American actor Paul Sorvino, well known for his mild-mannered mobster role in the movie "Goodfellas," has died of natural causes at the age of 83.
"Our hearts are broken," wife Dee Dee Sorvino said in a statement. "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."
Sorvino is best-known for his character Paulie Cicero in Martin Scorsese's 1990 mob film "Goodfellas."
He reflected on his excitement about getting the part in a New York Times 25th anniversary piece on the movie back in 2015.
"I’d done a lot of comedies as well as dramas, but I’d never done a really tough guy. I never had it in me,” said Sorvino.
"And this (part) called for a lethality, which I felt was way beyond me. I called my manager three days before we started shooting and said, ‘Get me out. I’m going to ruin this great man’s picture, and I’m going to ruin myself.’ He, being wise, said, ‘Call me tomorrow, and if necessary I will get you out.'"
"Then I was going by the hall mirror to adjust my tie," his anecdote continued.
"I was just inconsolable. And I looked in the mirror and literally jumped back a foot. I saw a look I’d never seen, something in my eyes that alarmed me. A deadly soulless look in my eyes that scared me and was overwhelmingly threatening. And I looked to the heavens and said, ‘You’ve found it.’"
"There are many people who think I’m actually a gangster or a mafioso, largely because of Goodfellas,” Sorvino once recalled. "I suppose that’s the price you pay for being effective in a role.”
Sorvino spent more than a half century in the entertainment business, making his Broadway debut in the 1964 musical "Bajour” and his film debut in Carl Reiner’s 1970 film "Where’s Poppa?”
Sorvino portrayed other notable roles in his 50-plus year career, including James Caan's bookie in the 1974 film "The Gambler," Claire Danes' father in the 1996 movie "Romeo and Juliet" and NYPD Detective Phil Cerretta in a season of the television series "Law & Order."
Sorvino, the father of Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino, also received a tribute from his daughter on Monday.
"My father the great Paul Sorvino has passed," she tweeted. "My heart is rent asunder- a life of love and joy and wisdom with him is over. He was the most wonderful father. I love him so much. I’m sending you love in the stars Dad as you ascend."