Sunday, April 12, 2009

Louis Eppolito - NOT a Goodfella

Anyone interested in the question of whether art imitates life (Aristotle) or life imitates art (Oscar Wilde) might want to consider the case of Louis Eppolita. He was born in New York in 1943, joined NYPD at the age of 26, served 21 years and won several medals for bravery. In 1990, when Martin Scorcese made the film "Goodfellas," he cast Eppolito in a small role as "Fat Andy"- a New York "wiseguy." If you see the film, there is a scene where Ray Liotta's character of Henry Hill walks through a night club, introducing his girlfriend (and the audience) to the mob guys he hangs out with. So a film 'wiseguy' was actually an NYPD dectective.

But the irony doesn't stop there. It turns out bit movie parks wasn't Eppolito's only extracurricular activity. A couple of years back, Eppolito and his partner were indicted on charges of carrying kidnappings and contract 'hits' for the New York mob. (I must say, that *really* shocked me- I saw 'Serpico' decades ago; I was well aware that some cops take bribes, but being contract hitmen???) Both men were convicted on multiple counts two years ago and sentenced to life in prison with *no* possibility of parole.

I wonder if they'll get to watch 'Goodfellas' where they're serving time. It certainly makes the mob life look glamorous.

Anybody interested how things turned out for the real life characters in "Goodfellas": Paul Vario (Paul Sorvino's character) died in prison; Jimmy Burke (Robert DeNiro's character) died in prison, and Henry Hill is still alive, 29 years after turning state's evidence - and he's living in Malibu.

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