NYPD identified the body that was thrown from a car onto a street in the Bronx (NYC) as film actor Frank Vallelonga Jr.
The 60-year-old actor reportedly died of an overdose of an unspecified substance, but the official cause of death has not been confirmed, the Daily News reported. He worked with Viggo Mortensen on the 2019 Oscar-winning film “Green Book,” based partially on the life of his eponymous father, who was also an actor.
The body had no documents, so it took a couple of days to be identified after being abandoned early Monday morning in the Hunts Point neighborhood. The next day police arrested 35-year-old Steven Smith on suspicion of concealing a human body, possession of a stolen vehicle and grand theft. He was released without bail after his arraignment in the Bronx Criminal Court.
EXCLUSIVE | Overdose victim whose corpse was dumped on Bronx street identified as namesake son of former Copacabana bouncer played by Viggo Mortensen in Oscar-winning 'Green Book'
A suspect has been criminally charged with dumping the corpse.https://t.co/j5SdSMmAnR
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) December 1, 2022
Smith lives at a homeless shelter in that county, according to police. Although he is accused of dumping the body, he was not involved in Vallelonga’s death, police sources said. “That guy was already dead,” the detainee told NYPD, according to the criminal complaint against him. “He had an overdose. I had nothing to do with it.”
The deceased was the son of the late Frank Vallelonga Sr. (1930-2013), a former nightclub bouncer nicknamed “Tony Lip,” who accompanied black pianist Don Shirley as a bodyguard during a tour of the South in the early 1960s., theme of the movie “Green Book”. He also had a recurring role on the legendary HBO series “The Sopranos” after becoming an actor.
Her son’s body was discovered at 3:51 a.m. Monday after a 911 call reported a body outside a sheet metal factory on Oak Point Avenue near Barretto Street. Investigators determined that he had been thrown from the vehicle.
“I loved the boy. He was a great guy,” Vincent Pastore, star of “The Sopranos,” told the Daily News. “The last time I saw Frankie, he came to one of my acting classes in town, about six months ago.”