Another death in what has been an exceptionally grim year for movie mobsters: Veteran character actor Paul Sorvino, who played Paulie Cicero in Goodfellas, has died at age 83. "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 wife, Dee Dee Sorvino, said, per the Hollywood Reporter. She said Sorvino died Monday of natural causes. Sorvino, who grew up in Brooklyn, was in the entertainment industry for more than 50 years and made his Broadway debut in 1964's Bajour, the AP reports. His film debut came six years later in Carl Reiner's Where's Poppa?
Sorvino's dozens of movie roles included a supporting role in 1973's Oscar-nominated A Touch of Class. A role as an Italian American Communist in 1981's Reds was the first of three collaborations with longtime friend Warren Beatty, Deadline reports. Sorvino often played criminals, but he was on the other side of the law in some roles, including a 31-episode stint as NYPD Sgt. Phil Cerretta in Law & Order in 1991 and 1992. "There are many people who think I’m actually a gangster or a mafioso, largely because of Goodfellas," he once said, per the Reporter. "I suppose that’s the price you pay for being effective in a role."
In real life, his passions included poetry, painting, and opera, the AP reports. Sorvino, who started taking voice lessons when he was 8 years old and dreamed of becoming a singer, made his New York City Opera debut in The Most Happy Fella in 2006, the New York Times reports. Sorvino had three children, including actors Mira Sorvino and Michael Sorvino. He was seen weeping with joy when Mira Sorvino won the best supporting actress Oscar for Mighty Aphrodite in 1996. Decades later, he said that if he had known that his daughter had been sexually harassed and blacklisted by Harvey Weinstein, the producer "would not be walking. He'd be in a wheelchair." (Fellow Goodfellas star Ray Liotta died in May.)