The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey on February 9, 2003 · 14
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The Record from Hackensack, New Jersey · 14

Hackensack, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Sunday, February 9, 2003
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L-2 THE RECORD LOCAL NEWS SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2003 Lip From Page L-l agent to audition for a small role," Lip said. "I refused that part But while I was there I was told to wait a moment and given the role of Carmine to read. I guess they liked what they saw." Tony plays Carmine like a boss who has been at the helm for a long time," said Vincent Curatola, the Englewood-raised actor who plays Johnny Sacramoni on The Sopranos." "Nothing ruffles Carmine, and Tony plays him in the realm of a patriarch." Born Frank Anthony Vallelon-ga in Beaver Falls, Pa., Lip moved with his parents, Nicholas and Nazarena, to 215th Street in the Bronx when he was just a few weeks old. They lived a stone's throw from John Gotti's boyhood home. "I grew up there knowing a lot of guys with nicknames," Lip said. There was Joe 'Nose,' Vito 'Crabs,'' Frankie 'Lock,' and 'Punchy.' We called Joe, 'Nose,' because his nose was long. And Vito ... well, we called him 'Crabs' because he was always scratching himself." Lip earned his moniker, The Lip," because he was persuasive and could out-talk anyone. Lip used those gifts to pull friends out of jams. He was commonly called Tony by most of his family and eventually took Lip as his professional name. "He was always known as Tony Lip from the time he was 8 years old," said Lip's eldest son, Nick Vallelonga, 43, a writer and director who lives in Hollywood. "So when he first got hired as an actor and he had to use his name, everyone knew him as Tony Lip. ... Even my mother, Dolores, didn't know his name was Frank until they had to make up their wedding invitations back in 1958." An avid swimmer, bowler, and dancer who had won numerous local championships in each activity, Lip left high school at 16. He played minor league baseball in North Carolina with the St Louis Browns organization before he was drafted into the Army, serving two years from 1951 to 1953 in Germany. When he returned, he became a hairdresser, dolling up the Rockettes. The G.I Bill was paying the highest for anyone who wanted to go to hairdresser school," Lip said. "So I did it" During his 20s, Lip was with the New York Department of Sanitation, and worked as bartender, restaurateur, pool-hall owner, and a bouncer at The Wagon Wheel nightclub and the famed Peppermint Lounge in New York. For a while in the Sixties, he was a tour manager for a jazz pianist, but decided something closer to home would suit his family. He was hired at the Copacabana nightclub in Manhattan, rising to become the general manager. Lip rubbed shoulders with singers such as Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, and Dean Martin. The club was where he met Tom Jones. The Copa was also frequented by director Francis Ford Coppola and casting director Louis Di-Giamo, who took a liking to Lip's demeanor. "He liked my father's real street qualities," Vallelonga said. The next thing Lip knew, he was being asked to play a bodyguard in "The Godfather." From there he appeared in films such as "The Taking of Pelham 123," "Crazy Joe," and "Marathon Man." When the Copacabana closed in the early 1970s, Lip became the stunt double to Telly Savalas for mffii n :raifrcwrfflrlinsirm At AVE UP TO 20 WIDE SALE PLUS FREE DELIVERY J t"-i 1 I 1 rvxarxi Nimbus entertainment center Reg. $3599 SALE $2849 Danish Extension table Reg. $549 SALE $449 Derby chairs Reg. $279 $399 SALE $229 $329 r NEW Soho modular Reg. $2447 SALE $2049 FrM cWtvwy on oroVa ovw $800 wi out pmnxy tonn Sot Uott for detiala. Offer valid Tuaaday, January 21 PraaWattU' Day, February 17, 2003. Www 2003 ptcm m effect through March 31. 3003. WORKBENCH furniture for modern living Ititft i ail no nam nmmt trim mm mow a irwa wo tMAJi Ma team i mxm, urn n m cgmumh itoat, I in mn noawonoutuiioiiianoio Ntwt cuMUrKt iroal tMrnuo 4K anmt m ust attwrot fwu mms aoap a homwx mtwt ; M StcaH OWN m www.weribtnthfurnllvrs.coni , 1 I ; , W v Ethics: Hiring issue V Tony Lip of Paramus, left, with James Gandolfini, star of The Sopranos." Lip modeled his character after mobsters he saw in the Bronx. several seasons of television's "Ko-jak." Lip shaved his head to look like the clean-domed Savalas. "I did anything I could to earn money," Lip said. "I had a wife and two children to support." Lip went into a partnership in a hotel in Cape May after his "Ko-jak" job. The resort booked some of the hottest talent heading its way from Philadelphia to Manhattan. In the 1980s and 1990s Lip's acting career continued with films such as "The Pope of Greenwich Village" and "The Year of the Dragon." He worked with stars such as Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, and Joe Pesci. But generally, his name was one among many in the credits. Now, he's basking in some of the limelight from a series that it seems everyone's talking about "Sopranos" fans stop by Lip's modest home in Paramus to see if the character actor is anything like Carmine. "They've knocked on the door asking to meet Carmine and get my autograph," Lip said. "They may think I'm the real thing." Even Manhattan hot dog vendors can't resist a shout to Lip. "My father will get out of a car and you hear 'Carmine, Carmine,' " said Lip's son, Frank, 41, who owns an auto financing company in Little Ferry. " The Sopranos' is so huge that wherever he goes he's never had this much notoriety." Lip said he's never had any thoughts of leaving Paramus. It's been his home for so many decades that all his memories are rooted in the area. He plans to share some of them by writing his memoirs of the Copacabana. He is also up for another film role in Canada as a mobster. "I usually play a tough guy or a bouncer," Lip said. "Always a mob guy, never a lover." Evonne Coutros' e-mail address is From Page L-l to be willing and able to learn the system." Tedeschi, chairman of the personnel committee, said he voted to hire both men - based upon the recommendation of Sheehan. But, Tedeschi said that when he later asked Sheehan why the minimum requirements were waived, Sheehan told him that it was done at the request of Focarino. Focarino denied ever making such a request Sheehan, who retired last year, said he didn't want to comment at length until he had a chance to see the complaint He acknowledged that the requirement for a professional engineering license was waived, but said that was because of the difficulty of attracting candidates who had one. Tedeschi also criticized the hiring of Bob Barrale in 2001 as the sewage plant sewage administrator. The job, which was created during the failed negotiations to privatize the treatment plant, was not advertised, and only Barrale was interviewed, according to Tedeschi. Tedeschi said Sheehan sent out a memo noting that Barrale came highly recommended by the chairman. But, according to Tedeschi, Focarino later had the letter edited to delete any mention of a recommendation. Further, Tedeschi said that Focarino later lobbied the commission to "hold off" discussions of eliminating Barrale's job. Focarino acknowledged that he is a friend of Barrale and Breen, but he said he did nothing improper. He described both as able public servants. "There's nothing wrong as far as I can see in trying to help people if somebody in particular is looking for a position and you know they're qualified," he said. Sheehan declined to comment on Barrale. Tedeschi also criticized Focarino for meeting in November with Bergen County Democratic Chairman Joseph Ferriero shortly after the Democrats won control of the county government In the complaint, Tedeschi alleges that they met to work out a deal over jobs and contracts at the utilities authority - an autonomous, Republican-controlled body over which the new Democratic administration has limited oversight Focarino and Tedeschi are Republicans. While acknowledging that he had lunch with Ferriero at Solaris in Hackensack, Focarino said the two did not discuss jobs or contracts at the BCUA. "It was just general conversation," he said. "There were no deals. It doesn't mean that because you're seen with someone that you're making what is perceived as a deal." Ferriero could not be reached for comment Saturday. A member of the ethics board said Saturday that she had not yet seen on the complaint, and it is unclear when the board will review the charges. The ethics board has the authority to impose fines on officials who run afoul of the ethics law. Shannon D. Harrington's e-mail address is wwwwwwphww jwr-pwawaawr sawwwaaai .,immmw.mmmmmwm. mmmmMWWii..-m',iv wvm-.mmtmtmmmmmri-"-A HhMaansAfarfi" tgi mi pFmn hml m eiiY WmlfjP u u 1)11 t veo? THE INTEREST EARNING, UNLIMITED CHECK WRITING PLATINUM ACCOUNT. It doesn't seem right. You earn a wage. You put it in the bank. Then you pay everyone else. Thai's why we created die Platinum Account. Unlike typical checking accounts, it earns interest like a money market deposit account. Plus, you get unlimited check writing and a Visa Platinum Check Card. And if you keep a minimum balance of $10,000 in your PUtinum Account or u a combined total with certain linked Washington Mutual accounts, like a mortgage, CD or savings account, there's no Platinum Account monthly fee. It's a great way to make your money work for you instead of just the grocer or the utility company or, well, you get the idea. To open your Platinum Account and to find out how to get the most out of it, call 1 .800-78(1-7000 or visit the Washington Mutual Financial Center nearest you. J J I i PLATINUM ACCOUNT RATES CLa y apy for balancai of $25,000 and ovar 1.60 APT for kalaaeoi of $10,000 $24,191 UOX APT for kaliioai of $6,000 M.MI O.miPTforialaaoaiaf kit Ikai $8,000 IRTEREST UnMllia UNLIMITED CHECK WRtTIHQ KOKTHLr SUMUART STATEMENT CONVENIENT CHECK CARD Sj Washington Mutual MORE HUMAN INTEREST.' I t)IC limited t'MtiM fwHiHraH fr1 ! hI nw uhixi hi thftt wiImm whm tl milllf in NY mi N film mrniih war Minn m piM tnd at mmtilt tuUiKt In dnigniMd dtpmll khhihu tnd tml of mmIi Mm of araipuwa U liw) m l I wmhiwa In ww l;l ptmmm Axrnint nwnihlr h u! IVwiml Hill I'm (k, Ak thmit t.(ilnlilr nqulnnmu and him K inlftnm an kwii. Aim i (Mt tNf M fanai mMlini Anmrtl frntrnff fU IAPY) m J' VIM vtiiM ml mi, thmff tinf Ml dmnlKHI. Call Ini lumnl lain. Mlmmyin Wuk io aptn la II ,000. h mf frttiHf tatninaa. ' 0 ' "

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