‘My heart is rent asunder’: Goodfellas star Paul Sorvino dies, age 83

Jul 26, 2022
Sorvino's most notable role was mobster Paul Cicero, who had a passion for cooking, in Martin Scorcese's Goodfellas in 1990. Source: Getty Images.

Hollywood is mourning yet another acting legend after Paul Sorvino, best known as mobster Paulie Cicero in Goodfellas, passed away at the age of 83 on Monday, July 25.

Sorvino’s publicist Roger Neal said the actor died at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida of natural causes with his wife Dee Dee reportedly by his side. Dee Dee issued a statement following her beloved husband’s passing.

“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,” she said.

Sorvino’s daughter, fellow actress Mira Sorvino, took to Twitter to express her grief over the “most wonderful father”.

Born on April 13, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, Sorvino attended The American Musical and Dramatic Academy where he made the choice to go into theatre making his Broadway debut in the 1964 musical Bajour.

He appeared in his first film in Carl Reiner’s Where’s Poppa in 1970 alongside George Segal and Ruth Gordon. Sorvino then took on a supporting role in Jerry Schatzberg’s The Panic in Needle Park in 1971, the film starred Hollywood icon Al Pacino and received critical acclaim.

Critical praise soon followed for his performance as Phil Romano in Jason Miller’s 1972 Broadway play That Championship Season. He secured a prominent supporting role in Academy Award-winning romantic comedy A Touch of Class in 1973 and tried his hand at directing in the 1976 Broadway play Wheelbarrow Closers in 1976.

However, it was in the 1990s that Sorvino played some of his most notable roles including mobster Paul Cicero, who had a passion for cooking, in Martin Scorcese’s Goodfellas in 1990 and Sergeant Phil Cerreta on the popular series Law & Order in 1991.

Sorvino also had prominent roles as Italian-American Communist Louis C. Fraina in Warren Beatty’s film Reds. He also appeared as a reclusive militia leader in Larry Cohen’s 1985 horror film The Stuff, Henry Kissinger in Oliver Stone’s Nixon in 1995, and mob boss Eddie Valentine in The Rocketeer.

Following news of Sorvino’s passing, the entertainment world took to social media to share their grief over the loss of the “magnificent” actor.

American film and television actress Lorraine Bracco offered her “sincere condolences” to Sorvino’s family.

Author, activist and actress Marlee Matlin felt “fortunate” that she had the “chance to work with the great Paul Sorvino”.

Seinfeld star Jason Alexander also took to Twitter to pay tribute to “the amazing Paul Sorvino”.

The Karate Kid star Ralph Macchio shared that he “had the pleasure of working with and getting to know” Sorvino.

New York Magazine and Huffington Post contributor Yashar Ali lamented the death of Sorvino so soon after the passing of fellow Goodfellas actor Ray Liotta in May and fellow on-screen tough guy James Caan earlier this month.

Liotta passed away in his sleep at the of age 67 while filming in the Caribbean nation of the Dominican Republic. Caan, the legendary actor best known for his role as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, died on Wednesday, July 6 at the age of 82 from a heart attack.

Sorvino is survived by his wife Dee Dee and daughter Mira, his son Michael, daughter Amanda as well as his five grandchildren.

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