Paul Sorvino, one of Hollywood’s longtime go-to actors for Mafia bosses and imposing authority figures, has passed away at the age of 83. Sorvino’s publicist confirmed that the actor died on Monday 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,” Sorvino’s wife Dee Dee said in a statement
Since the early 1960s, Sorvino could be seen performing lead roles on the stage and on screen. Initially a theatre actor, Sorvino won praise for his roles in productions like Bajour and That Championship Season. Starting in the early 1970s, Sorvino decided to expand his scope into the world of film and television.
Sorvino’s established screen persona was first developed when he took on the role of real-life former Italian-American communist Louis C. Fraina in Robert Redford’s 1981 drama Reds. From there, Sorvino became a highly sought-after character actor, specialising in Mafia-related roles in films like The Stuff and A Fine Mess.
In 1990, Sorvino would appear in his most iconic film role as Brooklyn mafia caporegime Paulie Cicero in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas. Sorvino followed the film with an appearance in Oliver Stone’s Nixon as secretary of state Henry Kissinger, helping the cast of the film garner a Screen Actor Guild nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
A year after his appearance in Goodfellas, Sorvino would land his other most iconic role in the second season of the Law & Order television show. As Seargent Philip Cerreta, Sorvino appeared in 31 episodes of the series between the second and third seasons of the show.
After his run on Law & Order, Sorvino continued to appear in television and film, including landing roles in The Rocketeer, Romeo + Juliet, Bulworth, For the Love of Money, Rules Don’t Apply, Elementary, and The Goldbergs. At the time of his death, Sorvino had a recurring role as the Luciano family mob boss Frank Costello on the series Godfather of Harlem.
Sorvino had three children from his first marriage, including actress Mira Sorvino, who won an Academy Award in 1996 for her role in Mighty Aphrodite. Sorvino’s other children include director Amanda Sorvino and actor Michael Sorvino.