Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sopranos/GoodFellas Actor Charged with Real Life Strong-Arming with a Reputed Gambino Soldier

A veteran actor with roles in "The Sopranos" and "GoodFellas" played a tough guy in real life, too, prosecutors say.

Anthony Borgese - along with a reputed Gambino crime family soldier - was charged with trying to strong-arm cash from an unlucky soul who owed money to a loanshark.

Borgese pleaded not guilty Friday to charges he tried to extort the unidentified man in upstate Monticello in 2004. The longtime character actor, who grew up in Brooklyn, uses the stage name Tony Darrow and calls himself the "Goodfella of Comedy" on his Web site.

He was busted by FBI agents at LaGuardia Aiport as he arrived home from a film shoot late Thursday, sources said.

The 70-year-old actor looked haggard in court Friday after spending the night at the federal lockup in Brooklyn.

He declined to talk to the Daily News after he was released on a $750,000 bond secured by his upstate home and $50,000 cash. "I can't comment until I find out what this is about," he said as he hauled a cart with his luggage out of Brooklyn Federal Court.

Also charged in the two-count indictment were reputed Gambino soldier Joseph (Joey Boy) Orlando, who is serving a 33-month sentence for a separate extortion conviction, and alleged mob associate Giovanni Monteleone, who was released on bail.

"This is a violent crime, but we are satisfied that with the bond being posted the community will not be at risk," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Buretta said.

Borgese is best known for his role in "GoodFellas" as Sonny Bunz, the beleaguered owner of the mobbed-up Bamboo Lounge. The timid Bunz fights over a bar tab with hothead Tommy DeVito - played by Joe Pesci - who breaks a bottle over his head.

He also appeared as Larry Boy Barese in 14 episodes of "The Sopranos," and several Woody Allen movies, as well as having a Vegas nightclub act.

"I travel a lot," Borgese told Magistrate Roanne Mann Friday. "I do autograph signings and personal appearances."

Borgese worked in the real Bamboo Lounge in Canarsie, Brooklyn - a hangout for Luchese crime figures Henry Hill, James (Jimmy the Gent) Burke and Tommy DeSimone, whose stories were the basis for "GoodFellas."

In an interview with The News in 2000, the East New York-bred Borgese said: "Most of my friends from the old neighborhood are either dead or in jail. Sometimes I wonder, 'Why did God forget me?'"

Borgese isn't the first "GoodFellas" cast member to be linked to the Gambino crime family.

Earlier this year, at the trial of hit man Charles Carneglia, prosecutors introduced into evidence a photo of actor Frank Sivero - who died on a meat hook as Frankie Carbone in the film - posing with the Gambino goon.

Thanks to John Marzulli

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