up about their dynamic.
“He is the boss. Let’s just put it that way. I defer. He’s the boss on and off camera,” she told the outlet in 2016. “I don’t really try to challenge that in any way, shape, or form. We have a great time, actually. We really loved working together. I don’t think of myself as the boss on set. I think of myself as Harlee when I’m on set. That’s all I think of myself as. Then in relation to all the characters, we are a family. I feel that we are a family and that Ray’s our father figure. He’s our leader. That’s the dynamic that exists on the set.”
Lopez added: “I just, as his first lieutenant, try to keep everything afloat all the time. I don’t think of myself as boss. I think of myself as a very important piece of this puzzle.”
Liotta is survived by his 23-year-old daughter, Karsen, and fiancée Jacy Nittolo.