JACKSONVILLE, FL (CelebrityAccess) — Actor Paul Sorvino, best known for his roles in films such as Goodfellas and the long-running television series Law & Order, has died. He was 83.
Sorvino’s publicist, Roger Neal, confirmed his passing to the New York Times, stating that he died at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, after suffering from undisclosed health issues over the past several years.
Born in New York, Sorvino came to acting after starting his career as a copywriter in advertising. While attending The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, he decided to go into theater and made his Broadway debut in the 1964 musical Bajour.
His debut on the big screen came six years later after he was cast in a small role in Carl Reiner’s 1970 black comedy Where’s Poppa.
Sorvino’s breakout role came the following year when he was cast as the father in Robert B. Bean’s romantic comedy Made for Each Other.
In 1990, he memorably portrayed the mob captain Paul Cicero in Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic Goodfellas, a role which Sorvino said did not come naturally to him. During a cast reunion in 2015, he told interviewer Jon Stewart that he almost walked away from the role until he managed to perfect Pauly’s menacing stare.
Sorvino was also cast as Sergeant Phil Cerreta (replacing actor George Dzundza in a new role) in the long-running television series “Law & Order” but dropped out of the series after just 29 episodes, citing the work schedule and wishing to preserve his voice for opera roles.
Sorvino was also an accomplished sculptor, specializing in cast bronze and has numerous sculptures on display, including the late playwright Jason Miller which was unveiled in Scranton, Pennsylvania in 2008.
Sorvino was married twice – first to Lorraine Davis, with whom he had three children, including actor Mia Sorvino. In December 2014, Sorvino married a second time to political pundit Dee Dee Benkie after meeting her on Your World With Neil Cavuto, according to Fox News.