Veteran character actor Domenick Lombardozzi is slated to portray portly 20th Century New York mafia don Anthony (Fat Tony) Salerno in The Irishman, the much-anticipated upcoming Martin Scorsese-helmed movie about the relationship between hit man Frank (The Irishman) Sheeran and iconic labor union boss Jimmy Hoffa. The 41-year old Lombardozzi has been appearing in gangster-centered movies and television shows for close to 25 years, highlighted by memorable roles in A Bronx Tale, The Wire, Boardwalk Empire, Miami Vice, Public Enemies, Carlito’s Way: Rise To Power,The Yards and Find Me Guilty,  among others.

Hoffa, the stubborn, hard-nosed former president of the Teamsters, vanished from a suburban Detroit restaurant parking lot on the afternoon of July 30, 1975 on his way to a purported peace conference with mobsters representing both mafia factions in Michigan and New York, including Fat Tony Salerno’s Genovese crime family.

In the years preceding his kidnapping and murder, Hoffa, 62, engaged in a growing beef with the same organized crime figures whose support and accompanying muscle he rode to the enormous union’s presidency in the 1950s. Nobody has ever been charged or even arrested in the Hoffa homicide probe.

Several members of Salerno’s Genovese clan, most of whom are dead, are considered prime suspects in the still-ongoing investigation. FBI informants have said Salerno and his fellow Genovese brass signed off on the Hoffa hit. A number of Midwest mobsters suspected of playing a part in the murder conspiracy were observed by FBI surveillance teams visiting Salerno at his Palma Boys Social Club headquarters in East Harlem in the days following Hoffa’s disappearance.

Salerno was the Genovese Family’s acting boss and street boss for most of the 1980s. Rising through the ranks of the east coast mafia as a powerhouse in the multi-ethnic Harlem policy lottery racket, Fat Tony eventually took over the Genovese syndicate on a day-to-day basis in the 1970s until his incarceration in 1986 after being convicted in the now-famous “Commission Case.” He died of a stroke in a Missouri federal prison hospital in 1992 at the age of 80.

Domenick Lombardozzi

Back in 2011, Lombardozzi starred in the A&E Prison Break spinoff, Breakout Kings. He played Al Capone’s brother Ralph (Bottles) Capone in HBO’s Emmy-winning television series Boardwalk Empire. Besides his work in “good-guy, bad-guy” films, Lombardozzi had a recurring role in HBO’s pop-culture smash Entourage. His co-star and on-screen sibling Stephen Graham (Al Capone in Boardwalk Empire) was cast in The Irishman last week and is set to play the Genovese crime family’s former New Jersey capo Anthony (Tony Pro) Provenzano, who was scheduled to lunch with Hoffa at the exact time he went missing in the summer of 1975. Provenzano died in prison of a heart attack in 1988, serving a sentence for an unrelated gangland slaying linked to Teamsters activity.

Scorsese has collected a star-studded ensemble for his adaption of Charles Brandt’s 2004 best-selling book, I Heard You Paint Houses, in which Sheeran claims to have been the man who shot and killed Hoffa on his deathbed. Robert De Niro will play Sheeran and Al Pacino is slated to play Hoffa. Cameras are already rolling on the 100-million dollar Netflix production in New York City, expected to have a limited theatre run next year.

Joe Pesci has been cast as Sheeran’s direct superior in the mafia, Pennsylvania mob don Russell Bufalino. Graham worked with Scorsese in 2002’s Gangs of New York. Pesci and De Niro have both won Oscars in prior Scorsese movies (Pesci in 1990’s Goodfellas and De Niro in 1980’s Raging Bull).

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