Actor Frank Vallelonga Jr. was found dead in the Bronx on Monday, and a suspect has been charged with dumping his body in the street. Vallelonga Jr. was 60 years old.
According to a report from entertainment website TMZ, police were initially called to check on an unconscious man early Monday morning outside a sheet-metal factory in Hunts Point. Finding him unresponsive, they dispatched emergency crews, but the man was pronounced dead a short time later. The body was later identified as Vallelonga Jr., who is best known for his work in the Oscar-winning film “Green Book.”
'Green Book' actor Frank Vallelonga Jr. has been found dead in New York from a suspected overdose. https://t.co/pMjxHViWKJ
— TMZ (@TMZ) December 1, 2022
According to multiple reports, Vallelonga Jr.’s body was dumped from a vehicle that was owned by his brother, Nick Vallelonga, onto the street. A 35-year-old man named Steven Smith has already been charged with concealment of a human corpse after surveillance video allegedly caught him in the act of dumping the body — and Nick Vallelonga informed law enforcement that Smith did not have permission to drive the car.
Smith reportedly told police that Vallelonga Jr. had overdosed, but the official cause of death has not yet been determined by the medical examiner’s office.
Vallelonga Jr. was the son of the late “Sopranos” actor Frank Anthony Vallelonga Sr. — best known by his stage name “Tony Lip” — who played crime boss Carmine Lupertazzi in the popular HBO series. Often type-cast as a mobster, Tony Lip also played Philip Giaccone in “Donnie Brasco” and took on the role of real-life Lucchese mobster Francesco Manzo in “Goodfellas.”
Tony Lip’s real life — specifically a road trip he took with black pianist Don Shirley through the Deep South while it was still segregated — was the inspiration for the film “Green Book,” which was co-written and produced by Nick Vallelonga.
Vallelonga Jr. played the role of his real-life uncle Rudy Vallelonga in the film, and Viggo Mortenson played Tony Lip. The film won Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Mahershala Ali took home an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. In addition, Mortenson was nominated for Best Actor and the film was nominated for the Best Editing statuette.