Green Book actor Frank Vallelonga Jr. found dead at 60 outside factory in the Bronx
The New York Police Department has identified a body discovered outside a sheet metal manufacturing factory in the Bronx as Green Book actor Frank Vallelonga Jr. He was 60.
Police responded to a 911 call Monday and found Vallelonga unconscious and unresponsive on the ground outside the factory, according to a news release obtained by EW. A cause of death has not yet been determined, but authorities said Vallelonga had "no obvious signs of trauma."
An investigation is ongoing, but authorities have so far arrested and charged Steven Smith, 35, of the Bronx, with concealment of a human corpse in connection to Vallelonga's death.
"Frank was a great guy, father, brother, actor, and friend," his manager, Melissa Prophet, said in a statement to EW. "He will be missed by many."
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images Frank Vallelonga Jr.
Vallelonga had small roles in a few film and TV projects, including the Oscar-winning 2018 drama Green Book, based on the true story of the friendship between his father, Italian American actor and former bouncer Frank "Tony Lip" Vallelonga (played by Viggo Mortensen), and Black classical pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali). The younger Vallelonga portrayed Rudy, a relative of his father's character. Lip died in 2013, at 82.
Nick Vallelonga — son of Lip and brother of Frank Jr. — co-wrote Green Book with Brian Hayes Currie and director Peter Farrelly. The film, set against the backdrop of the American South in the 1960s, sparked criticisms over its depiction of race and white savior tropes. Frank Vallelonga Jr. called the film "100 percent accurate" in a 2018 interview with the radio station New Jersey 101.5.
"Growing up, [Lip] told the story," he said. "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 put it on paper and the rest is history. We heard the stories for many years… 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."
Frank Vallelonga Jr. also starred in an episode each of The Sopranos and The Neighborhood, while his other film credits included brother Nick's A Brilliant Disguise and In the Kingdom of the Blind, the Man with One Eye Is King, as well as The Birthday Cake.