Tony Lip, who played 'Sopranos' mob boss, dies

Actor Tony Lip was a cast member of "The Sopranos" and compiled a celebrity cookbook called "Shut up and Eat."

Story highlights

  • Tony Lip, born Frank Vallelonga,worked at the Copacabana club
  • He played the head of a New York crime family in 'The Sopranos'
  • He broke into movies as an extra in 'The Godfather' and had roles in other gangster films
  • He also put together a cookbook of recipes from Italian-American actors

Tony Lip, who played mob figures in the hit cable show "The Sopranos" and several critically acclaimed movies, died last week, according to a funeral home in Lodi, New Jersey.

Lip, whose real name was Frank Vallelonga, died on January 4, said an official with the Santangelo Funeral Home, which posted his obituary online. He was 82.

Lip was best known as the aging crime boss Carmine Lupertazzi in the hit HBO series "The Sopranos," where he appeared in 11 episodes. He played the leader of a New York crime family sometimes at odds with the series' main character, Tony Soprano. His character died in the hospital after having a stroke on a golf course.

He also was in the mob movies "The Godfather," "GoodFellas" and "Donnie Brasco."

He also compiled an Italian cookbook called "Shut Up and Eat" that featured recipes from stars of "The Sopranos" and from some famous New York-area restaurants.

According to the Internet Movie Database, Lip worked for 12 years at the Copacabana nightclub in New York before getting an acting break as an uncredited player in "The Godfather."

He is survived by two sons, actor/director Nick Vallelonga and Frank Vallelonga Jr.

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Photos: Notable deaths in 2012