Paul Sorvino was known for his badass roles, whether he played a grizzled cop or a hardened mobster. He’s portrayed everything from a comic book gangster in “Dick Tracy” to an ideologue in “Reds”, to a detective, to an international political figure. He was also a trained opera tenor.
Here are some of his most memorable roles:
– “Goodfellas”: Sorvino was perhaps best known as Paulie Cicero, a ruthless mobster in the classic 1990 crime drama directed by Martin Scorsese.
– “Law & Order”: For 31 episodes, Sorvino’s Sgt. Phil Cerreta joined the 27th Detective Squad as Detective Mike Logan’s partner after his predecessor Sgt. Max Greevey was shot. He started by helping investigate Greevey’s murder and ended up working closely with Logan. Cerreta was eventually injured while undercover and quit.
– “Nixon”: Sorvino played Henry Kissinger, the disgraced president’s national security adviser who later served as secretary of state under Nixon and then Gerald Ford. “You do something like Kissinger, it’s a tall order, but it’s a challenge that I love,” he said in 1995, describing what it was like to prepare to portray a living historical figure.
– ‘That Championship Season’: A role that earned Sorvino a 1973 Tony Award nomination for his Broadway portrayal of Phil Romano, a sleazy former high school basketball player who reunites with three of his teammates to visit their former coach . He would later reprise the role from the film version and direct another adaptation.
– “Reds”: As the founder of the American Communist Party Louis C. Fraina, Sorvino played the young ideologue in the 1981 film with Warren Beatty.
– “Dick Tracy”: Sorvino played Lips Manlis, mentor to fictional mobster Big Boy Caprice, in the 1990 film version of the iconic crime comic.