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Paul Sorvino: Goodfellas And Law & Order Actor Dies Aged 83

Pic: Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock/Rex

US actor Paul Sorvino, most famous for his role as gangster Paulie Cicero in the classic mob movie Goodfellas, has died aged 83.

Sorvino, also known for portraying police sergeant Phil Cerreta on TV series Law & Order, had worked in film and television for more than 50 years.

The actor's daughter Mira Sorvino, a Hollywood star in her own right, wrote on Twitter: "My father the great Paul Sorvino has passed.

"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."

When she won a best-supporting actress Oscar for her role in 1995 film Mighty Aphrodite, she thanked her father in her acceptance speech. "He has taught me everything I know about acting," she said at the time, which brought him to tears.

He died of natural causes at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, a spokesperson said.

"I am completely devastated. The love of my life & the most wonderful man who has ever lived is gone. I am heartbroken," his wife Dee Dee Sorvino wrote on social media.

In May this year, his co-star in the 1990 film Goodfellas, Ray Liotta, died at 67 in his sleep while he was filming a movie in the Dominican Republic.

With his 6ft 2in stature, Sorvino had an impactful presence in his work.

Among his other high-profile roles, he was mob boss Eddie Valentine in The Rocketeer in 1991, and played former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger in Oliver Stone's 1995 movie, Nixon, about the disgraced ex-president Richard Nixon, portrayed by Anthony Hopkins.

A year later in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet, he was Fulgencio Capulet, patriarch of the Capulets. He also played an Italian American communist in Warren Beatty's Reds.

Sorvino worked continually, with more than 170 credits and dozens of roles in recent years, including guest appearances in Godfather of Harlem, Bad Blood, Undercover Grandpa, The Goldbergs, and Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders.

He would often say that while he might be best known for playing gangsters, his real passions were poetry, painting and opera.

He was born in Brooklyn in 1939, and attended the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York.

He originally wanted to be an opera singer before he turned to acting.

In the 1970s, he acted alongside Al Pacino in The Panic in Needle Park, and with James Caan in The Gambler.

His long career also included roles in Broadway play That Championship Season and a 1982 film adaptation of it.

Other movie credits included Dick Tracy and Money Talks.

Along with his wife Dee Dee and Oscar-winner Mira, Sorvino is survived by his son Michael, daughter Amanda and five grandchildren.