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02nd Dec 2022

‘Sopranos’ star found dead in the street

Steve Hopkins

A man is now facing eight charges including concealment of a human corpse

Green Book and The Sopranos actor Frank Vallelonga Jr has been found dead.

The 60-year-old was found dumped in the street in the Bronx.

According to Fox News, Vallelonga’s representative confirmed his death, saying: “It’s a terrible tragedy. He was an incredible guy and a great actor.”

According to Variety, the body was found on the ground, and police arrived on the scene at 4am on Monday after a 911 caller reported seeing it near a factory.

Fox News reported that police said there were no obvious signs of trauma, and that Vallelonga Jr was pronounced dead at the scene. The actor’s cause of death has not yet been determined.

Police have arrested Steven Smith, 35, who’s faced with eight charges including concealment of a human corpse and possession of a stolen vehicle.

The NYPD said in a statement: “The male had no obvious signs of trauma observed. “EMS responded to the location and pronounced the male deceased at the scene.

“Upon arrival, police observed an unidentified adult male, unconscious and unresponsive, on the ground at the location. “The Medical Examiner will determine the cause of death. The investigation is ongoing.”

Vallelonga has more than half a dozen acting credits since 1994, with Green Book being the most prominent. The film was based on a 1962 tour of the South by black pianist Don Shirley and Tony Lip, who was Shirley’s driver and bodyguard, and Vallelonga Jr’s father. The film won three Oscars in 2019, including Best Picture.

Lip was played by Viggo Mortensen, while Vallelonga played his own real-life uncle Rudy Vallelonga. Lip later in life became known as an actor and portrayed mob boss Carmine Lupertazzi on The Sopranos in 2004.

The full synopsis for Green Book reads: “Dr Don Shirley is a world-class African-American pianist, who is about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962.

“In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip, a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighbourhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation.”

Paying tribute to the actor, one person wrote: “He presented at my son’s film school before the pandemic. Seemed like a great guy. Very gracious! RIP.”

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