Ray Liotta spun pizza pies in Cranford, NJ before ‘Goodfellas’

Years earlier than Ray Liotta landed meaty roles in “Discipline of Desires” and “Goodfellas,” the charismatic actor was rolling in dough at a pizzeria in Cranford, NJ.

Liotta was boyhood friends with Vincent Preziosi, Jr., whose mother, Ronnie, now 93, and pa, Vincent Sr., began Pizza House/Pizza Chef in Newark within the Fifties earlier than relocating the enterprise to Cranford in 1970.

Liotta labored on the pizzeria throughout his excessive summer season holidays from 1971 to 1973. “We had been making $3.50 an hour again then,” Preziosi Jr. recalled.

“Ray was an amazing employee. … He used to indicate earlier than me. He was a pizzamaker. He was wonderful at tossing the pie, making the circle larger.”

Along with his ice blue eyes and broad smile, Liotta was a field workplace draw even again then.

Liotta labored at Pizza Home/Pizza Chef throughout his summer season holidays from 1971 to 1973.
Ray Liotta's yearbook photo.
Ray Liotta’s yearbook photograph.

“The pizzeria opened at at 10 a.m., however there have been at all times 5 – 6 ladies lined up exterior the shop about 40 minutes earlier,” Preziosi Jr. stated. ” I used to be like, ‘Who eats pizza that early?’ It wasn’t exhausting to determine. The ladies had been coming to see Ray.”

Preziosi Jr. thought of the actor, who died Thursday on the age of 67, a pricey buddy who by no means forgot the place he got here from.

“Ray was an especially loyal, beneficiant, humorous, accountable man. I used to be tremendous shocked after I heard he handed,” Preziosi Jr. advised The Publish from his dwelling in Orlando, Fla.

Vincent Preziosi, Jr. on left in white trunks and Liotta on right in the black trunks.
Vincent Preziosi, Jr. (left) in white trunks and Liotta (proper).
Preziosi, Jr. on left in bowtie and Ray Liotta in orange on right.
Preziosi, Jr. — on the left in bowtie — and Ray Liotta — sporting orange — of their second-grade class photograph.

About 5 years in the past, Liotta despatched the Preziosi household — at present co-owned by Ronnie and daughter, Gina, 59 — an autographed photograph that reads, “I miss one of the best pizza on the East Coast!” The framed photograph proudly hangs on a wall of Pizza Home/Pizza Chef, which like Liotta’s work, attracts rave evaluations for its thin-crust and margherita pies.

The 2 Jersey Boys adopted the identical path by means of faculty, attending the College of Miami, the place they had been roommates for a 12 months. They made the drive to Miami in Liotta’s circa-1969 orange Mercury.

It was in school that Liotta majored in drama — “he hated math and science” — earlier than shifting to the Huge Apple, stated Preziosi Jr., now a chiropractor.

Ray Liotta, center, with old New Jersey pals Gene Laguna and Jules Geltzeiler.
Ray Liotta poses together with his outdated New Jersey friends, Gene Laguna and Jules Geltzeiler.

Along with Preziosi Jr., that internal circle included Gene Laguna, an insurance coverage firm proprietor; Jules Geltzeiler, a urologist; Freddy Silverman, a former safety business skilled, and Gary Hecker, who turned a Beverly Hills legal professional.

Liotta would say, “We’re all Jersey Guys,” and to that, the group, when collectively, “dropped their share of ‘F-bombs,’” Preziosi Jr. stated.

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