If you’re not convinced America is the land of litigation, this story may do the trick.
The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed Italian-American actor Frank Sivero is suing 20th Century Fox to the tune of $250 million, claiming the minor Simpsons character Louie was based on him.
Louie, as true Simpsons die-hards will tell you, is the curly-haired assistant to infamous Springfield mobster Fat Tony. And as the newly-filed lawsuit contends, “Louie’s appearance and mannerisms are strongly evocative of character actor Frank Sivero.”
Frank is no stranger to the gangster look, having portrayed Genco Abbandando in The Godfather Part II and Frankie Carbone in Goodfellas. But high-profile mafia roles aside, the 62-year-old says the Simpsons character isn’t an homage — it’s full-fledged identity theft.
The lawsuit alleges that in 1989, Frank lived next door to several Simpsons writers. “They knew he was developing the character he was to play in the movie Goodfellas,” states the document. “In fact, they were aware the entire character of Frankie Carbone was created and developed by Sivero, who based this character on his own personality.”
Two years later, the character Louie appeared in the third-season Simpsons episode titled Bart the Murderer. As such, Frank claims his likeness is being infringed in violation of California’s publicity rights law. Will the courts agree? We’ll keep you posted…
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