(RoyalPatriot.com )- On Monday, actor Frank Vallelonga Jr. was discovered dead in the Bronx, and a suspect has been charged with dumping his body in the street. Vallelonga Jr. was 60 years old when he died.
According to the entertainment website TMZ, police were initially summoned to check on an unconscious man outside a sheet-metal factory in Hunts Point early Monday morning. They contacted emergency workers after discovering him unresponsive, but he was pronounced dead shortly afterward. Vallelonga Jr., well known for his work in the Oscar-winning picture “Green Book,” was discovered dead.
According to various sources, Vallelonga Jr.’s body was dropped onto the street from a vehicle owned by his brother, Nick Vallelonga. Steven Smith, 35, has already been charged with concealment of a human corpse after a surveillance camera reportedly caught him in the process of dumping the body — and Nick Vallelonga alerted police that Smith did not have permission to drive the automobile.
The surveillance video shows Smith getting out of his car, pulling a body from the passenger side, dropping it onto the sidewalk, and driving away. According to investigators, the suspect stated, “That dude was dead already. He overdosed. I didn’t have anything to do with that.”
Smith reportedly told authorities that Vallelonga Jr. overdosed, but the medical examiner’s office has not determined the official cause of death.
Vallelonga Jr. was the son of late “Sopranos” actor Frank Anthony Vallelonga Sr., better known as “Tony Lip,” who played mafia lord Carmine Lupertazzi in the hit HBO series. Tony Lip, frequently cast as a mobster, also played Philip Giaccone in “Donnie Brasco” and real-life Lucchese mobster Francesco Manzo in “Goodfellas.”
The film “Green Book,” co-written and produced by Nick Vallelonga, was inspired by Tony Lip’s real life, notably a road trip he did with black pianist Don Shirley through the Deep South while it was still segregated.
In the film, Vallelonga Jr. played his real-life uncle Rudy Vallelonga, while Viggo Mortenson played Tony Lip. The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Mahershala Ali was named Best Supporting Actor. Furthermore, Mortenson was nominated for Best Actor, while the film was nominated for Best Editing.