“Green Book” is the true story of Tony Lip, who played crime boss Carmine Lupertazzi on “The Sopranos.”
Lip, who grew up in The Bronx, worked at Jules Podell’s Copacabana club as an assistant maitre d’ and as Podell’s chauffeur.
He also drove Shirley on a tour of the Deep South during the Jim Crow era using “The Negro Motorist Green Book” to find restaurants and hotels that didn’t discriminate. The screenplay was co-written by Lip’s son Nick Vallelonga. Both Lip and Shirley died in 2013.
Former Copacabana publicist Sy Presten told me that Lip had a different job when Tom Jones performed there. “He was assigned to pick up hotel keys and lingerie tossed onstage by excited women,” Presten said.