"If you look at his body of work in the film and television industries, his work on Broadway, his philanthropic efforts over the past six decades, you can see why we're so very honored to present the Pat Conroy Lifetime Achievement Award to the legendary entertainer Paul Sorvino," stated Beaufort Film Society President Ron Tucker.
The award is named for Best Selling Author and Academy Award nominated Screenwriter Pat Conroy, who was a long time resident of Beaufort, SC before his death of pancreatic cancer in March 2016. "Beaufort's long film history began with Pat when his novel The Great Santini was made into a feature film followed later by The Prince of Tides. Both films were shot right here in Beaufort," stated Rebecca Tucker, Co-Director of the Beaufort International Film Festival.
Brooklyn-born actor Paul Sorvino began his career as a 16-year-old singer at a Catskills resort dreaming of becoming an opera singer. And it was no pipe dream. He had studied singing for years and, to this day, has a beautiful tenor voice. But rent and real life led him into a variety of odd jobs and a stint in the Army.
His singing hopes somewhat stifled by asthma, he redirected his career into what promised to be a more promising field—acting. Years of acting and vocal lessons were largely supported through scholarships. After studying dramatic arts under the tutelage of renowned acting teacher Sanford Meisner at the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, Mr. Sorvino made his Broadway debut at 25 acting and singing in the original 1964 production of the musical "Bajour."
Over the next three years, Mr. Sorvino worked a variety of jobs (salesman, chauffeur, etc.) while gaining prominence as an advertising writer/creative director and pursuing his acting career. He made his film debut in Carl Reiner's 1970 comedy "Going Ape" and began a career solely dedicated to acting and occasional singing.
At 40, the tenor made his lifelong dream come true with his operatic debut in "Die Fledermaus,"
Paul Sorvino's resume is as long and varied as any performer could hope for, including over one hundred eighty movies and television shows, two operas, three Broadway plays, musicals on Broadway and at major theaters across the country. For THAT CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON, he won six awards including the New York Drama Critics Award for Best Actor, Drama Desk, Obie, Outer Critics Circle, Clarence Derwent awards and a Tony nomination for playing the rich, morally bankrupt Phil Romano.
TV has seen him as "THE OLDEST ROOKIE", in LAW AND ORDER, THAT'S LIFE,
BERT D'ANGELO SUPERSTAR with stints on STILL STANDING as well as many singing appearances (He is an internationally known operatic tenor). Public Television has aired his special "PAUL SORVINO SINGS" (he can be heard on the album of the same name). TV was also the medium for DUMMY, the Peabody award-winning drama in which he played Lowell Myers, the ground-breaking deaf trial lawyer.
His films include GOODFELLAS, NIXON (as Henry Kissinger), REDS, MONEY TALKS, SEE SPOT RUN, THE BRINKS JOB, BULWORTH, MAMBO ITALIANO, ROMEO AND JULIET, THE COOLER, DICK TRACY, THE BRONX BULL and and many, many others.
In 1987, Paul founded the AMERICAN STAGE COMPANY on the campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University. It remains the most successful regional theater in American theatrical history. Of twelve original productions over a period of three years, six had New York openings, including OTHER PEOPLES MONEY, which went on to become a major motion picture starring Danny Devito. The theater opened with ALL THE KING'S MEN, directed by and starring Paul. The response was so favorable that Paul quipped "I think my mother wrote the reviews."
Early on Paul suffered from severe asthma, but as an adult created and mastered breathing techniques 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. He has been honored twice by the Pope for his work with asthmatics as well as by the American Medical Association.
Paul Sorvino is a true Renaissance man. In addition to being a fabulous entertainer in almost all genres, he is also an accomplished Chef. Along with his wife Dee Dee, he is the author of Pinot, Pasta, and Parties, a new cookbook that he describes as the "the best Italian cookbook that I have seen. There is no Italian that doesn't love food. There is food that doesn't love Italians, but there is no Italian that doesn't love food," Sorvino says.
An internationally known sculptor, he has created more than thirty figurative works in bronze including installations at The Versace House in Miami, Fla., The Courthouse Square in Scranton, Pa. (a portrait of his dear friend Jason Miller), and the Boca Raton Community Hospital in Boca Raton, Fla.
Paul has been Knighted by the Order of the Carinzia started by St. George in the third century for the protection of the Pope. His title is Knight of The Great Cross and he is also a Knight of the Italian Republic. The Sorvino coat of arms dates from the twelfth century. But as all European Knights eventually learn, no free subway rides come with this title.
An actor, director, best-selling author, screenwriter, professional bronze sculptor, pianist, business man, operatic tenor and passionate cook, Sorvino still returns occasionally to his original dream and headlines his own concerts.
He lives in New York and Los Angeles with his wife, Emmy award - winning television host and commentator Dee Dee Sorvino.
He is the father of Michael, Amanda and Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino. Paul was recently chosen to be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Paul is currently filming the American Crime Drama Television Series, The Godfather of Harlem, set to debut in 2019.
The "Pat Conroy Lifetime Achievement"
For more information about the 13th Annual Beaufort International Film Festival, visit beaufortfilmfestival.com. The festival is produced by the Beaufort Film Society.
The Beaufort Film Society is a nonprofit, 501 (c) 3, member-supported organization, dedicated to providing the highest levels of entertainment and education to the public from all areas of the film industry.