Dolores Vallelonga Cause of Death: How the Wife of Tony Lip Inspired the Oscar-Winning Movie Green Book

Dolores Vallelonga was the wife of Frank “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, an Italian-American actor and bouncer who became famous for his friendship with the African-American pianist Don Shirley. Their story was the inspiration for the 2018 movie Green Book, which won three Oscars, including Best Picture. But who was Dolores Vallelonga and how did she die?

A Loving Wife and Mother

Dolores Veneri Vallelonga was born in Emerson, Bergen County, New Jersey, to Anthony and Anna Venere. She had two brothers, John, her older brother, and Louis, her younger brother. In the 1940s, they spent their youth in the Bronx, New York.

On June 28th, 1958, Dolores married Frank Anthony Vallelonga, who was known as Tony Lip because of his ability to talk his way out of any situation. They had two sons, Nick and Frank Jr., who both followed their father’s footsteps into the entertainment industry.

Dolores was a supportive and devoted wife to Tony, who worked as a bouncer at the Copacabana nightclub in New York City. She also encouraged him to pursue his acting career, which led him to appear in movies such as The Godfather, Goodfellas, and The Sopranos.

Dolores was also a loving mother to her sons, who often accompanied their father on his trips. She taught them how to be respectful and compassionate to people of different backgrounds and cultures.

A Key Role in Green Book

In 1962, Tony was hired by Don Shirley, a renowned classical pianist, to be his driver and bodyguard for a concert tour through the segregated South. Tony was initially reluctant to work for a black man, but he accepted the job because he needed the money.

During their journey, Tony and Don faced racism, discrimination, and violence from the white people they encountered. They also learned from each other and developed a bond that lasted until their deaths.

Dolores played a key role in their friendship, as she kept in touch with Tony through letters and phone calls. She also urged him to be more open-minded and respectful towards Don. She was impressed by Don’s talent and intelligence and welcomed him into her family.

Dolores also helped Tony improve his writing skills by giving him tips on how to express his feelings more eloquently. She was touched by the letters he sent her from the road, which showed his love and appreciation for her.

A Tragic Loss

Dolores Vallelonga passed away on February 17th, 1999, at the age of 66. The cause of her death was not publicly disclosed, but it is believed that she suffered from a long illness.

Her death was a devastating blow to Tony, who loved her deeply and considered her his soulmate. He never remarried and remained faithful to her memory until his own death in 2013.

Don Shirley also mourned her loss and attended her funeral. He remained close to Tony and his sons until he died later that same year.

A Lasting Legacy

Dolores Vallelonga’s life and legacy were honored in the movie Green Book, which was co-written by her son Nick Vallelonga. The movie was based on the interviews he conducted with his father and Don Shirley before they died. He also used the letters that his father wrote to his mother as a source of inspiration.

The movie portrayed Dolores as a warm-hearted and strong-willed woman who supported her husband and son’s dreams. She was played by Linda Cardellini, who received praise for her performance.

Nick Vallelonga dedicated the movie to his parents and said that they would have been proud of it. He also said that he hoped that the movie would spread a message of love and tolerance in a divided world.

Dolores Vallelonga may not have been famous in her own right, but she was an influential figure in the lives of two remarkable men who changed history with their music and friendship. She was also a loving wife and mother who inspired her family with her kindness and courage. She will always be remembered as the woman behind the Green Book.

Doms Desk

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