Lillo Brancato Jr.
|Lillo Brancato Jr.|
August 30, 1976|
|Other names||Lillo Brancato|
|Years active||1993–2007, 2014–present|
|Criminal charge||first-degree attempted burglary|
|Criminal penalty||10 years in prison|
|Criminal status||paroled December 31, 2013|
Lillo Brancato Jr. (born August 30, 1976) is an American 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. His criminal co-defendant was convicted of firing the fatal shot.
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.
Although he was born in Colombia, Brancato has said, "I consider myself Italian. I was raised to eat pasta". Brancato was discovered in 1992, while swimming at New York’s Jones Beach, by a talent scout who noticed Brancato's resemblance to Robert De Niro. Brancato was a fan of De Niro 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 the 1993 film A Bronx Tale, he played the main character Calogero 'C' Anello, 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 ($42,400 today) for the role.) He appeared in the 1994 movie Renaissance Man, followed by a minor but climatic role as a radio operator in the 1995 film Crimson Tide.
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, his character 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 in 'R Xmas, appearing with fellow Sopranos cast member Drea de Matteo.
Brancato’s last film before being charged in 2005 for the murder of a policeman (see below) was Saturday Morning, released in 2007. The director, whose brother-in-law is a policeman, edited down all of Brancato’s scenes during post-production.
After his 2013 release from prison, Brancato’s first feature film was the production Back in The Day (2016), which received poor reviews during its perfunctory theatrical release, quickly moving to video on demand.
Arrests, conviction, and incarceration
Shortly after his 1992 introduction to show business, while still an underaged teenager, Brancato had started using drugs and alcohol. By the time he was in his 20s, Brancato was a cocaine and heroin addict.
On June 10, 2005, Brancato was arrested by the Yonkers Police Department, in Yonkers, New York. Officers originally 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. He was charged with a seventh-degree Class A misdemeanor for criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Six months later, on December 10, 2005, Brancato was arrested by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) in the Bronx for the murder of 28-year-old police officer Daniel Enchautegui, who was at home and off-duty at the time of his death. Enchautegui had served with the NYPD for three years and was assigned to the 40th Precinct in the Bronx. Enchautegui confronted Brancato (then 29) and his accomplice, Steven Armento (48), outside 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.
Brancato was charged with 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. While in prison, Brancato continued his drug use, suffering a heroin overdose on at least one occasion. On December 31, 2013, he was released on parole.
|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|
|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|
|2015||The Bronx Dahmer||Joey||Short film|
|2016||Back in the Day||Nicky|
|Vamp Bikers Tres||Tony|
|2017||Man of the House||Desk Clerk||Short film|
|Dead on Arrival||Zanca|
|1997||Firehouse||Gaetano Luvullo||TV movie|
|1999||Dead Man's Gun||Gulseppe Guissipini||Episode: "The Vine"|
|2000||The Sopranos||Matthew Bevilaqua||Episodes: "Guy Walks Into a Psychiatrist's Office"|
"Do Not Resuscitate"
"The Happy Wanderer"
"Full Leather Jacket"
"From Where to Eternity"
|2001||Hostage Rescue Team||Special Agent Tom Monteleone||TV movie|
|2002||NYPD Blue||Gary Montaneri||Episode: "Dead Meat in New Deli"|
- 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 (2006-02-27). "The Lost Soprano". New York.
- Associated Press (2005-12-10). "Shooting suspect was once a rising star". Newsday.
- Falcone, Dana Rose; McNeil, Liz (2017-10-17). "How Sopranos Star Lillo Brancato Descended into Addiction and Violence – And His Life After Prison". People. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
- Widdicombe, Ben (2007-05-21). "Film now a tough cell". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
- Tracy, Thomas; Adams Otis, Ginger (2015-03-24). "Lillo Brancato lands first movie role in 'Back In The Day' following jail stint; police union head calls for boycott". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
- Rechtshaffen, Michael (2016-05-20). "'Back in the Day' is a punch-drunk retread of much better boxing dramas". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2018-06-03.
- Saland, Jeremy (2010-02-08). "New York Penal Law 220.03 – Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree & Your Criminal Defense: Does Quantity of the Drug Matter?". New York Criminal Attorneys, Crotty Saland PC. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
- "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". The New York Times.
- Chan, Sewell; Mathew R. Warren (2008-12-22). "Ex-Actor Acquitted of Officer's Murder". The 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.