Frank Sivero, a character actor who played Frankie Carbone in “Goodfellas,” filed a $250 million lawsuit against Fox on Tuesday, claiming that his likeness was ripped off for use as the wiseguy Louie character on “The Simpsons.”
Sivero claims that he was “the originator of the idea and character” of Louie. He contends that “Simpsons” producer James L. Brooks was aware of who he was and that he created the role of Frankie Carbone and that Louie would be based on the character. In his lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Sivero argues that, in 1989, he lived in the same apartment complex as writers from “The Simpsons” and “they saw each other almost every day.”
The character of Louie is a mafiosa and second in command to mob boss Fat Tony. Louie has appeared in 16 episodes of the show, starting on Oct. 10, 1991.
Sivero claims that he was told by Brooks’ production company, Gracie Films, that he would be “part of the future in connection to the success of ‘The Simpsons.'”
Neither Brooks nor Gracie Films is named as a defendant.
The suit claims infringement of the right of publicity, misappropriation of name and/or likeness, misappropriation of ideas, interference with prospective economic advantage and unjust enrichment.
A spokesman for Fox could not immediately be reached.