Movie veteran, Tony Lip who starred on the cable series "The Sopranos," has died at the age of 82. MSN reported on Monday, Jan. 7. that Lip died at the Teaneck, New Jersey hospital this past Friday.
Tony Lip was best known for his role as the mobster king pen on the "Sopranos" Carmine Lueratazzi. Tony Lip, whose real name is Frank Anthony Vallelonga's death was confirmed by family members, and was said to have been in failing health for the past few years.
Lip spent some time during his youth playing minor league baseball in North Carolina with the St. Louis Browns organization. He also served his country in the American Army from 1951-1953 while stationed in Germany.
In the 1960s, Tony Lip worked as general manager of the famous Copacabana nightclub in New York City where he met "Godfather" director Francis Ford Coppola and casting director Louis DiGiaimo, who gave him a minor role in the mobster films as a wedding guest.
Tony Lip then went on to star in the films "Goodfellas," "Raging Bull" and "Donnie Brasco." MSN reported that Lip also co-wrote and released a cookbook titled "Shut Up and Eat!," in which he and Italian-American actors James Gandolfini, Danny Aiello and Chazz Palminteri shared their families' favorite Italian recipes.
Lip was born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania but grew up in The Bronx near John Gotti's boyhood home. He earned the nickname "Lip" in 1938 as he was very persuasive and could out-talk anyone. Lip also served in the United States army in years 1951 and 1953 while stationed in Germany. He worked at the Copacabana, starting in 1961, as maître d’ and supervisor, and met famous people like Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Lip had resided in Paramus, New Jersey with his his wife Dolores who died in 1999.
The former "Sopranos'" star Tony Lip is survived by his sons, Nick Vallelonga and Frank Vallelonga Jr., brother Rudy Vallelonga and one grandson, his memorial service is scheduled to take place on Tuesday in Franklin Lakes, N.J.