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Actor Ray Liotta Dies at 67, Did a Recalled Pfizer Drug Possibly Contribute to His Passing?


Ray Liotta, the actor from New Jersey best known for his role as the hustler turned mob rat Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese’s GoodFellas, has died.

Liotta, 67, died while filming a movie called “Dangerous Waters” in the Dominican Republic.

He reportedly passed away in his sleep and there’s no foul play suspected.

From The Hollywood Reporter:

Publicist Jennifer Allen told The Hollywood Reporter that the actor died Wednesday night or early Thursday in his sleep in his hotel room while in the Dominican Republic making the movie Dangerous Waters. His fiancee, Jacy Nittolo, was with him. He had begun work on the film about a week ago.

The boyish, blue-eyed Liotta also was memorable as Ray Sinclair, the violent ex-convict husband of Melanie Griffith’s character, in Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild (1986); as the disgraced Chicago White Sox baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson in the Kevin Costner-starrer Field of Dreams (1989); and as the corrupt cop Matt Wozniak on the 2016-18 NBC cop drama Shades of Blues, opposite Jennifer Lopez.

“Ray was the epitome of a tough guy who was all mushy on the inside,” Lopez wrote on Twitter.

Crime stories were his specialty — he was a great choice to narrate Inside the Mafia for the National Geographic Channel in 2005 — and he was superb as shady cops in Unlawful Entry (1992), Cop Land (1997) and Narc (2002) and as the voice of the mobster Tommy Vercetti in the 2002 video game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Amid a career resurgence, Liotta was quite busy recently, with big-screen roles in Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story (2019), Steven Soderbergh’s No Sudden Move (2021) and Alan Taylor’s The Many Saints of Newark (2021) — as two members of the Moltisanti family in the Sopranos prequel — and a gig as a villain on the third season of the Amazon series Hanna.

While mainstream media will ignore this, Liotta starred in an ad campaign for Pfizer’s drug CHANTIX to help adults stop smoking.

Liotta said he quit smoking with CHANTIX.

Here’s the ad campaign but pay attention to the list of potential side effects read by the narrator.

From the FDA:

Pfizer is voluntarily recalling all lots of Chantix 0.5 mg and 1 mg Tablets to the patient (consumer/user) level due to the presence of a nitrosamine, N-nitroso-varenicline, at or above the FDA interim acceptable intake limit. As alternative suppliers have been approved in the United States, Pfizer is undertaking this precautionary measure.

Long-term ingestion of N-nitroso-varenicline may be associated with a theoretical potential increased cancer risk in humans, but there is no immediate risk to patients taking this medication. The health benefits of stopping smoking outweigh the theoretical potential cancer risk from the nitrosamine impurity in varenicline.

Everyday Health noted:

This isn’t the first time the drug has been recalled because of impurities. In June, the company announced it was stopping global shipments after testing found nitrosamine. In July, the company recalled 12 lots of Chantix, and 4 additional lots were recalled in August. A “lot” is a batch or a specified portion of a batch of a medication and is identified with a lot number so that manufacture, processing, packing, holding, and distribution can be tracked.

Chantix isn’t the only medication to have issues with nitrosamine impurities that have led to lot recalls. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides information and guidance for both doctors and patients on products that have been found to have impurities.

Everyone is exposed to some nitrosamines; they’re common in water and foods such as grilled meats, dairy products, and vegetables, according to the FDA. NDMA may increase the risk of cancer if people are exposed to it at above acceptable levels and over long periods of time. A person might take a drug that contains nitrosamines at or below the acceptable daily intake limits every day for 70 years and not be expected to have an increased risk of cancer, said the agency.


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