Iconic Hollywood actor Paul Sorvino, of ‘Goodfellas’ fame, dead at 83

Famed Hollywood character actor Paul Sorvino, perhaps best known for his role as mafia boss Paul Cicero in Goodfellas, died Monday at the age of 83, The Daily Wire reported.

Sorvino’s death was revealed by his publicist, Roger Neal, who said the actor had passed away due to natural causes.

DeeDee Sorvino, the actor’s wife, said in a statement, “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.”

His daughter, Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino, wrote on Twitter, “My father the great Paul Sorvino has passed. My heart is rent asunder- a life of love and joy and wisdom with him is over. He was the most wonderful father. I love him so much. I’m sending you love in the stars Dad as you ascend.”

Lengthy career as an actor and singer

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sorvino was born in April 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, and began singing as a child but shifted his focus more toward acting due to significant asthma that he suffered.

That was an affliction he later learned to control and which prompted him to found the Sorvino Children’s Asthma Foundation and write a book in 1985 about his struggle.

He received formal training in acting and singing at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy and eventually launched his career with his debut on Broadway in the 1964 musical comedy “Bajour.”

Sorvino eventually began to appear in movies in 1970 and TV shows in 1975, and according to his IMDb page, earned credit for appearances in at least 172 different films or TV series.

His IMDb page also documented how he had won 15 different awards and was nominated for four more in recognition of his acting abilities.

Almost never played his most famous role

To be sure, there were dozens of roles portrayed by Sorvino over the decades for which he gained fame, including a season on NBC’s Law & Order as Det. Phil Cerreta, but arguably none were as big as his portrayal of the caring but deadly serious mob boss Paul Cicero in Goodfellas.

Ironically, Sorvino revealed in a 2015 interview that he almost backed out of that part shortly before filming began due to the fact that he’d never before played a character with such “lethality” and didn’t believe he was capable, only to eventually discover that he could indeed achieve a “deadly soulless look” and appear “overwhelmingly threatening” as a bad guy.

“There are many people who think I’m actually a gangster or a mafioso, largely because of Goodfellas,” Sorvino once said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “I suppose that’s the price you pay for being effective in a role.”

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