Hollywood mainstay Ray Liotta has been cast as Morty Szyslak, dad to depressed bartender Moe on FOX animated institution The Simpsons. After nearly 30 years on the air, one might assume that the backstories of every conceivable Springfield resident would have been fully explored by this point. However, that's not quite the case with surly but sad bartender Moe Szyslak, owner of Moe's Tavern, the neighborhood bar at which Springfield's local drunks congregate.
After nearly 30 years on the air, one might also assume that every conceivable Hollywood notable would have made a guest appearance on The Simpsons by now, either playing a character or voicing a version of themselves. Yet, despite being a Hollywood mainstay since the 80s, Ray Liotta has never before contributed to a Simpsons episode. At the very least, it seems likely that he would have turned up as a member of the organized crime world run by Fat Tony (Joe Mantegna), but not even that has taken place.
Now, according to EW, Liotta is set to finally join The Simpsons family, guest starring in an upcoming season 29 episode. The as yet untitled episode will focus on Moe, and delve into his family history. Executive producer Matt Selman describes the episode as "a Shakespearean family drama, set against the backdrop of a fading mattress store empire." Liotta's Morty Szyslak is also described as "a more cunning, evil version of Moe." It seems safe to say that Morty won't be a character fans are designed to root for. A photo of Morty is included below, also via EW.
While not quite the A-list theatrical leading man he once was, Ray Liotta still maintains an active career, currently serving as a regular on the NBC cop drama Shades of Blue. Liotta also recently guest starred on CBS' Young Sheldon and Netflix's The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. He is of course still probably best known for playing gangster Henry Hill in Martin Scorsese's 1990 classic Goodfellas, although he also counts roles in other hits like Field of Dreams, Cop Land, Hannibal, and Blow among his credits. Gamers are also likely to fondly remember Liotta's voice work as player character Tommy Vercetti in the classic PS2 title Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
If there's one aspect of Moe's - one of many Simpsons characters voiced by Hank Azaria - personality that has become his trademark over the years, it's his unrelenting sadness. While Moe's fortunes do sometimes turn around for the duration of a single episode, his happiness rarely lasts, and he always seems down on himself. Perhaps meeting dad Morty will serve to illustrate exactly why Moe - despite owning his own business, one that always seems to have customers at that - is always such a perpetual sad sack.
The Simpsons season 29 airs Sundays on FOX.