Paul Sorvino, an actor best known for his work on the television shows Goodfellas and Law and Order, died on Monday at the age of 83. He was recognized for portraying gangsters and police officers on both stage and screen.
While visiting Jacksonville, Florida, with his wife Dee Dee Sorvino on Sunday night, Sorvino became unwell. According to his publicist, Roger Neal, she took him to the neighboring Mayo Clinic, where he passed away early on Monday morning. There was no mention of the reason of death. Neal said that we were all caught off guard.
Dee Dee Sorvino released a statement saying, “Our hearts are devastated.” Paul Sorvino, who was the love of my life and one of the greatest actors to ever grace the cinema and stage, can never be replaced.
The Brooklyn native was a commanding presence on screen and on stage during his entire career. Before he took the film business by storm in the 1970s, Sorvino began his career on Broadway, where he got a Tony nomination for his performance in That Championship Season. He appeared in The Panic in Needle Park with Al Pacino, The Gambler with James Caan, and Wheres Poppa and Oh, God! with Carl Reiner. Sorvino continued to work steadily throughout the 1980s, and in 1995, his performances as Henry Kissinger in Nixon and Fulgencio Capulet in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet catapulted him back to fame.
However, his portrayals of mob boss Paulie Cicero in the film Goodfellas and NYPD sergeant Phil Cerreta on two seasons of Law and Order are most recognizable. Sorvino appeared to be typecast for such oversized parts intended for men who suffered no fools because of his height of 6 feet 2 inches and his stare, which could obliterate any ego.
Sorvino, on the other hand, didn’t perceive himself in nearly that way. Sorvino revealed revealed that he almost skipped the set because he struggled to get the part of the ruthless mafia leader during a Tribeca Film Festival panel discussion honoring the film’s 25th anniversary.
I was absolutely disoriented,” the actor admitted after asking his agency to help him find a way out. When Sorvino turned to face his own reflection in the mirror to adjust his tie, he was startled by his own menacing glare. And I was absolutely terrified by it. He is the one!
That character became his trademark, although Sorvino was clear about the distinction between himself and the character he portrayed on screen. He once admitted to the New York Times that he viewed himself as a poet-warrior.
The actor added in an 2014 interview with Orlando Weekly, “Most people believe I’m either a gangster or a cop or something, but in reality, I’m a sculptor, a painter, a best-selling novelist, many, many things—a poet, an opera singer—but none of them are gangsters. However, obviously, I sort of have a flair for playing these things.
Michael, Amanda, and Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino are the three children Sorvino had with Lorraine Davis before he wed Dee Dee in 2014. In 1996, Paul and Mira experienced a particularly touching public exchange when Mira received the Oscar for best supporting actress for her work in Mighty Aphrodite. She dedicated the prize to her father when she received the trophy, saying, “I love you very much, Dad, and when you give me this medal, you honor my father, Paul Sorvino, who has taught me everything I know about acting.” He started crying.
Favorite Paul Sorvino moment had to be when Mira dedicated her Oscar victory to him and he immediately transformed into a puddle.
@keatonkildebell Keaton Kilde On Monday, July 25, 2022Mira posted on Twitter in response to the news of her father’s passing.
A life of love, laughter, and insight with him is finished, and my heart is torn apart. He was the best parent ever. I really do love him. As you climb, I’m sending you love from the stars, Dad.