The Tragic Death Of Actor Frank Vallelonga Jr.

"Green Book" actor Frank Vallelonga Jr. was tragically found dead on November 28. According to the New York Police Department (via Deadline), a 911 caller reported they had discovered an unconscious man in front of a factory in the Bronx. Sadly, the body was later identified to be Vallelonga, and police pronounced him dead at the scene. He was 60 years old at the time of his death.

Afterward, police arrested a man named Steven Smith for dumping and abandoning the actor's body. Security footage allegedly captured the crime, per the New York Post. In Smith's criminal complaint obtained by the New York Daily News, he insists he had nothing to do with Vallelonga's death. "That dude was dead already," Smith reportedly recounted to police. "He overdosed. I didn't have anything to do with that ... I don't know the guy at all." The medical examiner is yet to declare a cause of death as of this writing.

Frank Vallelonga Jr. helped uphold his family's legacy

Frank Vallelonga Jr. was most well-known for his role in the 2018 film "Green Book," which was actually based on his father's life story. Frank's dad, Frank Vallelonga Sr. — who later went by the name Tony Lip — served as bodyguard and transportation for the Black pianist Don Shirley as they dealt with the racism of 1960s America. In honor of his late father (who died in 2013), Frank Jr. owned an Italian restaurant named "Tony Lip's," per News 12 The Bronx. Frank Jr. also appeared in TV shows like "The Sopranos" and "The Neighborhood," and the 2021 movie "The Birthday Cake," per IMDb.

"I loved the guy. He was a great guy," "The Sopranos" actor Vincent Pastore lamented to the New York Daily News after learning of his death. "The last time I saw Frankie, he came to one of my acting classes in the city about six months ago."

"Frank was a great guy, father, brother, actor, and friend," Frank Jr.'s manager Melissa Prophet told Entertainment Weekly. "He will be missed by many."