Paul Sorvino, of Goodfellas and That Championship Season, Dies at 83

Sorvino earned a Tony nomination for the original Broadway production of ”Championship”.

Paul Sorvino
Paul Sorvino
(© Tristan Fuge)

Tony nominated actor Paul Sorvino has died at the age of 83.

Over the course of Sorvino's 50-year career on stage and screen, he made his mark both as an artist who could effortlessly move from musical theater to dark dramatic roles. He made his Broadway debut in the 1964 musical Bajour, and also appeared in Skyscaper (1965) and That Championship Season (1972), for which he earned a Tony nomination and won a Drama Desk Award for his performance as former high school basketball player Phil Romano.

Sorvino was Gloucester in the 1973 Shakespeare in the Park production of King Lear, and he made his New York City Opera debut as Tony in the 2006 production of Frank Loesser's The Most Happy Fella. Sorvino was also a "Too Much Tuna" guest during the Broadway run of Nick Kroll and John Mulaney's Oh, Hello on Broadway.

On screen, Sorvino was known for playing imposing characters: James Caan's bookie "Hips" in The Gambler, Paul Cicero in Goodfellas, and Det. Phil Cerretta in Law & Order. Other films include Dick Tracy, The Rocketeer, Where's Poppa!?, and Reds, among many other works.

Born in Bensonhurst, Sorvino studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, and with Sanford Meisner and William Esper. He is survived by his wife, Dee Dee Benkie, a former aide to President George W. Bush, as well as his children, Oscar winner Mira Sorvino, Michael Sorvino, and Amanda Sorvino.