Paul Sorvino, ‘Goodfellas’ and ‘Law & Order’ Actor, Dies at 83

Father to actors Michael and Mira Sorvino also starred in “Reds,” “Nixon” and “The Rocketeer”

Paul Sorvino (Getty Images)
Paul Sorvino (Getty Images)

Paul Sorvino, veteran actor and father to actor Michael Sorvino and actress and activist Mira Sorvino, best known as the stoic mobster “Paulie” from Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” has died. He was 83.

Sorvino’s wife Dee Dee announced his death, saying that he had died Monday of natural causes, though he had also suffered from Type 2 diabetes.

“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 Sorvino said in a statement to the press.

Sorvino was a veteran actor of TV and film with over 160 credits to his name. He’s starred in films such as “Reds,” “The Rocketeer,” “Romeo + Juliet,” “Repo! The Genetic Opera” and “Nixon,” where he starred as Henry Kissinger. He also starred in a season of “Law & Order” as NYPD Sergeant Phil Cerreta. And in 2015, Sorvino reunited with the cast of “Goodfellas,” saying that he nearly tried to get out of the project days before shooting began.

“Three days before we were about to shoot, I called my manager and I said ‘Get me out,’” Sorvino said. “‘I’m going to ruin the movie. I’m going to ruin myself. I have no idea what to do.’”

In addition to his acting career, Sorvino is a classically trained opera singer who took 18 years of vocal lessons and studied at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy before getting his start in plays and later on Broadway. His first film role was Carl Reiner’s “Where’s Poppa?,” and he later won acclaim as the star of both the Broadway version and film adaptation of “That Championship Season.”

Sorvino was also an accomplished sculptor, working primarily with bronze and creating models inspired by Greek figures. In 2006, he unveiled some of his work at the Boca Raton Museum of Art, and in 2017, Page Six had reported that he was in talks to be commissioned to create bronze sculptures of both Prince and Whitney Houston.

In December 2017, Mira Sorvino told The New Yorker that Harvey Weinstein had damaged her career after she had rejected some of his advances. Sorvino was aggressive in defending his daughter after the news broke, telling TMZ that he would kill Weinstein if they ever met.

“If I meet him on the street … he oughtta hope that he goes to jail, because if we come across, I think he’ll be lying on the floor somehow, magically,” Sorvino said. “Good for him that he goes, because if not, he has to meet me, and I will kill the motherf–er. Real simple.”

He is survived by his three children, Michael, Mira and Amanda.