Date of Birth: September 28, 1967
Place of Birth: Tenafly, NJ, USA
Sign: Sun in Libra, Moon in Cancer
Relations: Father: Paul Sorvino (actor); mother: Lorraine Sorvino; ex-boyfriend: Quentin Tarantino; companion: Olivier Martinez
Education: Harvard University, earned a BA in East Asian Studies (1990)
AWARD WINNING ACTRESS Mira Sorvino rocketed into the public eye with her performance as the helium-voiced call girl Linda Ash in Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite. One might be excused for thinking, based on that movie, that Sorvino is something of a bimbo. The truth is quite the opposite, proving she's something of an actress.
A magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University, Sorvino majored in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, living in Beijing for eight months and writing a Hoopes Prize-winning thesis on racial conflict in China. A bimbo she ain't.
The daughter of veteran actor Paul Sorvino (Law & Order, Goodfellas, Nixon), Mira brought tears to her dad's eyes when she accepted her Aphrodite Oscar. "When you give me this award, you honor my father, who has taught me everything there is to know about acting," she declared. "I love you very much, Dad." The elder Sorvino broke into tears, instantly creating a Classic Oscar Moment.
Sorvino was raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, far from the limelight of Hollywood. Her father discouraged all three of his children from pursuing careers in acting, because he feared what might happen to them later in life if they experienced stardom too young. As a result, Mira became a bookworm, studying hard enough to earn a place in the Ivy League. That's not to say she didn't try her hand at acting – she performed in local productions throughout high school or college – but academics were her priority. Once she had graduated, though, she moved to New York and gave The Biz a try. For three years, she “waitressed” and auditioned and occasionally “PA-ed” for Robert DiNiro’s Tribeca Productions. Finally, in 1992, she was given the responsibility of third director (glorified PA, basically) on Amongst Friends. Within days, she was promoted to casting director, then to associate producer and eventually, Sorvino was cast as the female lead. Although the film was mostly seen in art-houses and at film festivals, word got around that a hot new actress was on the scene.
With a succession of low-profile roles, in Whit Stillman's Barcelona and Robert Redford's Quiz Show, which brought Mira to the attention of Woody Allen. Initially, Sorvino wasn't allowed to audition for Mighty Aphrodite, because she was seen as too cerebral to play a ditz. Guess she showed them.
In addition to an Oscar, Sorvino's breakthrough performance earned her Best Supporting Actress Awards from the New York Film Critics, the National Board of Review, a National Broadcasting Film Critics and a Golden Globe.
On television Mira earned a 1996 Best Actress Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her starring role as Marilyn Monroe in HBO's Norma Jean & Marilyn. The same year, she played Julie, the young dead wife of Alan Alda, in the CBS Hallmark presentation of Neil Simon's Jake's Women.
On stage, Mira premiered Joyce Carol Oates' Greensleeves at the John Drew Theater and Best of Schools at UBU Rep.
Since the infamous Oscar Moment, Sorvino has kept busy on screen as well. In addition to some lower-budget films, like Lulu on the Bridge and Free Money, she recently co-starred with Val Kilmer in At First Sight and portrayed a woman symbolic of a generation in Spike Lee’s Summer of Sam.
1999 Summer of Sam
1999 Joan of Arc: The Virgin Warrior
1999 Summer of Sam
1998 Free Money
1998 Lulu on the Bridge
1998 Too Tired To Die
1999 At First Sight
1998 The Replacement Killers
1997 Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
1996 Beautiful Girls
1996 Sweet Nothing
1995 Mighty Aphrodite
1995 Blue in the Face
1994 Quiz Show
1993 The Obit Writer
1993 The Dutch Master
1993 Amongst Friends
1993 The Second Greatest Story Ever Told
1996 Neil Simon's Jake's Women
1996 Norma Jean and Marilyn
1996 Sweet Nothing
1995 The Buccaneers
1994 Parallel Lives
1992 Swans Crossing
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)