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


Years before Ray Liotta landed meaty roles in “Field of Dreams” and “Goodfellas,” the charismatic actor was rolling in dough at a pizzeria in Cranford, NJ.

Liotta was boyhood pals with Vincent Preziosi, Jr., whose mom, Ronnie, now 93, and pop, Vincent Sr., began Pizza House/Pizza Chef in Newark within the Fifties before relocating the business to Cranford in 1970.

Liotta worked on the pizzeria during his high summer vacations from 1971 to 1973. “We were making $3.50 an hour back then,” Preziosi Jr. recalled.

“Ray was an important employee. … He used to point out before me. He was a pizzamaker. He was excellent at tossing the pie, making the circle larger.”

Along with his ice blue eyes and broad smile, Liotta was a box office draw even back then.

Liotta worked at Pizza House/Pizza Chef during his summer vacations from 1971 to 1973.

Ray Liotta's yearbook photo.Ray Liotta’s yearbook photo.

“The pizzeria opened at at 10 a.m., but there have been at all times 5 – 6 girls lined up outside the shop about 40 minutes earlier,” Preziosi Jr. said. ” I used to be like, ‘Who eats pizza that early?’ It wasn’t hard to work out. The women were coming to see Ray.”

Preziosi Jr. considered the actor, who died Thursday on the age of 67, an expensive friend who never forgot where he got here from.

“Ray was a particularly loyal, generous, funny, responsible guy. I used to be super shocked after I heard he passed,” Preziosi Jr. told The Post from his home 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 (right).

Preziosi, Jr. on left in bowtie and Ray Liotta in orange on right.Preziosi, Jr. — on the left in bowtie — and Ray Liotta — wearing orange — of their second-grade class photo.

About five years ago, Liotta sent the Preziosi family — currently co-owned by Ronnie and daughter, Gina, 59 — an autographed photo that reads, “I miss the very best pizza on the East Coast!” The framed photo proudly hangs on a wall of Pizza House/Pizza Chef, which like Liotta’s work, draws rave reviews for its thin-crust and margherita pies.

The 2 Jersey Boys followed the identical path through college, attending the University of Miami, where they were roommates for a yr. They made the drive to Miami in Liotta’s circa-1969 orange Mercury.

It was at school that Liotta majored in drama — “he hated math and science” — before moving to the Big Apple, said Preziosi Jr., now a chiropractor.

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

Along with Preziosi Jr., that inner circle included Gene Laguna, an insurance company owner; Jules Geltzeiler, a urologist; Freddy Silverman, a former security industry expert, and Gary Hecker, who became a Beverly Hills attorney.

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

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