Paul Sorvino, an imposing actor specializing in playing crooks and cops like Paulie Cicero in “Goodfellas” and the NYPD sergeant Phil Cerretta in “Law & Order,” has died. He was 83.
His publicist Roger Neal said he died Monday morning in Indiana of natural causes.
“Our hearts are broken, there will never be another Paul Sorvino, he was the love of my life, and one of the greatest performers to ever grace the screen and stage,” his wife, Dee Dee Sorvino, said in a statement.
In his over 50 years in the entertainment business, Sorvino was a mainstay in films and television, playing an Italian American communist in Warren Beatty’s “Reds,” Henry Kissinger in Oliver Stone’s “Nixon” and mob boss Eddie Valentine in “The Rocketeer.” He would often say that while he might be best known for playing gangsters, his real passions were poetry, painting and opera.
Born in Brooklyn in 1939 to a mother who taught piano and father who was a foreman in a robe factory, Sorvino was musically inclined from a young age and attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York where he fell for the theater. He made his Broadway debut in 1964 in “Bajour” and his film debut in Carl Reiner’s “Where’s Poppa?” in 1970.
Sorvino had three children from his first marriage, including Academy Award-winning actor Mira Sorvino. When he learned that his daughter had been among the women allegedly sexually harassed and blacklisted by Harvey Weinstein in the midst of the #MeToo reckoning, he told TMZ that if he had known, Weinstein, “Would not be walking. He’d be in a wheelchair.”