'Green Book' actor and former Bergen County restaurateur found dead on NYC street
Frank Vallelonga Jr., an actor who appeared in the Oscar-winning 2018 film "Green Book," has been found dead, the New York Police Department confirmed. He was 60.
Vallelonga was the former owner on Tony Lip's Italian Restaurant and Pizza in Franklin Lakes.
"This is a sad and completely shocking tragedy," Vallelonga's manager Melissa Prophet said in a statement. "Frank was a great guy, father, brother, actor and friend. He will be missed terribly."
NYPD said officers responded to a 911 call around 4 a.m. Monday about an unconscious male in the Bronx, New York. Officers found the man unresponsive with no obvious signs of trauma, and Emergency Medical Services pronounced him dead at the scene.
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On Wednesday, NYPD said a 35-year-old male named Steven Smith has been arrested and charged with concealment of a human corpse in relation to the incident. The deceased was identified as Vallelonga Thursday.
The investigation remains ongoing, and the Medical Examiner will determine Vallelonga's cause of death, NYPD said.
Vallelonga's other film credits included "The Birthday Cake," "All In" and "The Signs of the Cross." He also appeared in the television shows "Gravesend," "The Neighborhood" and "The Sopranos."
Vallelonga had a special connection to "Green Book," which won the Academy Award for best picture in 2019. The film chronicles the real-life story of Vallelonga's Italian American father Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga, played by Viggo Mortensen, serving as a driver for Don Shirley, a renowned Black classical pianist played by Mahershala Ali, in 1962. In the film, Vallelonga played his own uncle, Rudy Vallelonga.
"It's a really great story, and the movie is unbelievable," Frank Vallelonga Jr. told The Record in 2019. "Not only because it's my father's story. It's the way they portray it, and the actors, and the way it was shot, and the way the movie flows."
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Green Book' actor Frank Vallelonga Jr. found dead in New York City