Paul Sorvino, a longtime character actor perhaps best known for his role as mob boss Paul Cicero in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas” and as a New York police sergeant on “Law & Order,” died earlier this week at age 83.
His wife, Dee Dee, announced his death on Facebook, writing, “I am completely devastated. The love of my life & the most wonderful man who has ever lived is gone. I am heartbroken.”
Sorvino’s publicist, Roger Neal, said the actor died of natural causes in Florida but “had dealt with health issues over the past few years.” Sorvino was outspoken about his battles with asthma, and he founded the Paul Sorvino Asthma Foundation and wrote a book titled “How to Become a Former Asthmatic.” Sorvino was also a fine operatic tenor as well as a sculptor.
. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Sorvino made his film debut in Carl Reiner’s “Where’s Poppa?” in 1970 and went on to appear in dozens of films over the years, including “A Touch of Class,” “Oh, God!,” “The Brink’s Job,” “Reds,” “That Championship Season,” “Dick Tracy” and “Nixon.”
He will forever be remembered for his role playing mobster Paul Cicero in “Goodfellas,” carving an imposing figure on the screen as he guided the mob upbringing of star Ray Liotta. Liotta died in late May.
He is also well known to TV fans for his work as Sgt. Phil Cerreta on “Law & Order.”
Film buffs will also recall one of Sorvino’s most touching moments, when he sat in the audience during the 1996 Academy Awards ceremony and wept as he watched his daughter, Mira Sorvino, win the supporting-actress prize for her work in “Mighty Aphrodite.” His daughter praised him while on stage, saying he “taught me everything I know about acting.”
“My father, the great Paul Sorvino, has passed,” Mira Sorvino wrote on Twitter 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.”
Paul Sorvino was married three times and had three adult children, Mira, Amanda and Michael, along with five grandchildren.
Neal said Sorvino will be interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.