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Mira Sorvino

Sorvino at the 2007 Toronto International Film Festival
Born Mira Katherine Sorvino
September 28, 1967 (1967-09-28) (age 42)
Tenafly, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1994–present
Spouse(s) Christopher Backus (2004-present)

Mira Katherine Sorvino (born September 28, 1967) is an American actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Mighty Aphrodite (1995).


Early life

Sorvino was born in Tenafly, New Jersey. She is the daughter of Lorraine Davis, a drama therapist for Alzheimer's disease patients and former actress, and Paul Sorvino, an Italian American character actor and director.[1][2] She has two siblings, Michael and Amanda, a playwright.

Her father did not want his children to become actors; at a young age, however, Sorvino wrote and acted in backyard plays with her childhood friend Hope Davis, in theater productions at Dwight-Englewood School, and at Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude in East Asian Studies. She also helped found the Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones, one of Harvard's premier co-ed a cappella groups. Her solo piece was Yaz's "Only You"


Sorvino spent the next three years in New York City, trying to make a name for herself as an actress. When the 1993 film Amongst Friends entered pre-production, 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[3][4] opened doors for her.

Sorvino at the 2000 Cannes Festival

After small but showy 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 an all-around sex worker with an idiosyncratic voice boosted her name, and she even won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress. Other credits include Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (opposite Lisa Kudrow) and At First Sight with Val Kilmer. She portrayed Marilyn Monroe for the 1996 HBO film Norma Jean & Marilyn.

In recent years, Sorvino has starred in lower budget and independent films. In 2005, she received a Golden Globe nomination for her role as an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent in the Lifetime film Human Trafficking.

In February 2008 she guest starred in the eleventh episode of the fourth season of the medical television drama House. There was talk of making her character, psychiatrist Cate Milton, a recurring character; however, the writers strike put a temporary freeze on such discussions.[5]

Personal life

Sorvino is 1.78 m (5'10") tall.[citation needed] She met actor Christopher Backus at a friend's charades party in August 2003: "He walked into the kitchen looking for silverware. We saw each other and something made us want to talk to each other more," she told People.[6] They were engaged within a month. 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. Their daughter, Mattea Angel, was born on November 3, 2004[7] and their son, Johnny Christopher King, was born on May 29, 2006.[8] On June 22, 2009, Sorvino gave birth to a boy named Holden Paul Terry Backus, after a long and complicated pregnancy.[9] She has also dated director Quentin Tarantino and French actor Olivier Martinez.[10]

She is affiliated with Amnesty International, and has been among the many Hollywood celebrities calling for United Nations action in Darfur. She spent a year of study in Beijing while attending Harvard. She is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and also speaks French.[11]

In October 2006, she was evicted from her rent-stabilized one-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan near Central Park when her landlord claimed that it was not her primary residence. She told New York magazine, “My landlords are selling the building, and they want the units cleared so they can turn it into a luxury rental, even though it’s a one-bedroom. I mean, it’s 600 square feet! No great digs, but I loved it and now it’s probably going to go for $4,000 a month ... I’m a little bitter! Can you tell?”

In honor of Sorvino's role as Dr. 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.[12]


Year Film Role Notes
1993 The Obit Writer
Amongst Friends Laura
Nyû Yôku no koppu Maria
1994 Quiz Show Sandra Goodwin
Barcelona Marta Ferrer
The Dutch Master Teresa
1995 Mighty Aphrodite Linda Ash Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture,
National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated - Screen Actors Guild Award - Best Supporting Actress
Blue in the Face Young Lady
The Buccaneers Conchita Closson
1996 Norma Jean & Marilyn Marilyn Monroe Nominated - Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
Beautiful Girls Sharon Cassidy
Tales of Erotica Teresa segment "The Dutch Master"
Sweet Nothing Monika
Tarantella Diane
1997 Romy and Michele's High School Reunion Romy White
Mimic Dr. Susan Tyler
1998 The Replacement Killers Meg Coburn
Lulu on the Bridge Celia Burns
Too Tired to Die Death/Jean
Free Money Agent Karen Polarski
1999 At First Sight Amy Benic
Summer of Sam Dionna
2000 The Great Gatsby Daisy Buchanan
2001 The Grey Zone Dina
The Triumph of Love The Princess/Phocion/Aspasie
2002 WiseGirls Meg Kennedy
Semana Santa Maria Delgado
2003 Gods and Generals Fanny Chamberlain
2004 The Final Cut Delila
2005 Human Trafficking Kate Morozov Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress In A Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television
2006 Covert One: The Hades Factor Rachel Russell
2007 Reservation Road Ruth
Leningrad Kate Davis
2008 House Dr. Cate Milton Episode "Frozen"
2009 The Last Templar Tess Chaykin
Multiple Sarcasms Cari completed
Like Dandelion Dust Wendy Porter completed
The Trouble with Cali The Balletmaster post-production
The Presence The Woman post-production
Sweet Flame Sheila filming


  1. ^ "Mira Sorvino Biography (1967?-)". Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  2. ^ Maria Laurino (August 28, 1994). "FILM; The Many Screen Ethnicities of Mira Sorvino". New York Times. 
  3. ^ James Berardinelli (1993). "Review: Amongst Friends". 
  4. ^ Hal Hinson (August 13, 1993). "Amongst Friends". Washington Post. 
  5. ^ Isabella Vosmikova (2008-01-24). "TV Addict Interview: Mira Sorvino Guest Stars on HOUSE". 
  6. ^ Alison Gee (May 30, 2006). "Mira Sorvino Has a Boy". People.,,1184237,00.html. 
  7. ^ Mira Sorvino Gives Birth to a Girl - Pregnancy, Mira Sorvino :
  8. ^,,1184237,00.html
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Tavis Smiley Archives: Mira Sorvino". 2005-10-12. 
  12. ^ Jerrold Meinwald; 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, D.C.: National Academy of Sciences) 95 (6): 2733–2737. doi:10.1073/pnas.95.6.2733. OCLC 1607201. PMID 9501158. 

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