The Sopranos and the 2019 Best Picture winner “Green Book” actor Frank Vallelonga Jr. was discovered dead outside a sheet metal production company in the Bronx, New York, on Monday, the New York Police Department said in a statement. He was 60.
Police told HuffPost that when they arrived, they found an unidentified adult male lying on the ground, unconscious and unresponsive. “I saw no overt signs of trauma on the male. The male was declared dead at the scene by EMS after they arrived.
According to the Los Angeles Times, police said they have not yet determined the cause of death, but they have arrested and charged 35-year-old Bronx resident Steven Smith with concealing a human corpse. The actor’s driver, the Smith, claimed Vallelonga overdosed.
According to a criminal complaint that the New York Daily News was able to obtain, Smith reportedly told police that “that dude was dead already.” He took too much. I was not involved in that in any way.
Police claim that a car with New Jersey license plates stopped outside a Hunts Point factory at 1243 Oak Point based on eyewitness accounts and security footage. According to the Daily News, someone removed Vallelonga’s body from the passenger seat and dumped it on the sidewalk. At 3:51 on Monday morning, Vallelonga’s body was discovered.
The actor, who also appeared in "The Sopranos," was found outside a sheet metal manufacturing facility Monday. The investigation into his death is ongoing. https://t.co/HAztEPQGea
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) December 2, 2022
According to the criminal complaint, Smith informed police, “I took the body out by pulling him out of the car on the floor.”
In “Green Book,” written by his brother Nick and based on the life of their father, Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, an Italian American bouncer hired to accompany Don Shirley, a Black pianist, on a tour through the Jim Crow South, Vallelonga played his real-life uncle, Rudy Vallelonga.
According to People, Vallelonga Sr. starred in a number of classic gangster films and television shows, including “The Godfather,” “Goodfellas,” and “Donnie Brasco.” Vallelonga Jr., who ran Tony Lip’s Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria in New Jersey, was well-remembered by his associates.
“He was a good man. He was a lot of fun, Lydia Pagano, who resides on the former Vallelonga block, told the Daily News. He cherished social interactions. At the restaurant, he would sing all of the classic songs by Frank Sinatra.
Vincent Pastore, Vallelonga’s “Sopranos” co-star, told the publication, “I loved the guy. About six months ago, Frankie attended one of my acting classes in the city, which was the last time I saw him.
Deadline reports that Vallelonga is survived by his wife, Angela, son, Frank, and brother, Nick.