Paul Sorvino as Paulie Cicero in 1990's 'Goodfellas.'

Paul Sorvino as Paulie Cicero in 1990's 'Goodfellas.'

Paul Sorvino, a charismatic and characterful actor who brought to life many memorable roles, has died. He was 83.

Paul Anthony Sorvino born April 13, 1939, in Brooklyn, New York. While he got his start writing advertising copy, the acting bug bit relatively soon after, and he went on to attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy.

From there, he began a career on the stage, and made his Broadway debut with the musical ‘Bajour’ in 1964. Even as he continued to work successfully in theatre (including a Tony nomination for Jason Miller’s 1972 play ‘That Championship Season’, he also began working in TV and movies.

That Championship Season’ proved to be one of his most fruitful roles – he reprised it when Miller adapted the play for the big screen in 1982, and Sorvino starred alongside Robert Mitchum, Bruce Dern, Stacy Keach and Martin Sheen in the story of a basketball team that comes together for a reunion where cracks in their seemingly close bond start to show. Sorvino went on to direct the 1999 TV adaptation that starred Vincent D’Onofrio.

On the small screen, he was seen in the likes of ‘The Streets of San Francisco’, ‘Moonlighting’, ‘Murder, She Wrote’, ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, and, more recently, ‘Elementary’ and ‘The Goldbergs’. He was famously on ‘Law & Order' for a couple of seasons.

Paul Sorvino as Henry Kissinger in 1995's 'Nixon.'

Paul Sorvino as Henry Kissinger in 1995's 'Nixon.'

Yet it is Sorvino’s movie work that stands out to most people – and most notably, his ability to play mobsters and mafiosos. Martin Scorsese tapped him to play Paul Cicero, AKA Big Pauly in ‘Goodfellas’, one of his most iconic roles.

In a career that spanned more than 170 credits, he would show up in the likes of ‘Nixon’, ‘Dick Tracy’, ‘The Rocketeer’, ‘For the Love of Money’, ‘Reds’, ‘Oh God,’ ‘A Touch of Class’, ‘Romeo + Juliet’, ‘The Brink’s Job’, ‘Cruising’, ‘Bulworth’, ‘Perfume’, ‘Mr. 3000’ and ‘Rules Don’t Apply’.

Outside of performing, he turned to sculpting to relax and even compared his acting career to the art. “Acting onstage is like doing sculpture,” he told the Florida Sun-Sentinel in 2005. “Acting in movies is like being an assistant to the sculptor.” He added that he preferred sculpting to stage or screen work because “no one tells you how to finish it.”

“My father the great Paul Sorvino has passed,” actor daughter Mira Sorvinowrote on social media. “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.”

“Our hearts are broken,” said wife Dee Dee Sorvino 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.”