Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lillo Brancato

Lillo Brancato is a former child star best known for his role as Calogero Anello in the successful 1993 movie, A Bronx Tale. Brancato went from being on the fast track for movie stardom in the early 1990s to being a real-life crackhead and eventually ended up sentenced to a 10-year sentence in prison for his participation in a 2005 burglary gone horribly wrong that resulted in a dead police officer.

Brancato was born on August 19, 1976 in Bogota Columbia. When he was four months old, he was adopted by a New York City family. Brancato was discovered by a talent scout while swimming at a beach - the scout noticed Brancato's resemblance to Robert De Niro. Brancato was a fan of De Niro's and impressed the scout with an impression of Travis Bickle from Taxi Driver. Brancato's performance won him the role of De Niro's son in the 1993 movie, A Bronx Tale.

In A Bronx Tale, Brancato played Calogero Anello, a boy growing up in the Bronx in a working-class family. Calogero's father was Lorenzo Anello (played by Robert De Niro), an honest bus driver who tried to raise his son to be an honest and hard-working young man. As a young boy, Calogero witnessed a man being shot and killed by the neighborhood mob boss, Sonny LoSpecchio (played by Chazz Palminteri). When Calogero lied to the police when questioned about what he saw in the incident, Sonny took Calogero under his wing and tried to teach him to be "street smart."

Brancato received positive reviews for his role in A Bronx Tale. I thought his character was kind of annoying, although I will admit that Brancato did act with a certain degree of passion, which is probably somewhat unusual for a rookie actor. After A Bronx Tale, Brancato had a substantial role in the moderately successful 1994 army comedy drama, Renaissance Man, where he played an army cadet.

Toward the late 1990s, Brancato's acting roles became more sparse, although he did secure small roles in the hit movies Crimson Tide and Enemy of the State. Brancato followed up with a recurring role on The Sopranos in 2000, where he played Matt Bevilaqua, a small time mobster.

After 2000, Brancato struggled to find work, securing only a few minor roles such as a role in an episode of NYPD Blue and in the horrible 2002 Eddie Murphy comedy, The Adventures of Pluto Nash.

Brancato was hiding a secret and perhaps this was the reason for his lack of acting roles. His secret was a drug addiction that was overtaking his life. Brancato has claimed that he was first introduced to marijuana on the rowdy A Bronx Tale set. After A Bronx Tale, Brancato moved up to harder drugs such as crack cocaine and eventually became addicted to crack and heroin. Brancato also acquired a taste for prescription drugs.

On June 10, 2005, Brancato was arrested in Yonkers, New York, and charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance. Police reportedly pulled Brancato over for having a rear brake light out and found he had an expired registration and no other papers for the vehicle. Police searched Brancato's vehicle and discovered four bags of heroin in a cigarette box in Brancato's car.

On December 10, 2005 Brancato participated in a burglary that would change his life forever. Brancato and an accomplice, 48-year-old Steven Armento, the father of Brancato's girlfriend, attempted to burglarize a vacant house in the Bronx area of New York City. Brancato and Armento were confronted by Daniel Enchautegui, an off-duty police officer who lived in the house next door, who heard glass break. Enchautegui called for backup and then all hell broke loose - Armento allegedly shot Enchautegui and Enchautegui returned fired, getting off eights rounds before he died, hitting Brancato twice and Armento six times times.

Armento and Brancato were quickly arrested for murder. Armento was convicted of first-degree murder on October 30, 2008, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Brancato was charged with second-degree murder and first-degree attempted burglary. Brancato was found not guilty of the murder charge, but was convicted of the first-degree attempted burglary charge and sentenced on January 9, 2009 to 10 years in prison.

Lillo Brancato has gone from being a promising young actor to a convicted felon in a mere 15 years. Brancato probably dreamed of excitement of winning an academy award as a youth, but now he deals with the horror of possibly being a fellow prisoner's bitch in prison. For this and the reasons above, Lillo Brancato is one washed-up celebrity!

*** Update - August 21, 2013 ***

I recently discovered this 20/20 news report about Lillo Brancato and his troubles. This news report includes a jailhouse interview with Brancato:

*** Update - January 6, 2014 ***

Lillo Brancato was released from prison on December 31, 2013.  Actor Chazz Palminteri has absolutely no sympathy for Brancato's plight and recently told the NY Daily News, "Don't call me - and I won't ever call you."  Palminteri, a strong advocate for the police department, apparently told Brancato to stay away from drugs years ago and is disappointed that Brancato did not heed his advice...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Chuck Berry

Chuck Berry is a famous singer, songwriter, and guitarist. He was one of the pioneers of rock and roll music and had a string of hits between the mid-1950s and the early-1970s. Although renowned for his musical abilities, Berry has tarnished his reputation over the years via frequent brushes with the law and deviant sexual behaviors.

I. Early Life

Berry was born on October 18, 1926 in St. Louis, Missouri. He grew up in a middle-class family which encouraged him to pursue his musical interests at a young age. Berry made his first public performance while a high school student at Sumner high school.

Berry encountered his first brush with the law during his senior year in high school, in 1944, when he was arrested and convicted of armed robbery after carjacking an automobile and going for a joyride with his friends to Kansas City, Missouri. Berry admitted in a 1987 autobiography, Chuck Berry: The Autobiography, that his car broke down on the shoulder of a highway and that he flagged down a passing motorist and stole the motorist's car at gunpoint. The carjacking victim called police at a pay phone and Berry was quickly captured and incarcerated at the Intermediate Reformatory School for Young Men at Algoa, until his 21st birthday in 1947.

II. Musical Success Early In Career

After getting out of prison, Berry married Themetta "Toddy" Suggs in 1948 and pursed various factory jobs and also considered a career in photography. Meanwhile, Berry began performing as a guitarist in his spare time for bands in St. Louis. By 1953, Berry was performing with the Johnnie Johnson Trio, a popular regional band that played at a club called The Cosmopolitan in East St. Louis, Illinois. Berry became known for his guitar riffs and grandstanding.

In 1955, Berry covered "Ida Red" (renamed "Maybellene") with several backup musicians. "Maybellene" was Berry's first hit, selling over a million copies and reaching #1 on Billboard's Rhythm and Blues chart and #5 on the Hot 100. In 1956, Berry had another hit with "Roll Over Beethoven," which reached #29 on the Billboard Top 100 chart. Berry followed with hits such as "Rock and Roll Music" in 1956. "Sweet Little Sixteen" (which hit #2 on the Hot 100) and "Johnny B. Goode" (which hit #8 on the Hot 100) in 1958.

However, in December 1959, Berry ran afoul of the law again after he invited a 14-year-old Apache waitress whom he met in Mexico to work as a hat check girl at his club. The girl was arrested on a prostitution charge after being fired from the job and Berry was arrested under the Mann Act. Berry was convicted, fined $5,000, and sentenced to five years in prison.

III. Musical Success Later in Career

Upon release from prison in 1963, he underwent a career resurgence as other bands such as the Beatles and Beach Boys covered some of his songs. Berry continued to release new albums and tour throughout the 1960s up to the 1970s. In 1972 he had his biggest hit, "My Ding-A-Ling," which he had initially recorded as a novelty track.

Berry's type of touring style, traveling the "oldies" circuit in the 1970s — where he was often paid in cash by local promoters — added ammunition to the Internal Revenue Service's accusations that Berry was a chronic income tax evader. Facing criminal sanction for the third time, Berry pleaded guilty to tax evasion and was sentenced to four months imprisonment and 1,000 hours of community service involving various benefit concerts in 1979.

Berry continued to tour throughout the 1980s, giving 70-100 one-night performances a year. In the late 1980s, Berry owned a restaurant in Wentzville, Missouri, called The Southern Air. Berry currently performs about one Wednesday each month at Blueberry Hill, a restaurant and bar located in the St. Louis area. In 2008, Berry toured Europe, with stops in Sweden, Norway, Finland, England, the Netherlands, Ireland, Switzerland and Spain.

IV. Berry's Deviant Sexual Fetishes

There is no disputing that Berry has been an exceptionally successful musician. However, it seems as though Berry's music has never been his "true calling" or driving influence. Instead, Berry seems to be motivated by his one true love in life - watching women take dumps.

In 1990 Berry was sued by several women who alleged that Berry installed a video camera in the ladies' bathrooms at two of his St. Louis restaurants. Berry probably installed the camera so that he could masturbate vigorously while watching video of women going to the bathroom at his restaurant. It's possible that Berry had microphones installed so that he could hear the sounds of women farting after eating the food at his restaurants... One wonders whether Berry would have eventually installed surveillance and microphones in the bathrooms at his local Taco Bell so that he could listen to the sounds of women (and possibly also men) spraying diarrhea after eating greasy tacos...

A class action settlement was eventually reached with 59 women on the complaint. It is estimated that the settlement cost Berry around $1.3 million plus legal fees.

There are rumors that the police raided Berry's house after the allegations of the bathroom videos surfaced. Supposedly the police found some nasty home videos at Berry's residence. One of the videos supposedly shows Berry giving a golden shower to a blonde woman. After soaking her in piss, Berry apparently tells her to open her eyes and mouth, and asks whether his urine is "nice and salty." The woman supposedly tells Berry that she loves him and then asks him for a kiss. Berry's response? He said that he wouldn't kiss her because, "it smells like piss." During the same scene, Berry also reportedly unleashes a long and very loud fart and then says, "You can smell my fart." It has been reported that Berry's fart was as loud as a fog horn on a cruise ship!

Berry showed that he can receive as well as give in the next scene, as the same woman is supposedly shown taking a dump on Berry's face.

V. Conclusion

Despite his successful music career, Berry has had several brushes with the law and the entire world now knows that he's a dirty old man with perverted sexual fetishes and apparently gets turned by a woman with a "turtlehead" sticking out. Accordingly, there can be no doubt that Chuck Berry is one washed up celebrity!

*** Update - July 4, 2011 ***
I discovered a link to a sound clip which was allegedly taken from Chuck Berry's sex video. This sound clip includes a sound allegedly of Chuck Berry ripping ass and then saying "Smell my fart." If this clip is legit, then I have to admit that Chuck Berry's fart does sound kind of like a fog horn!

*** Update - May 12, 2013 ***
I recently discovered this video on youtube which includes a two-hour loop of the alleged Chuck Berry fart:


*** Update - September 18, 2013 ***

The website for Vice magazine recently posted scans of several pages of a letter sent to Bob Guccione from an alleged federal DEA informant who came across Chuck Berry's infamous "toilet tapes."  According to the DEA informant, Berry enjoyed farting in a faces of his unsuspecting lovers while in the 69 position.  A scan of the first page of the letter is shown below (click on the image for a larger view).  The other pages may be seen on the Vice magazine's website