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The actor, who was 60, portrayed a relative of Viggo Mortensen’s bouncer, Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga. He was the son of the real-life Frank Vallelonga.
The police found Vallelonga Jr., unconscious and unresponsive but with no observable trauma, early Monday morning on the ground outside of a sheet-metal factory.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The investigation is ongoing, and the medical examiner will determine the cause of death, but someone has been arrested and charged with concealment of a human corpse.
Vallelonga Jr.’s manager, Melissa Prophet, also confirmed his death to THR.
His other recent credits include crime film The Birthday Cake (2021), which starred Val Kilmer and Ewan McGregor, and a 2018 episode of CBS’ The Neighborhood. He also appeared in a 2004 episode of The Sopranos.
Green Book tells the fact-based story of a 1962 tour through the Jim Crow-era South for Black pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) and his Italian American driver and bodyguard, Tony Lip. Vallelonga Jr. played his own real-life uncle Rudy Vallelonga in the movie. The film was nominated for five Oscars at the 2019 ceremony and won three: for best picture, best supporting actor for Ali and best original screenplay.
The film, which divided some critics over its depictions of race and biographical elements about Shirley, counts Vallelonga Jr.’s younger brother Nick Vallelonga as a producer and co-writer.
Vallelonga Sr., who died in 2013 at 82, also did some acting, with roles in The Sopranos, Goodfellas and even a don’t-blink role in The Godfather, where Nick Vallelonga also made his film debut. Nick Vallelonga also has acting credits in The Many Saints of Newark, Coyote Ugly, Prizzi’s Honor and Splash, among other roles.
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