Paul Sorvino, an imposing actor whose roles ranged from the mob boss in “Goodfellas” to an early stint on the long-running cop drama “Law & Order,” has died, according to his publicist Roger Neal. He was 83.
Sorvino died on Monday of natural causes with his wife Dee Dee by his side. Dee Dee Sorvino issued a statement through Neal, saying in part: “Our hearts are broken, there will never be another Paul Sorvino.”
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Sorvino earned a Tony nomination for his role in “That Championship Season” (reprising the role in the film version) and appeared in a long list of movies that included portraying Henry Kissinger in “Nixon,” “Dick Tracy,” “Reds,” and “The Rocketeer.”
Sorvino attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and had thoughts of becoming an opera singer before making his Broadway debut in the mid-1960s. His first movie was the comedy “Where’s Poppa,” followed by “The Panic in Needle Park,” opposite Al Pacino.
Sorvino is perhaps best remembered for director Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” as Paul Cicero, the mobster who even in prison retained a passion for cooking and fine cuisine, thinly slicing garlic with a razor blade. (Sorvino and his wife later co-wrote the book “Pinot, Pasta, and Parties.”)
The actor took a role in “Law & Order” as one of the detectives but soon left, citing the limited range of the material.
Sorvino is survived by his wife and three children, including actress Mira Sorvino, and five grandchildren.
Mira Sorvino wrote on Twitter on Monday, “My heart is rent asunder- a life of love and joy and wisdom with him is over. He was the most wonderful father. I love him so much. I’m sending you love in the stars Dad as you ascend.”
By Sandra Gonzalez and Brian Lowry