Mira Sorvino

Despite her leading lady attractiveness, Mira Sorvino had the unpretentious heart of a character actor inherited from her father Paul, whose own resume included critically-acclaimed turns in Martin Scorsese's "GoodFellas" (1990) and Oliver Stone's "Nixon" (1995) among his many roles. Adept at assuming accents, hair colors and varied identities, Sorvino received her first substantial exposure on film as an enigmatic, aristocratic Spanish translator in "Barcelona" (1994), Whit Stillman's thoughtfully comic talkfest. She entered the mainstream later that same year playing the Jewish intellectual wife of Rob Morrow in Robert Redford's "Quiz Show." Redford had first became aware of the young performer in Rob Weiss' "Amongst Friends" (1993), a highly regarded independent feature shown in competition at the Sundance Film Festival. Starting out as third assistant director on that project, she graduated to casting director and finally the lead role of the modest drama about well-to-do suburban Jews who fall into lives of crime, ultimately receiving credit as associate producer. Sorvino had appeared on TV in the short-lived syndicated teen serial "Swan Crossing" (1992) and on the daytime drama "Guiding Light" (CBS) but rejected a three-year contract on the latter in hopes that better opportunities lay just ahead. She had also starred in a Susan Seidelman-directed short ("The Dutch Master") and portrayed a modern-day Mary in another irreverent short, "The Second Greatest Story Ever Told" (both 1993), prior to her breakout year 1995, which saw her demonstrate her chameleon-like capabilities and versatility in a variety of roles. She won acclaim as a 19th Century Brazilian-born plutocrat who marries an impoverished Englishman in the TV adaptation of Edith Wharton's "The Buccaneers" (shown on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre") and also appeared briefly in the improvisational film "Blue in the Face," jointly helmed by Wayne Wang and Paul Auster. Her real coup that year, though, was her star-making, Oscar-winning portrayal as a bleached-blonde, foul-mouthed, squeaky-voiced prostitute who had given up a child for adoption in Woody Allen's romantic comedy "Mighty Aphrodite." Sorvino also acted in "New York Cop" and starred in independent features "Tarantella" (as an Italian-American photographer confronting her ethnic identity following her mother's death) and "Sweet Nothing," playing the loyal but co-dependent wife of Michael Imperioli's crack-addicted Wall Street broker.Sorvino subsequently portrayed Matt Dillon's long-suffering bulimic girlfriend in Ted Demme's ensemble comedy "Beautiful Girls" (1996) and earned an Emmy nomination that year for her turn as Marilyn Monroe in the HBO biopic "Norma Jean and Marilyn" (Ashley Judd shared the title role essaying Norma Jean) before "Romy and Michele's High School Reunion" (1997) recalled her Oscar-winning part. Sorvino next turned her attention to genre fare, first starring as the brilliant entomologist whose mutant creations threaten NYC in Guillermo Del Toro's sci-fi horror thriller "Mimic" (1997), then teaming with Hong Kong action icon Chow Yun-Fat in "The Replacement Killers" (1998). She found time to give a strong performance opposite Harvey Keitel in the art film "Lulu on the Bridge," Auster's solo directing debut, and to play Death for Korean director Wonsuk Chin's quirky, cross-cultural "Too Tired to Die" (both 1998). Mainstream audiences got to see her as Val Kilmer's love interest in Irwin Winkler's "At First Sight" (1999), another movie based on the writings of Dr. Oliver Sachs. She also acted in that year's "Summer of Sam," Spike Lee's disco-era drama.In 2002, Sorvino portrayed Dina in the Tim Blake Nelson Holocaust drama "Grey Zone," followed by a costarring role alongside Mariah Carey in the female mafia crime feature "Wisegirls." She then donned period garb as Fanny, the feisty wife of Jeff Daniels' Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, in Ron Maxwell's "Gettysburg" prequel, "Gods and Generals." Sorvino rounded out the year starring in two features, "Semana Santa," a crime thriller in which she played an American detective sent to Spain to investigate a double murder during Easter week, and "Between Strangers," a heartfelt drama about three women (Sorvino, Sophia Loren and Deborah Kara Unger) fighting personal demons and confronting crises with the respective men in their lives. After playing Leo's ex and the only woman who ever slept with Will on an episode of "Will & Grace" (NBC, 1998-2006), she starred opposite Robin Williams in "Final Cut" (2004). Sorvino next starred in the Lifetime miniseries "Human Trafficking" (2005), a sobering look at the international sex-trade and its impact on the United States. She wrapped out 2005 filming "Robert Ludlum's Covert One: The Hades Factor" (CBS, 2006), a made-for-TV spy thriller about an elite operative unit sent to investigate the source of a deadly virus threatening to kill millions. Sorvino next appeared in indie dramas "Reservation Road" (2007) and "Multiple Sarcasms" (2009) before starring in the drama "Like Dandelion Dust" (2009) and appearing in "The Trouble with Cali" (2009), directed by her father. War drama "Attack on Leningrad" (2009) and horror film "The Presence" (2010) followed, along with indie drama "Angels Crest" (2011) and ensemble comedy-drama "Union Square" (2012). Sorvino continued working steadily through this period of her career, starring in small films that often went directly to DVD and streaming. She also appeared more frequently on TV, starring in the drama "Intruders" (BBC America 2014) and appearing in recurring roles in action series "Falling Skies" (TNT 2011-15) and crime drama "Stalker" (CBS 2014-15), as well as starring in the holiday film "A Christmas to Remember" (Hallmark 2016) and psychological thriller "Indiscretion" (Lifetime 2016). Sorvino began working more steadily in TV, appearing in espionage series "Condor" (Audience 2018- ) and joining the cast of long-running comedy "Modern Family" (ABC 2009-2019) in a recurring role.