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People: ‘Sopranos’ actor discusses addiction

Mon., April 28, 2014

After spending eight years in prison, former “Sopranos” actor Lillo Brancato Jr. said he’s trying to help young people avoid making similar, drug-fueled mistakes.

“Here I am, I get the opportunity, I get the shot and then squander it, and do what I did, and get addicted to drugs and just make horrible decisions,” the 37-year-old Brancato said in an interview broadcast Sunday on WNYM-AM. He was paroled in December after serving time for his role in a 2005 Bronx break-in that left an off-duty police officer dead.

Brancato, who got his break in the 1993 film “A Bronx Tale” with Robert De Niro, said he’s reaching out to young people to discuss the addiction he was unable to control. His last drug high was in prison in 2006, he said.

According to prosecutors, the actor and a Genovese crime family associate, Steven Armento, were drinking at a Bronx strip club before they tried to break into a nearby basement apartment and steal Valium.

The sound of shattering glass awoke off-duty Officer Daniel Enchautegui, who lived in the neighborhood and came to the rescue. He confronted the men and a gunbattle erupted, with Armento firing first, prosecutors said.

The dying officer emptied his pistol, hitting Brancato and Armento. The bloodied actor was arrested as he tried to get into his car, authorities said. Brancato was acquitted of murder in the officer’s death but convicted of attempted burglary. Armento was convicted of firing the fatal bullet.

Authorities say he will remain under supervision through 2018. He was released to his family in Yonkers.

‘Citizen Kane’ script sells for $15,000

Scripts for “Citizen Kane,” Orson Welles’ camera and a cigar ashtray were among the late director’s belongings sold at a New York auction.

Sixty-seven lots fetched $180,000 at Heritage Auctions on Saturday.

Margaret Barrett, Heritage’s director of entertainment-linked auctions, called the items “a piece of cinema royalty.”

Two dozen pages of scripts for the 1941 masterpiece “Citizen Kane” went for $15,000, far surpassing the $2,000 presale estimate.

Welles’ old Bell & Howell movie camera used to record a bullfight in Spain sold for $37,500, against a $2,000 estimate.

And a silver-plated cigar ashtray Ernest Hemingway gave Welles fetched $5,000. That’s six times the expected price.

Also on the block were memorabilia the director’s daughter, Beatrice Welles, kept for decades in Sedona, Ariz.

The birthday bunch

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Harper Lee is 88. Actor Frank Vincent is 77. Actress-singer Ann-Margret is 73. Actress Marcia Strassman is 66. Former “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno is 64. Actress Mary McDonnell is 61. Actress Elisabeth Rohm is 41. Actress Penelope Cruz is 40. Actress Jessica Alba is 33. Actor Harry Shum Jr. (“Glee”) is 32.


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