Sad news for fans of Tony Lip, the character actor who shined as a kingpin mob figures in the hit HBO series. "The Sopranos" and several critically acclaimed movies, died last week, according to a funeral home in Lodi, New Jersey.
Lip, born Frank Vallelonga, died on January 4, said an official with the Santangelo Funeral Home, which posted his obituary online. He was 82.
Tony Lip is from the Bronx, New York. He worked for twelve years at the world-famous Copacabana Nightclub in New York City. At the Copa, he played host to the most famous personalities of the era, including Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Bobby Darin. Lip then went on to a career in acting. He got his first big break when he was cast in the hit film, "The Godfather."
Since then he has appeared in several major motion pictures including "Crazy Joe," "The Pope of Greenwich Village," "The Year of the Dragon," "Honor Thy Fathers," "Goodfellas," and "Donnie Brasco."
Lip was most recently featured as the New York mob boss Carmine Lupertazzi on the hit HBO series, "The Sopranos," where he played the leader of a New York crime family sometimes often times at loggerheads with Tony Soprano (James Gandolfini).
He also had published an Italian cookbook called "Shut Up and Eat" that featured recipes from stars of "The Sopranos" and from some famous New York-area restaurants. Thirty-nine Italian-American actors discuss their childhoods, their careers and their families, emphasizing the importance of food for their sense of identity.
The recipes are all home style and a few come from the actors' favorite restaurants like Da Silvano in Manhattan, but many were handed down through the generations. like Talia Shire's Thanksgiving Gnocchi, Michael Rispoli's Mussels and Clams and Michael Imperioli's Spaghetti Carbonara and Edie Falco's Fettucine Alfredo.