Lillo Brancato Jr. is an actor, perhaps best known for his role in Robert De Niro’s directorial debut, “A Bronx Tale”. However, despite his success as an actor, Lillo’s drug addiction drove him to commit crimes for which he spent time in prison. He was released on parole in 2013 and returned to the silver screen. Here’s a glimpse into the life of the actor Lillo Brancato.
Early life and family
Lillo was born on August 30, 1976 in Bogata, Colombia.
At the age of four he was adopted by an Italian-American family from Yonkers, New York City, USA – his adoptive father is Lillo Brancato Senior and his mother is Domenica Brancato. His father worked as a construction worker and his mother was a beautician.
He has an adoptive brother Vincent, ‘Vinny’, who reportedly worked as a fashion model, but has since worked as a civil servant in Yonkers. Despite being born in Colombia, Lillo has stated in an interview that he considers himself Italian because he was raised to enjoy pasta.
Lillo’s educational background is mostly limited to high school entrance exams. Lillo attended Mount Saint Michael Academy but did not continue his education at any later point in his life.
Lillo began his career in show business at the age of 15 in 1992 – while swimming with a group of friends in Jones Beach, New York, Lillo caught the attention of the talent scout, who was looking for Robert De Niro lookalikes.
It was Lillo’s accurate impersonation of De Niro’s character ‘Travis Bickle’ in the movie ‘Taxi Driver’ that landed him the role of De Niro’s son in his first film casting ‘A Bronx Tale’.
After this success, Lillo continued to pursue an acting life and landed several more roles, in 1994 as Pvt Donnie Benitez in “Renaissance Man”, and in 1995 he was seen in the movie “Crimson Tide”. In subsequent years, he would continue to play minor roles, including the more notable titles of the 1998 movie “Enemy of the State.”
Lillo made his television debut on the set of “Dead Man’s Gun” in 1999, and the following year landed a recurring role on “The Sopranos” as Matthew Bevilaqua. He also starred in a few other shows, including ‘NYPD Blue’ and the short-lived crime drama ‘Falcone’.
As his career progressed, Lillo landed several more roles in films, such as the 2001 films “Sticks” and “In The Shadows”, and in 2002, he landed the role of Larry in the film “The Adventures of Pluto Nash”. In 2004, he was cast in “Downtown: A Street Tale”, and his last appearance before his 2005 arrest was in the movie “Slingshot”.
Since returning to the silver screen upon his release from prison, Lillo has appeared in a number of films, but has yet to return to a career in television. He starred in the 2015 short film “The Bronx Dahmer” and in the 2016 film “Back In The Day”. Lillo also appeared in “Vamp Bikers Tres”, and appeared in the 2017 film “Dead On Arrival” and the short film “Man of the House”.
His latest appearances include roles in the movies “5th Borough” and “The Fearless Two” both of which were released in 2020. Lillo recently branched out to pursue a career as producerand has worked on the post-production of “The Fury” and “Zombie: The Motion Picture”.
Hobbies, favorite things and interesting facts
What little information there is about Lillo’s personal preferences is that he was a fan of Robert De Niro even before starring alongside him in his debut film. Aside from that, it is common knowledge that Lillo had served a ten-year sentence for burglary at the Oneida Correctional Facility.
The incident that led to Lillo’s arrest occurred on December 10, 2005 in New York, where an off-duty police officer confronted accomplice Steven Armento, as he attempted to break into a home in Arnow Place. It resulted in a shootout that killed the police officer and injured Lillo and his accomplice. Steven Armento was armed and the one who opened fire on the police officer – he was charged with murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
However, this was not Lillo’s first confrontation with the police.
Earlier that same year, in June, Lillo was arrested and charged with being inside possession of illegal narcotics. After being pulled over by police in the Bronx, New York, initially because the car was missing a tail light, a search of the glove box turned up four bags of heroin.
Past relationships Lillo has been involved in, and gained public attention, was with Chanel Capra in the early 1990s, when he dated Steven Armento’s daughter, Stefanie, which got him into serious trouble. It is now implied that he is seeing Christina Chen and they are making wedding plans.
- Date of birth: August 30, 1976
- Hair Color: Brown
- Eye Color: Brown
- Height: 5ft 7ins (1.7m)
- Weight: 169 lb (77 kg)
- Shoe size: unknown
- Zodiac sign: Aries
- Nationality: American/Columbian
- Ethnicity: Mestizo
Lillo’s criminal past has taken a serious dent in his wealth, so his net value is estimated to be just over $1,000, as of mid-2020.