Paul Sorvino Dies: ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Godfather of Harlem’ Actor Was 83

Paul Sorvino at the "Star Trek Into Darkness" Blu-Ray and DVD Release Party at California Science Center, on September 10, 2013 in Los Angeles, CA. (Credit: Shutterstock)

Paul Sorvino, an award-winning actor who built a career playing mobsters and authority figures, died Monday. He was 83.

Sorvino had been battling health problems over the past few years and passed away of natural causes at a Mayo Clinic facility in Jacksonville, Florida, his publicist told the Associated Press.

His daughter, Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino, shared a heartfelt tribute to her dad on Twitter.

“My father the great Paul Sorvino has passed. 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,” Mira tweeted Monday.

Related Story‘Elvis’ Actress and Singer Shonka Dukureh Dies a Month After Movie Debut

Paul Sorvino’s career spanned over five decades. He played mob patriarch Paul Cicero in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas (1990) and portrayed Henry Kissinger in the Oliver Stone film Nixon (1995). Among his memorable television roles were NYPD sergeant Phil Cerreta on NBC’s Law & Order and crime boss Frank Costello on Epix’s Godfather of Harlem.

The son of a piano teacher mother and an Italian immigrant father who worked in a robe factory, Sorvino was born in Brooklyn in 1939.

He studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and fell in love with acting. He made his Broadway debut in 1964 in “Bajour,” and appeared in the 1970 film Where’s Poppa?.

He later received critical praise for his role as Phil Romano in the 1972 Broadway play “That Championship Season,” and returned to the role in the 1982 film version alongside Bruce Dern, Stacy Keach, Robert Mitchum and Martin Sheen.

Some of his other noteworthy roles included playing a police chief in Cruising (1980), an Italian American communist in Warren Beatty’s Reds (1981) and mob boss Eddie Valentine in The Rocketeer (1991). He also directed and starred in the film The Trouble with Cali, written by his daughter Amanda Sorvino.

Over the years, he won several awards from film critics groups, and was nominated for a Screen Actors Guild Award for Nixon.

Sorvino had three children from his first marriage, Amanda and actors Mira Sorvino and Michael Sorvino. In 2014, he married political pundit Dee Dee Benkie.

“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,” Dee Dee said in a statement Monday.

One thought on “Paul Sorvino Dies: ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Godfather of Harlem’ Actor Was 83

  1. I just rented his last film yesterday. Sadly, it wasn’t that great. Not because of Sorvino but because of the writing and directing. Oh, it was Once Upon a Time in Queens.

Comments are closed.