‘Green Book’ Actor Frank Vallelonga Jr. Found Dead Outside of Bronx Factory

Vallelonga is the real-life son of Viggo Mortensen's character in the Oscar-winning 2018 film.
Frank Vallelonga Jr.
Frank Vallelonga Jr.

Frank Vallelonga Jr. was found dead outside a Bronx sheet metal manufacturing factory.

Vallelonga’s body was dumped outside of the factory and was later identified by the NYPD, as Deadline reported. The corpse was found on November 28, with the identification announced December 1 via the New York Post. Vallelonga Jr., age 60, was dumped out of a car at 3:50 a.m. and is believed to have overdosed on drugs. The investigation is ongoing.

Vallelonga starred in the 2018 Best Picture winner “Green Book,” in which he portrayed a relative of Viggo Mortensen’s character Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga. Based on a true story, “Green Book” tells the story of bouncer Vallenlonga befriending a Black pianist Dr. Don Shirley, played by Mahershala Ali. Vallelonga Jr. is the real-life son of Mortensen’s character. He also had a small role in a 2004 episode of “The Sopranos.”

Steven Smith, a 35-year-old man, has been arrested and charged with concealment of a human corpse in relation to Vallelonga Jr.’s death.

Vallelonga’s brother Nick Vallelonga co-wrote “Green Book” along with director Peter Farrelly and screenwriter Brian Hayes Currie.

“Well, growing up, he told the story,” Vallelonga told New Jersey 101.5 radio station in 2018. “We’d be sitting around the table and he would tell us about the trip, the story, Don Shirley…this is a story that we knew and my brother [Nick] put it on paper and the rest is history. We heard the stories for many years.”

He added, “It was 100 percent accurate. Nick interviewed Dr. Don Shirley at Carnegie Hall a couple of different times, maybe more I’m not 100 percent sure…He got it word for word from Don Shirley.”

The controversial “Green Book” sparked criticisms over its depiction of race in 1960s America. Actor Mortensen told The Independent that the backlash was “not only unreasonable, but it was inaccurate, mendacious, and irresponsible.”

“It’s based on a load of bullshit and an axe to grind and little else,” Mortensen said at the time. “Does it affect what I’m doing, or how people perceive me as an actor? Maybe it does. But I can’t really do anything about that.”

Mortensen added, “It’s become a cliché to say, ‘Is this movie going to be the ‘Green Book’ of this year?’ ‘Green Book’ has become a pejorative.”

Former pianist Shirley’s family publicly criticized the film as a misrepresentation of their relative, while other critics have condemned “Green Book” as the story of a bigot’s redemption. Shirley’s brother, Maurice Shirley, went so far as to call the movie a “symphony of lies.”

“Green Book” won Best Picture and landed Ali a Best Supporting Actor Oscar win. Mortensen was nominated for Best Actor.

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