In a case of life imitating art, an actor who appeared on The Sopranos appears to be a victim of a violent hit.
A body that was found dumped from a car outside a factory in the Bronx early Monday has been identified as that of actor Frank Vallelonga Jr.
Vallelonga, 60, was the son of The Sopranos actor Frank Vallelonga, more commonly known by his stage name, Tony Lip.
Prior to his acting career, Lip, a bouncer at the Copacabana nightclub, was hired in the 1960s by jazz musician Don Shirley to be his driver and bodyguard while on tour.
Their time on the road together was the inspiration for the Oscar-winning 2018 film Green Book, which starred Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, and was written by Lip’s other son, Nick Vallelonga.
Frank Vallelonga Jr. appeared in the film, portraying his own uncle, Rudy Vallelonga.
Vallelonga’s acting credits also include 2021 film The Birthday Cake and an episode of The Sopranos in 2004.
Vallelonga’s cause of death has not yet been determined, but law enforcement sources told the New York Post he likely died of an overdose. Police told BuzzFeed News he was pronounced dead at the scene, and “no obvious signs of trauma” were observed.
Vallelonga may have been experiencing homelessness, according to police.
A Bronx man believed to have been the driver who dumped Vallelonga’s body from the car has been arrested. Steven Smith, 35, has been charged with concealment of a human corpse.
“The investigation remains ongoing at this time,” police said.
A spokesperson for the family said Vallelonga is survived by his wife, Angela, and 17-year-old son, Frank.
“The Vallelonga family asks for privacy in their time of grief,” the spokesperson said.