Actor Frank Sivero has filed a $250 million lawsuit that claims The Simpsons' creator got the idea for the character Louie from the Frankie Carbone character that he played in Martin Scorsese's gangster movie Goodfellas in 1990.
The Simpsons introduced the Springfield Mafia, which includes mob boss Fat Tony and his "wiseguys" Louie and Legs, 23 years ago to the Springfield world. Louie first appeared in a Season 4 episode in October 1991 and has appeared in 16 episodes since.
Silvero claims in the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Tuesday that in 1989 he lived in an apartment next door to The Simpsons writers in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood. The lawsuit alleges in particular that The Simpsons producer James L. Brooks was "highly aware of who Sivero was, the fact that he created the role of Frankie Carbone, and that The Simpsons character Louie would be based on this character."
"During this time, both writers knew who Sivero was, and they saw each other almost every day," the complaint reads. "They knew he was developing the character he was to play in the movie Goodfellas, a movie Sivero did in 1989. 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."
According to the 12-page complaint, the Fox show has earned over $12 billion from several revenue streams, including toys and video games. Sivero says he is owed $50 million in damages for loss of his likeness, $50 million in actual loss for "improper appropriation of Plaintiff's confidential idea," $50 million for exemplary damages, and $100 million for "improper interference."
The suit also alleges Sivero was promised by Gracie Films, The Simpsons' production company, that he'd be part of future endeavors and they would make a film together, "but it never happened."
"On one occasion, at a party in or around 1995/96, Sivero had another conversation with Mr. Brooks where Sivero stated, 'It's about time we do something together.' Mr. Brooks said yes, but this again never materialized," the filing adds.
Sivero is also famous for his role in 1974's Godfather Part II as Genco Abbandando, but hasn't made a film since 2008's crime B-movie Hotel California.
He brought a different lawsuit in July, against a deli in El Cajon, California, for creating a "Frankie Carbone" sandwich, according to the Guardian.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at email@example.com.
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