New York Daily News: By Rocco Parascandola – The “Green Book” actor whose body was callously dumped on a Bronx sidewalk died of an accidental overdose of fentanyl and cocaine, a city Medical Examiner autopsy has determined.
Frank Vallelonga Jr’s corpse was found 3:50 a.m. Nov. 28 on Oak Point Ave, an industrial street in Hunts Point.
Police at the time suspected 60-year-old Vallelonga, whose identity was not immediately known because he had no identification on him, died of an overdose. A medical examiner spokesman on Monday said Vallelonga died accidentally from “acute intoxication due to combined effects of fentanyl and cocaine.”
Steven Smith, 35, was arrested a day after he allegedly dumped Vallelonga’s body, driving to the scene in a Hyundai Elantra. He claimed a woman named Pam told him somebody had overdosed in the car and turned to him for help.
“That dude was dead already,” driver Steven Smith told cops, according to the criminal complaint against him. “He overdosed. I didn’t have anything to do with that.”
“I got the body out by pulling him out of the car” he added. “I don’t know the guy at all.”
The status of Smith’s case was not immediately clear Monday.
Vallelonga was the namesake son of the one-time Copacabana bouncer played by Viggo Mortensen in the Oscar-winning “Green Book.”
The bouncer, Frank Vallelonga Sr., known as “Tony Lip,” famously accompanied Black pianist Don Shirley as a bodyguard during a tour through the Jim Crow-era South in the early 1960s. Later, Vallelonga Sr. made an unlikely transformation from doorman to actor — including a recurring role on “The Sopranos” as New York mob boss Carmine Lupertazzi.
Junior played his uncle Rudy in “Green Book” and had eight other acting credits, including an appearance on “The Sopranos.”
An Instagram photo from 2019, when “Green Book” won the Best Picture Oscar, shows a tuxedo-clad Frank Jr. hugging Lady Gaga.
The gray 2021 Hyundai Elantra carrying the dead Vallelonga was tied to his Academy Award-winning younger brother Nick Vallelonga, according to court papers. The brother had not given permission for anyone to use the vehicle.
Nick Vallelonga co-wrote the screenplay for “Green Book” and captured a pair of Oscars as his cinematic star ascended.
Top Feature Photo: Frank Vallelonga arrives for the US Premiere Of “Songs Of Solomon” held at TCL Chinese Theatre on March 29, 2022 in Hollywood, California – Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images