Ray Liotta boasts over 80 Hollywood credits to his name including Shoeless Joe Jackson in “Field of Dreams,” Frank Sinatra in “The Rat Pack,” and Henry Hill in “Goodfellas.” He’s even credited with some voice acting, lending his unique tone to the character of Tommy Vercetti in the crude video game “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.” The star might have a rep for playing “tough guys,” but that’s not really who he is in reality. In fact, he says he’s never even been in a fight. That doesn’t mean he’s evaded conflict, though.
In a recent segment of “Jay Leno’s Garage,” Liotta opened up about his acting journey and how his selectivity got him into some hot water once. Apparently, Frank Sinatra’s daughters weren’t too happy with the star and went full-on “Godfather” mode, mailing him a horse head.
‘A Horse’s Head Means You’re Toast’ Ray Liotta Says of Frank Sinatra’s Daughters’ Gesture
To make a long story short, Ray Liotta’s obligations with one Frank Sinatra-inspired flick made him miss out on another. Sinatra’s daughters tried to get Liotta to sign onto their own project, but he opted to stick with “The Rat Pack” instead.
“They wanted me to do a miniseries when they were doing a miniseries about it,” he explains. Ultimately, he turned them down citing “I just felt too uncomfortable” in reference to portraying their father in two competing flicks.
While shooting the HBO film, Liotta remembers the strange circumstances that followed. “We were doing the movie and I got delivered a horse’s head… Obviously, it wasn’t a real one, but it was a horse’s head. And, you know, a horse’s head means you’re toast.”
It didn’t take long to find out the “gift” came from Sinatra’s daughters.
Remembering That Famous ‘Godfather’ Scene
The gesture comes as a reference to one of the most famous scenes in Hollywood history. “The Godfather” sees Lenny Montana’s Luca Brasi decapitate the prized racehorse of John Marley’s Jack Woltz in a revenge plot. The movie producer then wakes up to find the gruesome image in bed. And what inspired that act? Well, the movie producer initially refused to cast Al Martino’s Johnny Fontane in his new film.
The Sinatra sisters might have chosen to imitate this scene for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, they were unable to cast Ray Liotta, despite their desires to have him lead. Second, it’s also rumored that the character of Al Martino was actually inspired by Frank Sinatra himself.
Most people chalk up the gesture to some kind of publicity stunt or a dark sense of humor. As far as the competing Sinatra works go, the daughters’ project never took off. On the other hand, “The Rat Pack” took home three Emmy awards.