Actor Ray Liotta, who rocketed to film stardom in "Goodfellas," has died in his sleep at a hotel in the Dominican Republic

where he was filming a movie. He was 67. NPR's Bob Mondello offers this remembrance.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: Few actors have ever been offered a better opening line for their star-making role.

RAY LIOTTA: (As Henry Hill) As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.

MONDELLO: Ray Liotta, slamming the trunk shut on what we later learned was evidence of just how gangster he'd become

the intensity that made him terrifying even when he was terrified - all there in that very first shot.

LIOTTA: (As Henry Hill) To me, being a gangster was better than being president of the United States.

Even before I first wandered into the cabstand for an after-school job, I knew I wanted to be a part of them. It was there that I knew that I belonged

made Liotta a star, but he'd been getting noticed for almost a decade at that point - first in television, then in "Something Wild," where he played a vengeful husband.

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