How did Frank Vallelonga Jr die? Body of ‘Green Book’ actor, 60, was tossed out of a car in the Bronx
THE BRONX, NEW YORK CITY: The overdose victim whose body was abandoned in the Bronx has been identified as 'Green Book' actor Frank Vallelonga Jr, said a police report. After being thrown out of a car, the 60-year-old actor's body was found on the morning of November 28 at Hunts Point near a sheet metal production facility, said police.
Although the exact cause of his death is still unknown, early indications point to an overdose, according to law enforcement authorities who spoke to the New York Post. Police arrested Steven Smith, 35, and charged him with concealing a human corpse a day after the horrifying discovery. The actor was the namesake son of the Copacabana bouncer, also known as Tony Lip who was represented by Viggo Mortensen in the movie ‘Green Book.’ The movie is based on the true account of the elder Vallelonga's 1962 car trip through the segregated South with black musician Don Shirley. In the Academy Award-winning film, Vallelonga Jr also played his uncle Rudy Vallelonga.
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According to a police spokeswoman, Smith was allegedly seen on security footage throwing Vallelonga Jr's body from a vehicle. The spokesman stated that the suspect is alleged to have confessed while being questioned by police about a different case they are looking into, reported New York Post. Although, it was not immediately known what happened in the other incident. The formal cause of Vallelonga Jr's death is still being investigated by the medical examiner because his body lacked any clear evidence of trauma. A source claimed that Vallelonga Jr had been collaborating in some way with his younger brother and director Nick Vallelonga, on the film ‘That's Amore’ before his death.
The ‘Green Book’ script, depicting their father's journey through the South, was written by Nick Vallelonga. It was named best film at the 2019 Academy Awards. Some commentators criticized the film's Oscar victory at the time, asserting that it supported preconceptions of white heroes. In ‘The Sopranos,’ Carmine Lupertazzi was portrayed by Vallelonga Sr while he was in his 70s. Vallelonga Sr was the inspiration for ‘Green Book’ and eventually transitioned from a doorman to an actor. Vallelonga Jr also had a few lesser appearances in other productions such as in an episode of ‘The Sopranos,’ 2018 TV show ‘The Neighborhood’ and 2020 series 'Gravesend.’