Lip in 2010
Frank Anthony Vallelonga
July 30, 1930
Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania or New York
|Died||January 4, 2013 (aged 82)|
|Residence||Paramus, New Jersey|
(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) 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.
Lip was born in either Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania or New York, the son of Italian parents, Nazarena and Nicholas Vallelonga. 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. 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.
Personal life and death
- The Godfather (1972) - Wedding Guest (uncredited)
- Crazy Joe (1974) - Mafia Hood (uncredited)
- The Super Cops (1974) - Detroit Hitman (uncredited)
- Dog Day Afternoon (1975) - Cop at JFK (uncredited)
- Raging Bull (1980) - Nightcluber (uncredited)
- The Pope of Greenwich Village (1984) - Frankie
- Year of the Dragon (1985) - Lenny Carranza
- Heart (1987) - Max
- Last Rites (1988) - Cabbie
- Lock Up (1989) - Guard
- Goodfellas (1990) - Frankie The Wop
- 29th Street (1991) - Nicky Bad Lungs
- Innocent Blood (1992) - Frank
- Who's the Man? (1993) - Vito Pasquale
- A Brilliant Disguise (1994) - Pete
- In the Kingdom of the Blind, the Man with One Eye Is King (1995) - Paulie
- Donnie Brasco (1997) - Philly Lucky
- A Brooklyn State of Mind (1998) - Bartender
- The Signs of the Cross (2005) - Mario
- All In (2006) - Darkman
- Stiletto (2008) - Gus (final film role)
- Diamond, Anna (December 2018). "The True Story of the 'Green Book' Movie". Smithsonian.com. Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
- 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.
- 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.
- "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.