West News Wire: Paul Sorvino, a commanding actor who excelled at portraying criminals and law enforcement officials such as NYPD sergeant Phil Cerreta on “Law & Order” and Paulie Cicero in “Goodfellas,” has passed away. He was 83.

At the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, he passed away on Monday morning from natural causes, according to his spokesperson Roger Neal. Sorvino had struggled with health concerns in recent years.

His daughter Mira Sorvino posted an homage to him on Twitter, saying, “My father, the great Paul Sorvino, has died. A life of love, laughter, and wisdom with him is finished, and it has torn my heart to pieces. He was the best parent ever. I really do love him. Dad, I’m sending you love as you soar in the heavens.

Many responded to Mira Sorvino’s tweet with condolences and sympathy. Jane Lynch wrote, “Your father sang ‘Danny Boy’ for my Aunt Marge at The Chicago Film Critics Awards in 2012. We all cried.” Rob Reiner, who appeared in one of his father’s films with Sorvino, said he was sending love. Lorraine Bracco tweeted two broken heart emojis.

In his over 50 years in the entertainment business, Sorvino was a mainstay in films and television, playing an Italian American communist in Warren Beatty’s “Reds,” Henry Kissinger in Oliver Stone’s “Nixon” and mob boss Eddie Valentine in “The Rocketeer.” He would often say that while he might be best known for playing gangsters (and his very good system for slicing garlic) his real passions were poetry, painting and opera.

Born in Brooklyn in 1939 to a mother who taught piano and father who was a foreman in a robe factory, Sorvino was musically inclined from a young age and attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York where he fell for the theater. He made his Broadway debut in 1964 in “Bajour” and his film debut in Carl Reiner’s “Where’s Poppa?” in 1970.

With his 6-foot-4-inch stature, Sorvino made an impactful presence no matter the medium. In the 1970s, he acted alongside Al Pacino in “The Panic in Needle Park” and with James Caan in “The Gambler,” reteamed with Reiner in “Oh, God!” and was among the ensemble in William Friedkin’s bank robbery comedy “The Brink’s Job.” In John G. Avildsen’s “Rocky” follow-up “Slow Dancing in the Big City,” Sorvino got to play a romantic lead and use his dance training opposite professional ballerina Anne Ditchburn.

Read More
Teddy Ray, actor and comedian dead, aged 32

He was especially prolific in the 1990s, kicking off the decade playing Lips in Beatty’s “Dick Tracy” and Paul Cicero in Martin Scorsese’s “Goodfellas,” who was based on the real-life mobster Paul Vario, and 31 episodes on Dick Wolf’s “Law & Order.” He followed those with roles in “The Rocketeer,” “The Firm,” “Nixon,” which got him a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination, and Baz Luhrmann’s “Romeo + Juliet” as Juliet’s father, Fulgencio Capulet. Beatty would turn to Sorvino often, enlisting him again for his political satire “Bulworth,” which came out in 1998, and his 2016 Hollywood love letter “Rules Don’t Apply.”

Sorvino had three children from his first marriage, including Academy Award-winning actor Mira Sorvino. He also directed and starred in a film written by his daughter Amanda Sorvino and featuring his son Michael Sorvino.

When he learned that Mira Sorvino had been among the women allegedly sexually harassed and blacklisted by Harvey Weinstein in the midst of the #MeToo reckoning, he told TMZ that if he had known, Weinstein, “Would not be walking. He’d be in a wheelchair.”

He was proud of his daughter and cried when she won the best supporting actress Oscar for “Mighty Aphrodite” in 1996. He told the Los Angeles Times that night that he didn’t have the words to express how he felt.

“They don’t exist in any language that I’ve ever heard well, maybe Italian,” he said.

But he wanted to be seen for more than what he was on screen and took particular pride in his singing. In 1996, “Paul Sorvino: An Evening of Song” was broadcast on television as a part of a PBS fundraising campaign. Songs performed included “Torna A Sorriento,” “Guaglione,” “O Sole Mio,” “The Impossible Dream” and “Mama.”

“I’m a pop singer in the sense Mario Lanza was,” Sorvino said in an interview the Tampa Tribune. “It astonishes me that no American male singer sings with a full voice anymore. Where have all the tenors gone?”

The weight of his voice, he thought, made it difficult to train.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here