‘Green Book’ actor Frank Vallelonga Jr. found dead
TMZ is reporting actor Frank Vallelonga Jr., who's most known for his work in "Green Book," has died. The New York Post is reporting his body was found dumped in the Bronx. His cause of death is still being determined, but according to law enforcement, it appears to be an overdose.
According to police, the 60-year-old actor's body was discovered outside a sheet-metal manufacturing factory in Hunts Point early Monday after being tossed out of a vehicle.
The police have a suspect. According to the Post:
"A day after the grim discovery, police nabbed Steven Smith, 35, and charged him with concealment of a human corpse.
Smith was allegedly caught on surveillance video dumping Vallelonga Jr.’s body from the car, a police spokesman said."
Vallelonga Jr. is best known for his work in "Green Book," which was the story of his father, Frank Vallonga Sr.'s, 1962 road trip through the deep south with black pianist, Dr. Don Shirley.
"Green Book," written by Frank Jr's brother, Nick, received the Academy Award for Best Picture, and Best Original Screen Play. Frank Vallelonga Sr., aka Tony Lipp, would later play Carmine Lupertazzi Sr. in "The Sopranos."
Vallelonga Jr. was a guest on my New Jersey 101.5 show and talked about the film:
"Well growing up, he told the story," Frank said. "We'd be sitting around the table and he would tell us about the trip, the story, Don Shirley...this is a story that we knew and my brother [Nick] put it on paper and the rest is history. We heard the stories for many years."
The story also shaped Vallelonga's views on racism:
"Growing up in the house as you see in the movie, you always heard those Italian racial remarks," Frank said. "From that point on, after that trip, you can never say a thing about a black person or any other race."
Among Vallelonga's other roles were "The Sopranos," "The Neighborhood" TV series and "Gravesend."
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.
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