Tony Lip

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Tony Lip
Tony lip actor.jpg
Lip in 2010
Frank Anthony Vallelonga

(1930-07-30)July 30, 1930
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania or New York
DiedJanuary 4, 2013(2013-01-04) (aged 82)
ResidenceParamus, New Jersey
OccupationActor, author
Years active1972–2008
Spouse(s)Dolores Vallelonga
(m. 19??; d. 1999 and has a grand son and a great niece and nephew, Lauren Vallelonga and a great nephew Joseph Vallelonga.

Tony Lip (born Frank Anthony Vallelonga; July 30, 1930 – January 4, 2013)[1] was an American actor and occasional author, best known for his portrayal of crime boss Carmine Lupertazzi in the HBO series The Sopranos.

He 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 where he first met Francis Ford Coppola and Louis DiGiamo, leading to a small role in The Godfather, his film debut. He also co-wrote his own book in 2005 named Shut Up And Eat! His time in the 1960s when he was the driver and bodyguard for the African-American classical pianist Don Shirley is dramatized in the 2018 film Green Book.[2]

Early life[edit]

Lip was born in either Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania or New York,[3] the son of Italian parents, Nazarena and Nicholas Vallelonga.[4] He grew up in The Bronx near John Gotti's boyhood home. He earned the nickname "Lip" in 1938 as he was very persuasive and could out-talk anyone.


From 1951 to 1953, he served in the United States Army and was stationed in Germany.[5] He worked at the Copacabana, starting in 1961, as maître d’ and supervisor, and met famous people like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin.

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 in 1962-1963. This is the basis of the 2018 film Green Book, in which Lip is portrayed by Viggo Mortensen.[2]

Personal life and death[edit]

Lip resided in Paramus, New Jersey with his wife, Dolores, who died in 1999.[6]

Lip died January 4, 2013 at a hospital in Teaneck, New Jersey at age 82. He was survived by his sons, Nick Vallelonga and Frank Vallelonga Jr., brother Rudy Vallelonga and one grandson.[7]




  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Diamond, Anna (December 2018). "The True Story of the 'Green Book' Movie". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
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  5. ^ Coutros, Evonne. " Who's the boss now? -- Paramus actor worked his way up to role he couldn't refuse", The Record (Bergen County), February 9, 2003. Accessed October 14, 2007.
  6. ^ Coutros, Evonne (April 2008). "That Was Show Biz: Bill Miller's Riviera nightclub was a stage for top talent". (201) Magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-11-20. Retrieved 2010-01-11.
  7. ^ "Actor Tony Lip Dies At Age Of 82, Known For Portraying Carmine Lupertazzi In HBO's The Sopranos". CBS News New York. Retrieved 6 January 2013.

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