Mira Sorvino

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Mira Sorvino
Born Mira Katherine Sorvino
(1967-09-28) September 28, 1967 (age 50)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Residence Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Alma mater Harvard University
Occupation Actress
Years active 1985–present
Spouse(s) Christopher Backus (m. 2004)
Children 4
Parent(s) Paul Sorvino
Lorraine Ruth Davis
Website Mira Sorvino on Twitter

Mira Katherine Sorvino (/ˈmrə sɔːrˈvn/; born September 28, 1967) is an American actress. She won the Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as a hooker with a heart of gold in Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite (1995).

She also starred in the films Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997), Mimic (1997), Lulu on the Bridge (1998), The Replacement Killers (1998), Summer of Sam (1999), and Like Dandelion Dust (2009). She received Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for her role in Norma Jean & Marilyn (1996), and a Golden Globe nomination for her role in Human Trafficking (2005).

Early life[edit]

Sorvino was born in New York City[1] to Lorraine Ruth Davis, a drama therapist for Alzheimer's disease patients and a former actress, and Paul Sorvino, a character actor and film director.[2][3] She has two siblings, Michael and Amanda. Sorvino is of Italian descent on her father's side.[4]

Sorvino was raised in Tenafly, New Jersey,[5] where she wrote and acted in backyard plays with her childhood friend Hope Davis and in theater productions at Dwight-Englewood School. Sorvino has said that as a child she was strongly influenced by her mother to pursue social causes; her mother had participated at the March on Washington.[6] Sorvino excelled in high school, and was accepted into Harvard University. She studied for one year as an exchange student with CIEE in Beijing, China, where she became fluent in Mandarin Chinese.[7] In 1989, she graduated from Harvard magna cum laude with a degree in East Asian studies.[8] She also helped found the Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones, one of Harvard's co-ed a cappella groups in 1985.[9]


Sorvino's first major screen appearance was in the teen television series Swans Crossing, on which she appeared in six episodes.[6] When the 1993 film Amongst Friends entered preproduction, she was hired as third assistant director, then was promoted to casting director, then to assistant producer, and was finally offered a lead role. Positive reviews[10][11] led to other acting opportunities.

After small roles in Robert Redford's Quiz Show and Whit Stillman's Barcelona, she was cast in the 1995 Woody Allen film Mighty Aphrodite. Her portrayal of a happy-go-lucky prostitute made her a star, winning her an Academy Award[12] and Golden Globe[13] for Best Supporting Actress. While the film garnered Sorvino international notoriety, she described the shooting of the film as extremely stressful: "I was absolutely neurotic doing Mighty Aphrodite," she recalled. "Every night brought a new nervous breakdown. I'd cry and talk to God, I was so nervous. Then the next day, I'd show up and do my scenes."[6]

Other credits include Romy and Michele's High School Reunion alongside Lisa Kudrow, At First Sight with Val Kilmer, and Summer of Sam from Spike Lee. She portrayed Marilyn Monroe for the 1996 HBO film Norma Jean & Marilyn, for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe,[13] and the lead role in the 1997 horror movie Mimic from Guillermo del Toro. In 1995, she portrayed Conchita Closson in the BBC miniseries The Buccaneers based on Edith Wharton's last novel. She starred as Daisy Buchanan in the 2000 television film The Great Gatsby.

In 2002, Sorvino appeared as the lead in The Triumph of Love, an adaptation of the 1732 Marivaux play.[14] In 2006, she received a Golden Globe nomination for her role as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in the Lifetime film Human Trafficking.[13] The following year, she had a supporting role in the drama Reservation Road (2007), opposite Mark Ruffalo.

In February 2008, she guest-starred in the "Frozen" episode of the medical television drama House. Making her character, psychiatrist Cate Milton, a recurring character, was mentioned, but the writers' strike put a freeze on such discussions.[15]

She starred in Attack on Leningrad (2009), Multiple Sarcasms (2010) alongside Timothy Hutton and Stockard Channing, and Nancy Savoca's Union Square (2012), with Patti Lupone and Tammy Blanchard.[16] The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival[16] to good reviews.[17][18] In the same year, Sorvino played the mother of the lead in the film adaptation of Wendy Mass’s popular children’s book Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life.[19]

In 2014, she reappeared as Head Detective Betsy Brannigan on the final season of Psych, and on the fourth season of Falling Skies as John Pope's love interest, Sara.[20] Sorvino also joined the cast of the television series Intruders, playing the role of Amy Whelan. In 2016, she appeared in the Netflix series Lady Dynamite as an actor working on a sitcom pilot named White Trash.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Between 1996 and 1998, Mira Sorvino was romantically involved with director Quentin Tarantino, who was her escort to the Academy Awards ceremony where she won Best Supporting Actress for Mighty Aphrodite.[22]

Sorvino met actor Christopher Backus at a friend's charades party in August 2003. On June 11, 2004, they married in a private civil ceremony at the Santa Barbara, California, courthouse, then later had a hilltop ceremony in Capri, Italy. The couple has four children: daughters Mattea Angel (born 2004)[23] and Lucia (born 2012)[24] and sons Johnny Christopher King (born 2006)[25] and Holden Paul Terry Backus (born 2009).[26]

In honor of Sorvino's role as Susan Tyler, an entomologist who was investigating deadly insect mutations in the feature film Mimic, a compound excreted by the sunburst diving beetle as a defensive mechanism was named "mirasorvone" by Thomas Eisner.[27],[28]

Sorvino at the Anti-Human Trafficking Symposium in Washington, D.C., January 30, 2013

In September 2014, Sorvino gave a wide-ranging interview on The Nerdist Podcast in which she discusses her education and her life in China, and many of her varied interests.[29] Sorvino was an atheist in 1997 but identified as a Christian in 2012.[30][31][32] She resides with her family in Los Angeles, California.[33]

Political activism[edit]

She has been affiliated with Amnesty International since 2004,[34] and in 2006, was honored with Amnesty International’s Artist of Conscience Award given to those who have displayed longstanding philanthropic and humanist efforts. Sorvino has been a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador to Combat Human Trafficking, since 2009 through 2012, and has lobbied Congress to abolish human trafficking in Darfur.[35]



Year Title Role Notes
1985 The Stuff Factory Worker Uncredited[36]
1993 Obit Writer, TheThe Obit Writer Short film
1993 Amongst Friends Laura
1993 New York Cop (Nyū Yōku no koppu)[37] Maria
1994 Quiz Show Sandra Goodwin
1994 Barcelona Marta Ferrer
1995 Sweet Nothing Monika
1995 Mighty Aphrodite Linda Ash Academy Award Winner - Best Supporting Actress
1995 Blue in the Face Young Lady
1996 Beautiful Girls Sharon Cassidy
1996 Tales of Erotica Teresa Short film The Dutch Master
1996 Tarantella Diane
1997 Romy and Michele's High School Reunion Romy White
1997 Mimic Dr. Susan Tyler
1998 Replacement Killers, TheThe Replacement Killers Meg Coburn
1998 Lulu on the Bridge Celia Burns
1998 Too Tired to Die Death/Jean
1998 Free Money Agent Karen Polarski
1999 At First Sight Amy Benic
1999 Summer of Sam Dionna
2001 Grey Zone, TheThe Grey Zone Dina
2001 Triumph of Love, TheThe Triumph of Love The Princess
2002 WiseGirls Meg Kennedy
2002 Semana santa Maria Delgado
2002 Between Strangers Natalia Bauer
2003 Gods and Generals Fanny Chamberlain
2004 Final Cut, TheThe Final Cut Delila
2006 Covert One: The Hades Factor Randi Russell Television film
2007 Reservation Road Ruth
2008 The Last Templar Tess Television miniseries
2009 Multiple Sarcasms Cari
2009 Like Dandelion Dust Wendy Porter
2009 Trouble with Cali, TheThe Trouble with Cali The Balletmaster
2009 Sweet Flame Sheila
2009 Attack on Leningrad Kate Davis
2010 Presence, TheThe Presence The Woman
2011 Angels Crest Angie
2012 Union Square Lucy
2012 Smitty Amanda
2012 Trade of Innocents Claire Becker
2013 Space Warriors Sally Hawkins
2014 Perfect Sisters Linda
2015 Quitters May Rayman
2015 Do You Believe? Samantha
2015 Chloe and Theo Monica
2016 A Christmas to Remember Jennifer Wade Television (Hallmark) film
2016 Exposed Janine Cullen
2016 Indiscretion Veronica Television film
2016 The Red Maple Leaf Marianna Palermo
2017 Waterlily Jaguar Helen


Year Title Role Notes
1992 Swans Crossing Sophia Eva McCormick De Castro 6 episodes
1994 Parallel Lives Matty Derosa Movie
1995 Buccaneers, TheThe Buccaneers Conchita Closson 5 episodes
1996 Norma Jean & Marilyn Marilyn Monroe Movie
2000 Great Gatsby, TheThe Great Gatsby Daisy Buchanan Movie
2003 Will & Grace Diane Episode "Last Ex to Brooklyn"
2005 Human Trafficking Kate Morozov Miniseries
2008 House Dr. Cate Milton Episode "Frozen"
2009 Last Templar, TheThe Last Templar Tess Chaykin Movie
2012 Finding Mrs. Claus Mrs. Claus Movie
2014 Psych Head Detective Betsy Brannigan 3 episodes
2014–15 Falling Skies Sara Recurring role (seasons 4–5)
2014 Intruders Amy Whelan Main role, 8 episodes
2015 Stalker Vicki Gregg Recurring role
2016-2017 Lady Dynamite Herself/Millicent Pratt/Jennipher Nickels/ Ranlith the Hive Queen 2 episodes
2017 Condor Marty Ross recurring[38]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Association Category Work Result
1995 Academy Awards Best Supporting Actress Mighty Aphrodite Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award Best Supporting Actress Won
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Won
National Board of Review Best Supporting Actress Won
New York Film Critics Circle Best Supporting Actress Won
Southeastern Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Won
BAFTA Actress in a Supporting Role Nominated
Chicago Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Best Supporting Actress Nominated
National Society of Film Critics Best Supporting Actress Nominated
Screen Actors Guild Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role Nominated
1996 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Norma Jean & Marilyn Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie Nominated
1997 MTV Movie Awards Best Dance Sequence Romy and Michele's High School Reunion Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Actress Mimic Nominated
2005 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Human Trafficking Nominated
2006 Women's Image Network Awards Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Human Trafficking Nominated
2009 San Diego Film Festival Best Actress Like Dandelion Dust Won

Works and publications[edit]


  1. ^ Bialas, Michael (July 10, 2012). "Mira Sorvino on Family Values, Reunions and Her Juiciest Role Yet". The Huffington Post. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Mira Sorvino". Film Reference. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  3. ^ Laurino, Maria (August 28, 1994). "The Many Screen Ethnicities of Mira Sorvino". The New York Times. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  4. ^ O'Neal, Sean (November 23, 2011). "Mira Sorvino Random Roles". A.V. Club. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  5. ^ Seal, Mark. "Mira Sorvino's Barcelona", American Way, January 1, 2001. Accessed December 18, 2013. "When Mira Sorvino arrived in Barcelona in 1994 to film a movie called Barcelona, she had a past in academia and a future in acting. Raised in Tenafly, New Jersey, she was the daughter of tough-guy character actor Paul Sorvino, who raised his kids to strive for an education instead of childhood acting careers."
  6. ^ a b c "Mira Sorvino". Biography.com. The Biography Channel. Retrieved December 28, 2016. 
  7. ^ Brennan, Sandra. "Mira Sorvino". Allmovie. Retrieved February 11, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Notable Graduates". Harvard University. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  9. ^ "The Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones". Harvard University. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  10. ^ Berardinelli, James (1993). "Review: Amongst Friends". 
  11. ^ Hinson, Hal (August 13, 1993). "Amongst Friends". Washington Post. 
  12. ^ "The 68th Academy Awards". 1996. 
  13. ^ a b c "Mira Sorvino at the HPFA". 
  14. ^ Musto, Michael (May 2002). "Mira Sorvino". Out: 40 – via Google Books.  open access publication – free to read
  15. ^ Vosmikova, Isabella (January 24, 2008). "TV Addict Interview: Mira Sorvino Guest Stars on HOUSE". 
  16. ^ a b Union Square Archived 2011-09-11 at the Wayback Machine. at Tiff.net
  17. ^ Scott, A. O. (July 12, 2012). "'Union Square,' by Nancy Savoca, With Mira Sorvino". The New York Times. 
  18. ^ Goldstein, Gary (July 13, 2012). "Review: 'Union Square' is a compelling family drama". Los Angeles Times. 
  19. ^ filmthreat.com
  20. ^ Cornet, Roth. "Mira Sorvino Joins the Cast of TNT's Falling Skies". IGN. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  21. ^ Petski, Denise (September 2, 2015). "Sarah Silverman, Jenny Slate, Mira Sorvino & More Join Netflix's 'Lady Dynamite'". Deadline. Retrieved October 16, 2017. 
  22. ^ Ryan, Joal (March 5, 1998). "Quentin and Mira Call It Quits". eonline.com. 
  23. ^ Staff (November 4, 2012). "Mira Sorvino Gives Birth to a Girl". People. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  24. ^ Archuleta, Paul (May 4, 2012). "Mira Sorvino Welcomes Daughter Lucia". People. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  25. ^ Gee, Allison (May 30, 2006). "Mira Sorvino Has a Boy". People. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  26. ^ Symons, Matt (July 13, 2009). "Mira Sorvino Welcomes Son Holden Paul Terry". Retrieved July 15, 2011. 
  27. ^ Meinwald, Jerrold; et al. (March 17, 1998). "Mirasorvone: A masked 20-ketopregnane from the defensive secretion of a diving beetle (Thermonectus marmoratus)". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences. 95 (6): 2733–2737. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.6.2733. OCLC 1607201. PMC 19637Freely accessible. PMID 9501158. 
  28. ^ "Naming a new molecule after a famous actress". 
  29. ^ Levine, Katie (September 12, 2014). "Episode 570: Nerdist Podcast: Mira Sorvino". The Nerdist Podcast.
  30. ^ Moring, Mark (October 3, 2012). "Mira Sorvino: Saving Sex Slaves". Christianity Today. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  31. ^ Goodwyn, Hannah. "Mira Sorvino on Faith and Like Dandelion Dust". Christian Broadcasting Network. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  32. ^ http://www.nndb.com/people/890/000025815/
  33. ^ Morgan, Laura (July 21, 2016). "Mira Sorvino on Selfies, Growing Up in New Jersey, and Vintage Furniture". Architectural Digest. Retrieved April 18, 2017. 
  34. ^ "Mira Sorvino aiding Amnesty International". USA Today. March 10, 2004. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  35. ^ "Spotlight on Human Trafficking with Mira Sorvino". National Conference of State Legislatures. August 10, 2011. Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  36. ^ O'Neal, Sean (November 23, 2011). "Random Roles: Mira Sorvino". avclub.com. Retrieved October 20, 2012. 
  37. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0117169/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_36
  38. ^ Kate Stanhope (2017-04-03). "Mira Sorvino to Star in Audience Network's 'Three Days of the Condor' Remake". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2017-06-02. Titled simply Condor, the drama follows Joe Turner (Max Irons), a young CIA analyst whose idealism is tested when he stumbles onto a terrible but brilliant plan that threatens the lives of millions. Sorvino will play Marty Frost, an investigator who has come out of retirement to take over after an attack at Turner’s office. 

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