Paul Sorvino, best known for his role as Paul “Big Paulie” Cicero in the Academy Award-nominated Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas, has passed away at age 83.
News of his passing was shared to the press by his publicist Roger Neal in a statement written by Sorvino’s wife Dee Dee which said, “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.”
Sorvino died peacefully on Monday of natural causes with his wife Dee Dee by his side at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, after suffering from various health issues for several years.
She also shared a tribute to her late husband in an Instagram post confirming his passing:
His daughter, Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino also shared news of his passing on Twitter:
Paul Anthony Sorvino was born April 13, 1939, in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. Sorvino originally had his heart set on a life as an opera singer. He was exposed to dramatic arts while studying at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. He furthered his studies with Sanford Meisner and eventually made his film debut in Carl Reiner’s Where’s Poppa? In 1970.
Sorvino is probably best known for his role in Goodfellas alongside Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Ray Liotta. He also starred in films like Nixon, Dick Tracy, The Rocketeer, For the Love of Money, That Championship Season, Reds, A Touch of Class and Oh, God! among many others.
His many TV roles included appearances on Moonlighting, Murder, She Wrote, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Elementary, The Goldbergs, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders, as well as a 31-episode run on NBC’s Law & Order, portraying Philip Cerreta.
Sorvino’s Broadway credits include performances in Bajour, That Championship Season, Mating Dance, Skyscraper, and An American Millionaire, and 1976, he directed the short-lived Broadway play Wheelbarrow Closers.
Music was a passion for Sorvino and that dream of his was almost cut short due to his struggles with severe asthma, however, he worked hard at mastering various breathing techniques to manage the illness. He wrote a best-selling book entitled How to Become a Former Asthmatic and started the Sorvino Asthma Foundation based in New York City.
One of his other passion projects was a dog adoption foundation he started with his daughter Amanda in 2002 called Dogfellas, based in Manhattan and Pennsylvania.
Many took to social media to share their tributes:
A true artist at heart, Sorvino wanted to be remembered for more than the characters he played:
“Most people think I’m either a gangster or a cop or something, but the reality is I’m a sculptor, a painter, a best-selling author, many, many things — a poet, an opera singer, but none of them is gangster, but, you know, obviously I sort of have a knack for playing these things,” he said in a 2014 interview with Orlando Weekly.
Sorvino is survived by his wife Dee Dee, three children: Mira, Michael, and Amanda from his first marriage with Lorraine Davis, and five grandchildren.