‘The Sopranos’ Actor Lillo Brancato Jr. Returned to Acting Shortly After Being Released From Prison

Lillo Brancato Jr., known for his role as Matthew Bevilaqua in Season 2 of The Sopranos, was arrested in connection to a deadly burglary in 2005. The Columbian actor was sentenced in 2009. After spending several years in prison, Brancato returned to acting and appeared in over a dozen movies

Lillo Brancato Jr. made his acting debut in ‘A Bronx Tale’ opposite Robert DeNiro

Brancato is an American actor who started his career at age 16 in Robert DeNiro’s 1993 directorial debut, A Bronx Tale. In the film, he portrays Calogero “C” Anello, the teenage son of DeNiro’s character, Lorenzo. 

Following A Bronx Tale, Brancato landed roles in several big-budget films. He appeared in Renaissance Man opposite Danny Devito and has a supporting role in Jerry Bruckheimer’s 1995 drama Crimson Tide. His other notable movies include Enemy of the State, The Adventures of Pluto Nash, and The Florentine. 

In 2000, Brancato debuted as mobster Matthew Bevilacqua in The Sopranos. He appeared in a recurring role throughout Season 2. After working on The Sopranos, Brancato was featured in NYPD Blue and Falcone episodes. The actor also starred in films like In the Shadows and Slingshot.

The ‘Sopranos’ star was arrested twice in 2005 

Actor Lillo Brancato Jr. on the set of "Back In The Day" in 2015
Lillo Brancato Jr. in 2015 | Bobby Bank/GC Images

In June 2005, Brancato was arrested after being pulled over for a broken brake light. Upon searching his vehicle, police reportedly found several bags of heroin stashed in a cigarette box. 

A few months later, in December 2005, Brancato was arrested again. As reported by The New York Times, Brancato and accomplice Steven Armento encountered off-duty NYPD officer Daniel Enchautegui after attempting to break into a nearby home. A gunfight erupted, and Enchautegui was shot and killed by Armento. 

Brancato was charged with second-degree murder and attempted burglary. A jury found him not guilty of the murder charge. But he was convicted on the burglary charge and sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2009. 

The actor served his time in Rikers Island and Hudson Correctional Facility. He was released on parole in 2013. 

Two years after being released from prison, Brancato returned to acting. He landed roles in several movies, including The Bronx Dahmer, Back in the Day, and King of Newark 2.  

In 2020, he narrated Chris Brown and Young Thug’s “City Girls” music video. And in 2021, he appeared in Whack the Don and Made in Mexico

Lillo Brancato Jr. says his drug addiction led to his arrest

In a 2017 interview with People, Brancato opened up about his life and drug addiction. He revealed that he started taking drugs after rising to fame with A Bronx Tale, despite warnings from DeNiro and co-star Chazz Palminteri. And he suggested that his addiction was at the root of the 2005 burglary incident. 

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“I became an actor and achieved a lot early on, and it was all destroyed because of my bad choices of using and abusing drugs,” Brancato said. “On the fateful night of Dec. 10, 2005, a heroic police officer lost his life because of my drug taking and bad decision making.”