Law & Order actors pay tribute to late star Paul Sorvino

Paul Sorvino on the red carpet
Paul Sorvino played Phil Cerreta on Law & Order. Pic credit: ©

Law & Order actors are remembering Paul Sorvino, who died Monday at the age of 83.

While he had a long and varied career in film and television, Sorvino was well known for his role as Phil Cerreta on the mothership Law & Order for two seasons.

Sorvino was the first major cast addition to the show after it began and would last 29 episodes in the part.

The father of Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino, Paul was also known for scores of film hits like Goodfellas, The Rocketeer and many more, along with several TV appearances. 

While fans gushed on many of his past roles, several Law & Order actors such as Jill Hennessy, Vincent D’Onofrio and Leslie Hendrix also chimed in with memories of Sorvino and his amazing legacy.

This crafts a wonderful tribute to the actor who may not have lasted long on Law & Order but had a stunning career of amazing work. 

Law & Order stars pay tribute to Paul Sorvino

Tributes to Sorvino came quickly, led by Jill Hennessy, who played Claire Kincaid on Law & Order. She called Sorvino a “wondrous actor with a singer’s soul.”

Vincent D’Onofrio, who played Bobby Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent and starred opposite Sorvino in a 1999 remake of That Championship Season, replied to daughter Mira’s tribute to her father. 

D’Onofrio wrote, “I’ll miss as Paul, Mira. My heart goes out to you. Your father always treated me like a younger brother. I’ll never forget Paul Sorvino.”

Leslie Hendrix, who played medical examiner mainstay Elizabeth Rodgers also tweeted her memories of Sorvino.

“Dang it. My first episode of L&O, I shot with him and Noth. I was so intimidated by him, and he was so nice. I remember him grabbing a prop phone several times between shots and saying, “Hildy?!?” in a nod to The Front Page. Tickled me. RIP,” wrote Hendrix.

With more tributes likely to come, Paul Sorvino’s Law & Order role is another addition to the long legacy of the beloved actor.

Paul Sorvino and Law & Order

Born in New York City in 1939, Paul Sorvino began acting as a teenager. He broke out in the hit play That Championship Season and reprised the role in the 1982 movie adaptation. 

By 1991, Sorvino had become a familiar face playing authority figures that were either police or mobsters. That included memorable roles in The Rocketeer and the classic mob film Goodfellas. 

In 1991, Sorvino was the first major new addition to Law & Order as Sergeant Phil Cerreta. He took over when Max Greevy (George Dzundza) was shot and killed in the line of duty.

Cerreta and Mike Logan (Chris Noth) served as a good pairing with Ceretta a tough investigator in the field while also talking about his family.

In Season 3’s Prince of Darkness, Cerreta was shot and badly wounded. While he survived, he decided to have a desk job before retiring due to his injuries.

This paved the way for Jerry Orbach to begin his ironic run as Lennie Briscoe.

Sorvino only lasted 29 episodes as he wanted to save his voice for a possible opera career and explore other roles.

The actor would continue to appear in scores of films and TV shows as well as founding the Paul Sorvino Asthma Foundation. 

Sorvino remained busy up until his passing with his last roles in the Epix drama Godfather of Harlem and the film The Birthday Cake.

Law & Order Season 22 premieres Tuesday, September 22 at 8/7c on NBC.

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