Florida Film Festival Welcomes Paul Sorvino
Brooklyn-born actor Paul Sorvino began his career as an advertising agency copywriter dreaming of becoming an opera singer. And it was no pipe dream. He had studied singing for nearly two decades and had “a great set of pipes,” as they say. But mortgage payments and asthma redirected his career into what promised to be a more lucrative field—acting.
After studying dramatic arts at the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, with Broadway his backyard, Sorvino decided to go into theatre. He made his Broadway debut in the chorus of the original 1964 production of the musical Bajour. He then studied with renowned acting teacher Sanford Meisner, and six years later made his film debut in Carl Reiner’s 1970 comedy Going Ape.
Since then, Sorvino has appeared in more than 100 films, a variety of television shows, and as an accomplished stage actor won a Drama Desk Award in 1972 and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1973 for his performance in the Broadway production of the dark comedy That Championship Season.
On the big screen, he’s best known for his portrayal of tough guys and authority figures in such standout performances as "Paul Cicero" in Martin Scorsese’s 1990 film Goodfellas and stressed-out police chief Capt. Edelson in William Friedkin’s 1980 drama Cruising. His many other noteworthy credits include the portrayal of Henry Kissinger in Oliver Stone’s 1995 Nixon and as Fulgencio Capulet in Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 Shakespearean update Romeo + Juliet (1996).
On TV, among other roles, he’s played detective Phil Cerreta on Law & Order and Al Miller, father of the central character on the sitcom Still Standing.
Early on, Sorvino suffered from severe asthma, but as an adult mastered a breathing technique that helped control attacks. He wrote the 1985 best-selling book How to Become a Former Asthmatic and founded the Sorvino Asthma Foundation to educate the public about asthma and techniques for managing the illness.
A businessman and a passionate cook, Sorvino still returns occasionally to his original dream and headlines his own concerts. He lives in Los Angeles and is the proud father of son Michael, and daughters Amanda and Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino.
Paul Sorvino was in attendance at the screening of Last I Heard on Friday, April 11, at 4:15PM at Enzian
Paul Sorvino was in attendance at An Afternoon with Paul Sorvino, featuring Goodfellas on Saturday, April 12, at 11AM at Enzian.
Photo courtsey of Warren Saire.