Paul Sorvino

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Paul Sorvino
Paul Sorvino Shankbone 2010 NYC.jpg
Sorvino at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival
Paul Anthony Sorvino

(1939-04-13) April 13, 1939 (age 82)
  • Actor
  • opera singer
  • businessman
  • writer
  • sculptor
Years active1956–present
Lorraine Davis
(m. 1966; div. 1988)

Vanessa Arico
(m. 1991; div. 1996)

Dee Dee Benkie
(m. 2014)
Children3; including Mira and Michael

Paul Anthony Sorvino (/sɔːrˈvn/, Italian: [sorˈviːno]; born April 13, 1939) is an American actor, opera singer, businessman, writer, and sculptor.[1] He often portrays authority figures on both sides of the law and is known for his roles as Paulie Cicero (based on Paul Vario) in the 1990 gangster film Goodfellas, and NYPD Sergeant Phil Cerreta on the TV series Law & Order. He held supporting roles in A Touch of Class, Reds, The Rocketeer, Nixon and, Romeo + Juliet. He is the father of actors Mira Sorvino and Michael Sorvino.

Early life[edit]

Sorvino was born and raised in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York City.[2] His mother, Angela Maria Mattea (née Renzi), was a homemaker and piano teacher, who was born in Connecticut, of Italian (Molisan) descent. His father, Ford Sorvino, was an Italian (Neapolitan) immigrant who worked in a robe factory as a foreman.[3][4] He attended Lafayette High School (where he was classmates with painter Peter Max) and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.[5]


Paul Sorvino in 2008

He began his career as a copywriter in an advertising agency, where he worked with John Margeotes, founder of Margeotes, Fertitta, and Weiss. He took 18 years of voice lessons. While attending The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, he decided to go into the theatre. He made his Broadway debut in the 1964 musical Bajour, and six years later he appeared in his first film, Carl Reiner's Where's Poppa? starring George Segal and Ruth Gordon. In 1971, he played a supporting role in Jerry Schatzberg's critically acclaimed The Panic in Needle Park starring Al Pacino and Kitty Winn.

He received critical praise for his performance as Phil Romano in Jason Miller's 1972 Broadway play That Championship Season, a role he repeated in the 1982 film version. He appeared in another George Segal-starring film with a prominent supporting role in the Academy Award-winning romantic comedy A Touch of Class (1973). In It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy (1974), he played Harry Walters, a real estate salesman randomly picked up by a beautiful woman (JoAnna Cameron) and raped at gunpoint as a prank. He also appeared in the 1976 Elliott Gould/Diane Keaton vehicle I Will, I Will... for Now. He starred in the weekly series We'll Get By (1975, as George Platt), Bert D'Angelo/Superstar (1976, in the title role), and The Oldest Rookie (1987, as Detective Ike Porter). He also directed Wheelbarrow Closers, a 1976 Broadway play by Louis La Russo II, which starred Danny Aiello.

In 1981, Sorvino played the role of Italian-American Communist Louis C. Fraina in Warren Beatty's film Reds. He appeared in Larry Cohen's 1985 horror film The Stuff as a reclusive militia leader, alongside future Law & Order co-star Michael Moriarty. Sorvino also helped found the American Stage Company, a group that launched several successful Off-Broadway shows, in 1986.[6]

In 1991, he took on the role of Sergeant Phil Cerreta (replacing actor George Dzundza in a new role) on the popular series Law & Order. Sorvino initially was excited about the role but would leave after 29 episodes, citing the exhausting schedule demanded by the filming of the show, a need to broaden his horizons, and the desire to preserve his vocal cords for singing opera. Sorvino's exit from the series came in an episode in which Sgt. Cerreta is shot in the line of duty and transferred to an administrative position in another precinct.[7] He was replaced on the show by Jerry Orbach (as Detective Lennie Briscoe).

In 1993, Sorvino subbed for the late Raymond Burr in a Perry Mason TV movie. He earlier appeared as Bruce Willis' father in the weekly series Moonlighting and the "Lamont" counterpart in the never-aired original pilot for Sanford and Son. Some of his most notable film roles were caporegime Paul Cicero in Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990) and Henry Kissinger in Oliver Stone's Nixon (1995). In addition to Goodfellas, Sorvino also played mob bosses Eddie Valentine in The Rocketeer and Tony Morolto in The Firm.

Sorvino founded the Paul Sorvino Asthma Foundation, intending to build asthma centers for children and adults across the United States.[8] In 1998, he narrated the series "The Big House" for The History Channel. In 1999, he directed and again starred in (albeit playing a different role) a TV version of That Championship Season.

He also lent his voice in Hey Arnold!: The Movie as the main antagonist Mr. Scheck, the CEO of Future Tech Industries who wants to convert Arnold's neighborhood into a huge shopping mall.

From 2000 to 2002, he had a starring role as Frank DeLucca in the television drama That's Life. He also starred in the comedy Still Standing as Al Miller, father to Bill (Mark Addy).

He filmed The Trouble with Cali in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area of Pennsylvania. He directed and starred in the film, and his daughter Mira also starred in the film.

Sorvino played GeneCo founder Rotti Largo in the 2008 musical film Repo! The Genetic Opera. Working with Repo! director Darren Lynn Bousman again, Sorvino plays God[9] in The Devil's Carnival, a short film screened on tour beginning in April 2012.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Sorvino lives between Los Angeles and Madison, Indiana. He has three children: Mira, Michael, and Amanda from his first marriage with Lorraine Davis. Mira Sorvino is an Academy Award winner and his son Michael Sorvino is an actor and graduate of Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.

On January 17, 2007, news reports detailed that he displayed a gun in front of Daniel Snee, an ex-boyfriend of his daughter Amanda after the man pounded on her hotel door and made threats. Amanda testified that Snee threatened to kill her at a hotel on January 3 in Stowe, Vermont. She said she locked herself in the bathroom and called both the police and her father. Her 67-year-old father showed up before police, she testified. When police arrived, the young man was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct, she said. As a deputy sheriff in Pennsylvania, Sorvino was legally authorized to carry a gun in different states. He did not point the gun at Snee or threaten him.[11]

In March 2008, Sorvino and his daughter Amanda lobbied with the Americans Against Horse Slaughter in Washington, D.C., for Congress and the Senate to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S311/HR503). The Sorvinos run a private horse rescue in Gilbert, Pennsylvania.[12]

He is also an accomplished sculptor, specializing in cast bronze. In December 2008 his sculpture of the late playwright Jason Miller was unveiled in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In addition, he guest-starred on the 2008 album of Neapolitan singer Eddy Napoli, Napulitanata, performing a duet of the song "Luna Rossa."[13]

In 2007, Sorvino launched Paul Sorvino Foods to market a range of pasta sauces. Based on his mother's recipe, the product appeared in supermarkets in the northeastern United States in late 2009.[14] Three years later, Sorvino became part owner in Janson-Beckett Cosmeceuticals.[15]

In December 2014, Sorvino married political pundit Dee Dee Benkie after meeting her on Your World With Neil Cavuto.[16]

In January 2018, Sorvino learned that Harvey Weinstein was alleged to have sexually harassed his daughter, Mira. "He's going to go to jail. Oh yeah. That son of a bitch," Sorvino told TMZ. "Good for him if he goes, because if not, he has to meet me. And I will kill the motherfucker. Real simple. If I had known it, he would not be walking. He'd be in a wheelchair. This pig will get his comeuppance. The law will get him. He's going to go to jail and die in jail."[17]



Year Title Role Notes
1970 Where's Poppa? Owner of 'Gus & Grace's Home'
1971 The Panic in Needle Park Samuels
Cry Uncle! Coughing Cop
Made for Each Other Gig's Father
1972 Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues Taxi Driver
1973 A Touch of Class Walter Menkes
The Day of the Dolphin Curtis Mahoney
1974 The Gambler 'Hips'
1975 Angel and Big Joe Joe 'Big Joe'
1976 I Will, I Will... for Now Lou Springer
1977 Oh, God! Reverend Willie Williams
1978 Bloodbrothers 'Chubby' De Coco
Slow Dancing in the Big City Lou Friedlander
The Brink's Job 'Jazz' Maffie
1979 Lost and Found Reilly
1980 Cruising Captain Edelsen
1981 Reds Louis Fraina
1982 Melanie Walter
I, the Jury Detective Pat Chambers
That Championship Season Phil Romano
1983 Off the Wall Warden Nicholas F. Castle
1985 The Stuff Colonel Malcolm Grommett Spears
1986 A Fine Mess Tony Pazzo
1986 Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter Gino
1990 Dick Tracy 'Lips' Manlis
Goodfellas Paul Cicero
1991 The Rocketeer Eddie Valentine
Age Isn't Everything Max
1993 The Firm Tommie Morolto Uncredited
1995 Cover Me J.J. Davis
Nixon Henry Kissinger
1996 Love Is All There Is Piero Malacici
Romeo + Juliet Fulgencio Capulet
1997 American Perfekt Sheriff Frank Noonan
Money Talks Guy Cipriani
Most Wanted CIA Deputy Director Ken Rackmill
1998 Bulworth Graham Crockett
Knock Off Harry Johanson
2000 Longshot Laszlo Pryce
The Amati Girls Joe
2001 Perfume Lorenzo Mancini
See Spot Run Sonny Talia
Witches to the North Gallio
2002 Ciao America Antonio Primavera
Hey Arnold!: The Movie Alphonse Perrier du von Scheck Voice role
2003 The Cooler Buddy Stafford
Mambo Italiano Gino Barberini
2004 Mr. 3000 Gus Panas
2006 Mr. Fix It Wally
2007 Greetings from the Shore 'Catch' Turner
2008 Last Hour Maitre Steinfeld
Carnera - The Walking Mountain Ledudal
Repo! The Genetic Opera Rotti Largo
2009 The Wild Stallion Nolan
2011 Kill the Irishman Tony 'Fat Tony' Salerno
2012 The Trouble with Cali Ivan
The Devil's Carnival God
For the Love of Money 'Red'
Divorce Invitation Daniel Miller
2013 How Sweet It Is Mike 'Big Mike' Cicero
Once Upon a Time in Queens Joe Scoleri
The Immigrant Yeshiva Principal
2015 Hybrids The Count
Careful What You Wish For Sheriff Jack 'Big Jack'
No Deposit Alfie
Sicilian Vampire Jimmy Scambino
Cold Deck 'Chips'
2016 Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival God
Detours Joe DiMaria
The Bronx Bull Giuseppe LaMotta
The Red Maple Leaf Joseph Palermo
Rules Don't Apply Vernon Scott
A Winter Rose 'Skippy'
2017 Lost Cat Corona Uncle Sam
The Last Poker Game Phil
Undercover Grandpa Giovanni
2018 Acts of Desperation Chief Lassiter
2021 The Birthday Cake Uncle Carmine


Year Title Role Notes
1974 It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy Harry Walters Television film
1975 We'll Get By George Platt Main role, 13 episodes
1976 The Streets of San Francisco Sergeant Bert D'Angelo 1 episode
1976 Bert D'Angelo/Superstar Main role, 11 episodes
1977 Seventh Avenue Dave Shaw Miniseries, 3 episodes
1979 Dummy Lowell Myers Television film
1983 Chiefs Sheriff Skeeter Willis Miniseries, 3 episodes
1985 Surviving: A Family in Crisis Harvey Television film
1985 Wes Craven's Chiller Reverend Penny Television film
1986 Moonlighting David Addison Sr. 1 episode
1987–1988 The Oldest Rookie Detective Ike Porter Main role, 14 episodes
1989 Murder She Wrote Al Sidell 1 episode
1991–1992 Law & Order Sergeant Phil Cerreta Main role, 31 episodes
1994 Star Trek: The Next Generation Nikolai Rozhenko 1 episode
1994 Parallel Lives Ed Starling Television film
1994 Without Consent Dr. Winslow Television film
1996 Escape Clause Lieutenant Gil Farrand Television film
1997 Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way Joe Torre Television film
1998 Houdini Blackburn Television film
1998 The Big House Narrator 16 episodes
1999 That Championship Season Coach Television film, also director
2000 Cheaters Constantine Kiamos Television film
2000 The Thin Blue Lie Frank Rizzo Television film
2000–2002 That's Life Frank DeLucca Main role, 36 episodes
2004–2006 Still Standing Al Miller 4 episodes
2009 Doc West Sheriff Roy Basehart Television film
2009 Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe Santa Claus Television film
2012 Imaginary Friend Jonathan Television film
2012 Jersey Shore Shark Attack Mayor Palantine Television film
2014 Elementary Robert Pardillo 1 episode
2014 The Goldbergs Ben 'Pop-Pop' Goldberg 1 episode
2016 Grandfathered Jack Martino 1 episode
2017 Bad Blood Nicolo Rizzuto Main role, 6 episodes
2017 Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders Dr. Dominico Scarpa 1 episode
2019–Present Godfather of Harlem Frank Costello Main role, 11 episodes


  1. ^ Steyn, Mark (host) (7 January 2017). "The Mark Steyn Show Season 1—Episode 1". The Mark Steyn Show Season. Season 1. Episode 1. CRTV.
  2. ^ "On This Day in History, April 13: A 'Goodfella' From Bensonhurst". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. 2012-04-13. Retrieved 2019-02-26.
  3. ^ "Paul Sorvino Biography (1939-)". Retrieved 2007-12-31.
  4. ^ Julia Szabo (2003-06-01). "Partying With the Pets". New York Post. Retrieved 2015-01-20.
  5. ^ "Paul Sorvino Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved 2007-12-31.
  6. ^ Klein, Alvin (March 19, 2000). "JERSEY FOOTLIGHTS; Executive Producer Search Is on". The New York Times. By contrast, the theater was founded with a flourish in 1986, mostly because the actor Paul Sorvino, its first artistic head, lived in Teaneck at the time, opened his home to fund-raising parties, starred in the opening play (All The King's Men) and directed The Diary of Anne Frank, in which his daughter, Amanda Sorvino, played the title role.
  7. ^ Courrier, Kevin; Green, Susan (November 20, 1999). Law & Order: The Unofficial Companion. Los Angeles, California: Renaissance Books. pp. 123–125. ISBN 1-58063-108-8.
  8. ^ "Paul Sorvino Roles". Movie Info. Retrieved 2015-01-20.
  9. ^ "The Devil's Carnival". Retrieved 2012-11-05.
  10. ^ "Two Tickets To 'The Devil's Carnival' Please". FEARnet. March 6, 2012. Retrieved April 11, 2012.
  11. ^ "'Goodfellas' actor, as deputy sheriff, was entitled to weapon". January 17, 2007. Archived from the original on March 25, 2007.
  12. ^ Koch, Denise (March 5, 2008). "Horse Lovers Ask Congress To Stop Horse Slaughter". Archived from the original on March 8, 2008.
  13. ^ eddynapolispa (2008-09-01). "Eddy Napoli SpA & Paul Sorvino - Luna Rossa". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
  14. ^ "'Goodfella' Paul Sorvino dishes up own pasta sauce based mom's recipe", New York Daily News, January 9, 2010
  15. ^ "Brand News". GCI. June 2010. p. 6.
  16. ^ "Paul Sorvino, Dee Dee Benkie Wed". Fox News. 2015-01-08. Retrieved 2015-01-20.
  17. ^ Quackenbush, Casey (January 4, 2018). "Harvey Weinstein Was Accused of Harassing Paul Sorvino's Daughter. Now Sorvino Is Threatening to Kill Him". Time. New York City: Meredith Corporation.

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