Paul Anthony Sorvino (//, Italian: [sorˈviːno]; born April 13, 1939) is an American actor, opera singer, businessman, writer, and sculptor. He often portrays authority figures on both sides of the law, and is possibly best 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.
Paul Sorvino at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.
Paul Anthony Sorvino
April 13, 1939
|Residence||Los Angeles, California, U.S.|
Pocono Mountains, Gilbert, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Occupation||Actor, opera singer, businessman, writer, sculptor|
(m. 1966; div. 1988)
(m. 1991; div. 1996)
Denessa Benkie (m. 2014)
Sorvino was born and raised in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn, New York City. 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. He attended Lafayette High School (where he was classmates with painter Peter Max) and the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
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. In It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy, he played Harry Walters, 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. He helped found the American Stage Company, a group that launched several successful Off-Broadway shows, in 1986.
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 was shot in the line of duty and transferred to an administrative position in another precinct. 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, with the goal of building asthma centers for children and adults across the United States. 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 evil CEO of Future Tech Industries who wants to convert Arnold's neighborhood into a huge shopping mall.
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 in The Devil's Carnival, a short film screened on tour beginning in April 2012.
Sorvino lives between Los Angeles and Gilbert, Pennsylvania (in the Pocono Mountains). He has three children: Mira, Michael, and Amanda from his first marriage with Lorraine Davis. His daughter 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, 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 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.
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.
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."
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. Three years later, Sorvino became part owner in Janson-Beckett Cosmeceuticals.
In December 2014, Sorvino married political pundit Denessa Purvis "Dee Dee" Benkie after meeting her on Your World With Neil Cavuto.
In January 2018, Sorvino learned that Harvey Weinstein was alleged to have sexually harassed his daughter, Mira. Sorvino was quoted as saying about Weinstein: “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.”
In 2005, Sorvino partnered with Lackawanna County to film The Trouble with Cali in Scranton, Pennsylvania. An initial investment by the county of $250,000 was followed by a second $250,000 in 2006. The project drew criticism and media attention over the long production time and apparent lack of progress, and the fact that the county did not protect its investment (which was carried out by county commissioners that were under indictment for corruption) with a completion bond. The Trouble with Cali debuted February 21, 2012, at the Sedona Film Festival with former Lackawanna County commissioner Robert Cordaro listed as a producer only four weeks after his 11-year sentencing on public corruption charges.
By March 2015, Sorvino had yet to strike a deal with a distributor for the film. He told local reporters that Lackawanna County would receive the first payouts if the film made money. "I'd like to see that money back myself, but first I want to see (Lackawanna County) paid," he said. "If it makes money, (Lackawanna County) makes money." At that time, he said a Canadian company was interested in distributing the film, but would not give the name of the company. Days later he claimed the deal with this company fell through after negative publicity from the local paper.
- Where's Poppa? (1970) as Owner of 'Gus & Grace's Home'
- The Panic in Needle Park (1971) as Samuels
- Cry Uncle! (1971) as Coughing Cop
- Made for Each Other (1971) as Gig's Father
- Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues (1972) as Taxi Driver
- A Touch of Class (1973) as Walter Menkes
- The Day of the Dolphin (1973) as Curtis Mahoney
- King Lear (1974, TV series) as Gloucester
- Tell Me Where It Hurts (1974, TV movie) as Joe
- Shoot It Black, Shoot It Blue (1974) as Ring
- The Gambler (1974) as Hips
- It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Guy (1974, TV movie) as Harry Walters
- We'll Get By (1975, TV series) as George Platt
- Angel and Big Joe (1975, short) as Big Joe
- I Will, I Will... for Now (1976) as Lou Springer
- The Streets of San Francisco / Superstar (1976, TV series) as Sergeant Bert D'Angelo
- Seventh Avenue (1977, TV Mini-Series) as Dave Shaw
- Oh, God! (1977) as Reverend Willie Williams
- Bloodbrothers (1978) as Louis "Chubby" De Coco
- Slow Dancing in the Big City (1978) as Lou Friedlander
- The Brink's Job (1978) as Jazz Maffie
- Dummy (1979, TV movie) as Lowell Myers
- Lost and Found (1979) as Reilly
- Cruising (1980) as Capt. Edelsen
- Reds (1981) as Louis Fraina
- Melanie (1982) as Walter
- I, the Jury (1982) as Detective Pat Chambers
- A Question of Honor (1982, TV movie) as Carlo Danzie
- That Championship Season (1982) as Phil Romano
- Off the Wall (1983) as Warden Nicholas F. Castle
- Chiefs (1983, TV series) as Sheriff Skeeter Willis
- My Mother's Secret Life (1984, TV movie) as Max
- With Intent to Kill (1984, TV movie) as Doyle Reinecker
- Surviving: A Family in Crisis (1985, TV movie) as Harvey
- Wes Craven's Chiller (1985, TV movie) as Reverend Penny
- The Stuff (1985) as Colonel Malcolm Grommett Spears
- Turk 182! (1985) as Himself
- Betrayed by Innocence (1986, TV movie) as Mike Vogel
- A Fine Mess (1986) as Tony Pazzo
- Moonlighting (1986; TV series - episode 'The Son Also Rises') as David Addison Sr.
- Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter (1986) as Gino
- Very Close Quarters (1986) as Kiril
- Almost Partners (1987, TV movie) as Detective Jack Welder
- The Oldest Rookie (1987–1988, TV series) as Det. Ike Porter
- Murder She Wrote (1989, TV series) as Al Sidell
- Dick Tracy (1990) as Lips Manlis
- Goodfellas (1990) as Paul Cicero
- DMZ (1990)
- Don't Touch My Daughter (1991, TV movie) as Lt. Willman
- The Rocketeer (1991) as Eddie Valentine
- Age Isn't Everything (1991) as Max
- The Last Mile (1992, TV short) as The Tenor
- Law & Order (1991–1992, TV series) as Sgt. Phil Cerreta
- The Firm (1993) as Tommie Morolto (uncredited)
- A Perry Mason Mystery: The Case of the Wicked Wives (1993, TV movie) as Anthony Caruso
- Backstreet Justice (1994) as Captain Phil Giarusso
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (1994, episode "Homeward") as Nikolai Rozhenko
- Parallel Lives (1994, TV movie) as Ed Starling
- Without Consent (aka Trapped and Deceived) (1994, TV movie) as Dr. Winslow
- Cover Me (1995) as J.J. Davis
- Nixon (1995) as Henry Kissinger
- Love Is All There Is (1996) as Piero Malacici
- Escape Clause (1996, TV movie) as Lt. Gil Farrand
- Romeo + Juliet (1996) as Fulgencio Capulet
- Blue Heat: The Case of the Cover Girl Murders (1997, video game) as J.J. Davis
- Dog Watch (1997) as Delgoti
- American Perfekt (1997) as Sheriff Frank Noonan
- Money Talks (1997) as Guy Cipriani
- Men with Guns (1997) as Horace Burke
- Most Wanted (1997) as CIA Deputy Director Kenny Rackmill
- Joe Torre: Curveballs Along the Way (1997, TV movie) as Joe Torre
- Bulworth (1998) as Graham Crockett
- The Big House (1998, TV series) as Narrator
- Knock Off (1998) as Harry Johanson
- Dead Broke (1998) as Harvey
- Houdini (1998, TV movie) as Blackburn
- That Championship Season (1999, TV movie) as Coach (also Director)
- Harlem Aria (1999) as Fabiano Grazzi
- Scriptfellas (1999) as Paulie
- Longshot (2000) as Laszlo Pryce
- Cheaters (2000, TV movie) as Constantine Kiamos
- The Thin Blue Lie (2000, TV movie) as Frank Rizzo
- The Amati Girls (2000) as Joe
- That's Life (2000–2002, TV series) as Frank DeLucca
- The Family Man (2000) as Sydney Potter (scenes deleted)
- Perfume (2001) as Lorenzo Mancini
- See Spot Run (2001) as Sonny Talia
- Plan B (2001) as Joe Maloni
- Longshot (2001) as Laszlo Pryce
- Streghe verso nord (Witches to the North) (2001) as Gallio
- Rhode Island Blue (2001)
- Ciao America (2002) as Antonio Primavera
- Hey Arnold!: The Movie (2002) as Scheck (voice)
- The Cooler (2003) as Buddy Stafford
- Mafia Doctor (2003, TV Movie) as Nicola
- Mambo Italiano (2003) as Gino Barberini
- Mr. 3000 (2004) as Gus Panas
- Goodnight, Joseph Parker (2004) as Charlie
- Still Standing (2004–2006, TV series) as Al Miller
- Mr. Fix It (2006) as Wally
- Greetings from the Shore (2007) as Catch Turner
- Last Hour (2008) as Maitre Steinfeld
- Carnera - The Walking Mountain (2008) as Ledudal
- Repo! The Genetic Opera (2008) as Rotti Largo
- Doc West (2009, TV movie) as Sheriff Roy Basehart
- The Wild Stallion (2009) as Nolan
- Santa Baby 2: Christmas Maybe (2009, TV movie) as Santa Claus
- Mineville (2010) as Jacob Laremy
- Kill the Irishman (2011) as "Fat" Tony Salerno
- God Don't Make the Laws (2011) as Lewis
- Night Club (2011) as Himself
- The Trouble with Cali (2012) as Ivan
- The Devil's Carnival (2012) as God
- Imaginary Friend (2012, TV movie) as Jonathan
- For the Love of Money (2012) as Red
- Jersey Shore Shark Attack (2012, movie) as Mayor Palantine
- Divorce Invitation (2012) as Daniel Miller
- How Sweet It Is (2013) as Big Mike Cicero
- Once Upon a Time in Queens (2013) as Joe Scoleri
- Foreclosed (2013) as Bud
- The Immigrant (2013) as Yeshiva Principal
- Elementary (2014, TV series) as Robert Pardillo
- The Goldbergs (2014, TV series) as Ben "Pop-Pop" Goldberg (1 episode)
- A Place for Heroes (2014) as Vincent
- Hybrids (2015) as The Count
- Careful What You Wish For (2015) as Sheriff Big Jack
- No Deposit (2015) as Alfie
- Sicilian Vampire (2015) as Jimmy Scambino
- Cold Deck (2015) as Chips
- Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival (2016) as God
- Kidnapped in Romania (2016) as Alexandru Damian / Don Ciro
- Falling (2016) as Jim
- The Bandit Hound (2016) as Chief Burton
- Chasing Gold (2016) as Frank
- Detours (2016) as Joe DiMaria
- The Bronx Bull (2016) as Giuseppe LaMotta
- The Brooklyn Banker (2016) as Benny Musacchia
- The Red Maple Leaf (2016) as Joseph Palermo
- Rules Don't Apply (2016) as Vernon Scott
- A Winter Rose (2016) as Skippy
- The Making of the Mob: Chicago (2016) as Himself
- Lost Cat Corona (2017) as Uncle Sam
- The Last Poker Game (2017) as Phil
- Undercover Grandpa (2017) as Giovanni
- Price for Freedom (2017) as Shah of Iran
- Executor (2017) as Father Antonio
- Bad Blood (2017, TV series) as Nicolo Rizzuto
- Beneath the Leaves (2018) as Captain Parker
- Papa (2018) as Danny
- Godfather of Harlem (2019, TV series) as Frank Costello
- Acts of Desperation (2019) as Chief Lassiter
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- 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.
- Courrier, Kevin; Green, Susan (November 20, 1999). Law & Order: The Unofficial Companion (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: Renaissance Books. ISBN 1-58063-108-8, pp. 123-125.
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- "The Devil's Carnival". IMDB.com. Retrieved 2012-11-05.
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- "'Goodfellas' actor, as deputy sheriff, was entitled to weapon". boston.com. 2007-01-17. Archived from the original on March 25, 2007.
- "Horse Lovers Ask Congress To Stop Horse Slaughter". wjz.com. 2008-03-05. Archived from the original on 2008-03-08.
- eddynapolispa (2008-09-01). "Eddy Napoli SpA & Paul Sorvino - Luna Rossa". YouTube. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- "'Goodfella' Paul Sorvino dishes up own pasta sauce based mom's recipe", New York Daily News, January 9, 2010
- "Brand News". GCI. June 2010. p. 6.
- "Paul Sorvino, Dee Dee Benkie Wed". Fox News. 2015-01-08. Retrieved 2015-01-20.
- Quackenbush, Casey (January 4, 2018). "Harvey Weinstein Was Accused of Harassing Paul Sorvino's Daughter. Now Sorvino Is Threatening to Kill Him". Time.
- Lynne Slack Shedlock (2006-05-20). "County invests $500G in film". Scrantontimes.com. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- Rubinkam, Michael (2008-02-18). "Pennsylvania county to Sorvino: Where's the film?". Usatoday.com. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- Kelly, Chris (2008-02-17). "The Trouble with 'Kelly'". Thetimes-tribune.com. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
- Chris Kelly (2012-02-21). "Early reviews are in and Cali is indeed in trouble". Scrantontimes.com. Retrieved 2012-02-22.