Lillo Brancato, Jr.
|Lillo Brancato, Jr.|
March 30, 1976 |
|Years active||1993 – 2007|
Lillo Brancato, Jr. (born March 30, 1976) is a Colombian-born American former actor, known for his performance as "Calogero Anello" in Robert De Niro's 1993 directorial debut, A Bronx Tale. He also played Matthew Bevilaqua, a young mobster on The Sopranos.
In December 2005, Brancato was charged with second-degree murder for his role in a burglary in the Bronx, New York in which an off-duty police officer, Daniel Enchautegui, confronted two burglars and was killed in a shootout. Brancato was subsequently acquitted of murder, but was convicted of first-degree attempted burglary and sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released on parole on December 31, 2013. Co-defendant Steven Armento was convicted of firing the fatal shot in a separate trial and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Brancato was born in Bogotá, Colombia. Adopted when he was four months old, he was raised by Italian-American parents, Lillo, Sr., (a builder) and Domenica (an electrolysist), in Yonkers, New York. Brancato studied at Mount Saint Michael Academy. His adoptive brother, Vinny, briefly worked as a fashion model and now works as a Yonkers civil servant. Lillo is the third cousin of American songwriter/lyricist Gregory France-Brancato.
Although he was born in Colombia, Brancato has said, "I consider myself Italian. I was raised to eat pasta". Brancato was discovered while swimming at Jones Beach by a talent scout who noticed Brancato's resemblance to Robert De Niro. Brancato was a fan of De Niro's and impressed the scout with an impression of Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. This won him the role of De Niro's son in A Bronx Tale.
Brancato acted in three films in the mid-1990s, prior to joining the cast of The Sopranos. In A Bronx Tale in 1993 he played the main character "C", a teenager torn between his father and a mob boss who befriended him as a kid. (According to New York Magazine, Brancato earned $25,000 for the role.) He also starred alongside Gregory Hines, Danny DeVito, and Mark Wahlberg in the 1994 movie Renaissance Man. In 1995, he played a minor role in Crimson Tide with Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman.
In the second season of The Sopranos, which HBO broadcast in 2000, Brancato starred as Matthew Bevilaqua, a young mobster associated with Tony Soprano's crime syndicate. Bevilaqua first appeared in the second season premiere, "Guy Walks into a Psychiatrist's Office...", and appeared in five more episodes, the last one being "Bust Out", However, he was murdered in the previous episode, "From Where to Eternity". Brancato also played a mobster in the TV series Falcone, which debuted in 2000. In 2001, Brancato starred opposite fellow Sopranos cast member Drea de Matteo in Abel Ferrara's 'R Xmas.
Arrests, Conviction, and Incarceration
On June 10, 2005, Brancato was arrested by the Yonkers Police Department, in Yonkers, New York, and charged with seventh-degree misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance. According to press reports, police pulled Brancato over for having a rear brake light out and found he had an expired registration and no other papers for the vehicle. He gave police permission to look in a cigarette box, where they found four bags of heroin.
On December 10, 2005, Brancato was arrested by the New York City Police Department in the Bronx on suspicion of murdering off-duty police officer Daniel Enchautegui. Enchautegui had served with the New York City Police Department for three years and was assigned to the 40th Precinct in the Bronx. Enchautegui confronted Brancato and his accomplice, 48-year-old Steven Armento, outside at a vacant house located at 3119 Arnow Place, next to his own, after hearing glass break. While Enchautegui waited for backup, a gunfight erupted and Enchautegui was shot. He was later taken to Jacobi Medical Center, where he died. Police arrested Brancato and Armento in the vicinity, both with multiple gunshot wounds and in critical condition.
Armento, who is the father of Brancato's girlfriend Stefanie, was arraigned on first-degree murder, for which he was convicted on October 30, 2008. Armento was later sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Brancato was arraigned for second-degree murder, and his trial began on November 17, 2008. On December 22, 2008, a jury found him not guilty of murder, but found him guilty of first-degree attempted burglary. On January 9, 2009, a judge sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
Brancato was incarcerated as state inmate #09A0227 in the Oneida Correctional Facility in Rome, New York, and was subsequently transferred to the Hudson Correctional Facility. On December 31, 2013, he was released on parole. His release was celebrated by friends and family in Pelham Bay, NY.
|1993||A Bronx Tale||Calogero "C" Anello (age 17)|
|1994||Renaissance Man||Pvt. Donnie Benitez|
|1995||Crimson Tide||Petty Officer Third Class Russell Vossler|
|1998||Enemy of the State||Young Worker|
|The Sopranos||Matthew Bevilaqua|
|2001||In the Shadows||Jimmy Pierazzi|
|'R Xmas||The Husband|
|2002||The Real Deal||Samy Saxo|
|The Adventures of Pluto Nash||Larry|
|2004||Downtown: A Street Tale||Lenny|
|2005||Searching for Bobby D||Bobby|
|2007||Saturday Morning||Alan Delucci|
- Inmate Population Information Search, from the website of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Retrieved on July 10, 2012.
- "Murder trial scheduled for 'Sopranos' actor". International Herald Tribune. 2008-11-08.
- "Lillo Brancato Biography (1976-)". Film Reference.com.
- Fishman, Steve (6 March 2006). "The Lost Soprano". New York.
- Associated Press (2005-12-10). "Shooting suspect was once a rising star". Newsday.
- Fishman, Steve (2006-02-27). "The Lost Soprano". New York.
- Steve Fishman (6 March 2006). "The Lost Soprano". New York Magazine. p. 5.
- "The Officer Down Memorial Page: Detective Daniel Enchautegui". The Officer Down Memorial Page.
- Wilson, Michael (2005-12-13). "Did Suspects Know Victim Was an Officer? Police Say Statements Differ". New York Times.
- Chan, Sewell; Mathew R. Warren (2008-12-22). "Ex-Actor Acquitted of Officer's Murder". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-22.
- Eligon, John (2009-01-09). "10-Year Sentence for ‘Sopranos’ Actor". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- Tom Hays, Former 'Sopranos' Actor Brancato Gets Parole, Associated Press, from ABCNews.com (December 31, 2013). Retrieved on January 4, 2014.