Frank Anthony Vallelonga
July 30, 1930
|Died||January 4, 2013 82) (aged|
Teaneck, New Jersey, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Dolores Venere (until her death in 1999)|
|Children||2 (including Nick Vallelonga)|
Frank Anthony Vallelonga Sr. (July 30, 1930 – January 4, 2013), better known as Tony Lip, was an American actor and occasional author.
He is best known for his portrayal of crime boss Carmine Lupertazzi in the HBO series, The Sopranos . Lip portrayed real-life Bonanno crime family mobster Philip Giaccone in Donnie Brasco , and real-life Lucchese crime family mobster Francesco Manzo in Goodfellas . It was at the Copacabana nightclub that he first met Francis Ford Coppola and Louis DiGiamo, leading to a small role in The Godfather , his film debut. He also co-wrote the book Shut Up and Eat! (2005).
His life in the early 1960s, when he was the driver and bodyguard for the black classical pianist Don Shirley, was dramatized in the 2018 film, Green Book , where he was portrayed by Viggo Mortensen.
Frank Anthony Vallelonga was born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania,the son of Italian parents, Nazarena and Nicholas Vallelonga. His family moved to the Bronx when he was an infant, and he grew up on 215th Street near the boyhood home of John Gotti. He earned the nickname "Lip" in his childhood, as a reference to his reputation for having the ability to talk people into doing things he wanted them to do.
From 1951 to 1953, he served in the United States Army and was stationed in Germany.He worked at the Copacabana nightclub, starting in 1961, as maître d'hôtel and supervisor, and met many famous people.
He was working as a bouncer when he was hired to drive and protect pianist Don Shirley on a tour through the Jim Crow South from 1962 to 1963.This tour is the basis of the 2018 film Green Book , co-written by Lip's son Nick Vallelonga, in which Lip is portrayed by Viggo Mortensen.
Lip resided in Paramus, New Jersey, with his wife, Dolores Vallelonga (née Venere), who died in 1999.
Lip died at age 82 on January 4, 2013, in Teaneck, New Jersey. He was survived by his sons, Nick Vallelonga and Frank Vallelonga Jr., brother Rudy Vallelonga and one grandson.
Zips is a slang term in the United States that was especially in use in the early 20th century. It was often used as a derogatory slur by Italian American and Sicilian American mobsters in reference to newer immigrant Sicilian and Italian mafiosi. The mobsters in the US were said to have difficulty understanding the Sicilian dialects of the new immigrants, in which words appeared to "zip" by. Other theories include pejorative uses, such as Sicilians' preference for homemade zip guns. According to still another theory, the term is a contraction of the Sicilian slang term for "hicks" or "primitives". The older Sicilian mafiosi of the pre-Prohibition era, known as "Mustache Petes", were also referred to as "zips". They were deposed by American-born mobsters during the Castellammarese War.
Dominick Napolitano, also known as Sonny Black, was an American Mafia caporegime in the Bonanno crime family. He is well known for unwittingly allowing Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Joseph D. Pistone to become an associate in his crew and nearly getting him made.
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Joseph Dominick Pistone, also known by his undercover alias Donnie Brasco, is an American former FBI agent who worked undercover between September 1976 and July 1981, as part of an infiltration primarily into the Bonanno crime family, and to a lesser extent the Colombo crime family, two of the Five Families of the Mafia in New York City. Pistone was an FBI agent for 17 years, from 1969 until he resigned in 1986. The evidence collected by Pistone led to over 200 indictments and over 100 convictions of Mafia members—and some responsible for his infiltration were also killed by other mobsters.
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Green Book is a 2018 American biographical comedy-drama buddy film directed by Peter Farrelly. Set in 1962, the film is inspired by the true story of a tour of the Deep South by African American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley and Italian American bouncer Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga who served as Shirley's driver and bodyguard. The film was written by Farrelly, Brian Hayes Currie and Vallelonga's son, Nick Vallelonga, based on interviews with his father and Shirley, as well as letters his father wrote to his mother. The film is named after The Negro Motorist Green Book, a mid-20th century guidebook for African-American travelers written by Victor Hugo Green.
Nick Vallelonga is an American actor, screenwriter, producer, and film director. He is best known for co-writing and producing the film Green Book, for which he received two Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Picture. He also won two Golden Globes in the same categories, as well as the PGA Award for Best Film. He has also directed the films In the Kingdom of the Blind, the Man with One Eye Is King, Choker and Stiletto, and co-wrote the screenplay to Deadfall.