Paul Sorvino passed away on Monday from natural causes, says his spokesperson. He was known for his work on “Goodfellas,” “Law & Order,” and other stage and screen productions. He was 83. DeeDee Sorvino, his wife, wrote on Instagram, “I am very devastated. The most lovely man that has ever lived, the love of my life, has passed away. My heart is broken. In addition to playing Sgt. Frank Cerreta on NBC’s “Law & Order,” Mafia don Pail Cicero in Martin Scorsese’s well-known gangster movie “Goodfellas,” and Kissinger in Oliver Stone’s “Nixon,” Sorvino, the father of actor Mira Sorvino, was arguably best recognised for these roles.
“My father, the great Paul Sorvino, has passed away,” tweeted Mira Sorvino. A life of love, laughter, and wisdom with him is finished, and it has torn my heart to pieces. He was the best parent ever. I really do love him. Dad, I’m sending you love as you climb through the stars. In recent years, Sorvino has consistently worked, earning over 170 credits and playing dozens of parts, including cameos in “Godfather of Harlem,” “Bad Blood,” “Undercover Grandpa,” “The Goldbergs,” and “Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.”
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He was one of Lips Manlis’ eclectic cast of extensively costumed antagonists that the director and actor of the highly stylized crime thriller “Dick Tracy” put together. In three of Beatty’s five films as a director, Sorvino appeared as the CEO of a sizable insurance business seeking a political favour from the senator played by Beatty. He also appeared in the disastrous “Rules Don’t Apply” and the Communist history drama “Reds.”
Sorvino portrayed Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s secretary of state and confidant, in Oliver Stone’s “Nixon,” and the following year, he took on the role of Fulgencio Capulet, the family patriarch, in Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of “Romeo & Juliet,” which was set in Miami. In 1991’s “The Rocketeer,” he also plays a mob lord who is mercilessly pursuing the futuristic jet pack that serves as the plot’s focal point.
When playwright Jason Miller transformed his Pulitzer Prize-winning play “That Championship Season” into a motion picture in 1982, actor Lee Sorvino reprised the part of Phil Romano that he had played on Broadway in 1974. The former basketball coach Robert Mitchum, as well as Bruce Dern, Stacy Keach, and Martin Sheen, played other team members who gathered for a reunion that would actually reveal a lot of unhappiness. Vincent D’Onofrio appeared in the 1999 TV adaption, which Sorvino directed.
The actor was given the uncommon opportunity to play a romantic lead in John Avildsen’s 1978 film “Slow Dancing in the Big City,” which he helmed immediately after “Rocky.” However, the script for the story of a newspaper columnist who is a big lug (but one who is famous around New York), who is paired with a dying dancer played by Anne Ditchburn, was unquestionably ruined by sentimentality.
Most of the time, Sorvino played supporting roles in his numerous films, such as “A Touch of Class,” in which he costarred with Glenda Jackson and George Segal, and “The Brink’s Job,” a 1979 heist movie directed by William Friedkin. According to Roger Ebert, Sorvino’s portrayal of a lawyer in the sex farce “I Will… I Will… For Now,” which starred Elliott Gould and Diane Keaton, was “the only good thing in it.”
Sorvino was forced to portray a crime leader once more in the critically panned 2008 film “Repo! The Genetic Musical,” one who deals in human organs, but the part did give him the chance to perform arias on the big screen. The actor appeared in television at least as frequently as he did on the big screen. After George Dzundza left, Sorvino briefly joined the cast of “Law & Order,” appearing for one season (1991–1992) as Sgt. Frank Cerreta, Det. Mike Logan’s partner.
The actor played Dr. Nikolai Rozhenko, the foster brother of the human Worf the Klingon, in a 1994 episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.” He appeared as a guest on “Moonlighting” in 1986, portraying David Addison’s father, played by Bruce Willis. LeVar Burton played a deaf-mute who had never learned to write or sign, and as a result, had no way to communicate or defend himself when he was wrongfully accused of murder. Until a sympathetic, hearing-impaired attorney played by Sorvino took his case, however, Sorvino gave a moving performance to go along with Burton’s.
In addition to his work on Law & Order, Sorvino starred in a number of series that had short runs. These included the CBS sitcom “We’ll Get By,” which Alan Alda created in 1975, “Bert D’Angelo/Superstar,” in which he played a San Francisco cop, and the CBS crime drama “The Oldest Rookie,” which aired from 1987 to 1988.
Paul Anthony Sorvino was born to Italian Americans in Brooklyn. He was originally pursuing a career as an opera singer and spoke Italian with ease. In addition to studying with acting guru Sanford Meisner, he first experimented with acting while attending the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. Sorvino earned a career performing at charity events in the early 1960s.
In the 1964 production of the musical “Bajour,” the actor made his Broadway debut. The next year, he made an appearance in the comedy “Mating Dance”; unsure of whether he wanted to pursue acting further, he took a job as an executive at an advertising agency. He co-starred in “That Championship Season” on Broadway in 1974 before taking the lead in Murray Schisgal’s “An American Millionaire” the following year. The Broadway production of “Wheelbarrow Closers,” directed by Sorvino in 1976, had a short run.
In tiny appearances in “Where’s Poppa?” in 1970 and “The Panic in Needle Park” the following year, Sorvino made his acting debut. His daughter Amanda Sorvino wrote the script for the independent movie “The Trouble With Cali,” which he directed in 2012. The actor established the Sorvino Asthma Foundation and wrote a best-selling book titled “How to Become a Former Asthmatic” since his severe asthma made it more challenging for him to pursue a singing career. Sorvino leaves behind his wife, two daughters, Mira and Amanda, as well as a son, Michael, and five grandchildren.