Since her first leading role, as a convict's loyal girlfriend, in her friend Rob Weiss' debut film Amongst Friends (1993), Mira Sorvino has been on the fast track to stardom, playing a wide variety of multifaceted characters. Her breakthrough role displayed her willingness and ability to take on unusual parts; Sorvino shocked and delighted audiences as a crass New York streetwalker in Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite (1995). The stretch paid off, not only did her performance steal the show, it also earned Sorvino an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Born in Tenafly, NJ, on September 28, 1967, Sorvino is the daughter of character actor Paul Sorvino, best known for roles in films like Martin Scorsese's Goodfellas (1990). Initially, her father attempted to steer Sorvino and her two siblings away from the acting profession. He was particularly adamant that his offspring not do any professional acting during childhood, so Sorvino contented herself with appearing in various school productions. Following her high school graduation, she earned a degree in East Asian Studies from Harvard University; she spent one year of her education as an exchange student in Beijing, China, where she became fluent in Mandarin.