Actor Tony Darrow Learns Very Public Lesson About Playing Mobster

It was judgment day for Anthony Borgese, aka Tony Darrow, in Brooklyn federal court this week.

U.S. District Judge Eric N. Vitaliano slammed the actor-cum-mobster with two years’ probation, six months’ house arrest, 250 hours of community service and a $7,500 fine.

Not a bad deal, considering Borgese could have gotten up to 40 months in jail.
Tony Darrow was indicted for participating in a shakedown scheme with Gambino soldier Joseph "Joey Boy" Orlando
Mobsters are bad guys, Tony Darrow said, or something like it in anti-mafia
public service ads that probably spared his dimpled ass a prison stint.

Borgese, you may recall, is the former Catskills lounge singer turned actor who made a nice living playing mobsters in film and on TV. But then he went and got himself arrested for getting mixed up with some real mobsters who committed a violent felony while collecting a debt for the would-be Don Borgese.

The actor, who is better known under the Darrow name, has played mobsters or criminal associates in numerous mob films, including Goodfellas, Analyze This, Mickey Blue Eyes and The Sopranos. Okay, maybe he wasn’t the lead, but his face has been shown enough to give him star appeal – people on the street likely know who he is if they see him bouncing up and down on the sidewalk.

Which makes this whole thing all the more baffling.

In 2009 Borgese was indicted for the 2004 crime, when he seems to have lost both the script and the plot by getting himself involved, for some reason, with Gambino soldier Joseph "Joey Boy" Orlando to shake down a Monticello. N.Y., man for $5,000. It was more a crackdown than a shakedown, as the guy probably could hear his ribs cracking with each kick into his side while whistling through his busted nose.

Orlando was sentenced back in March to 51 months in prison for doing the favor of rounding up some muscle to collect the loan for Borgese – who in fact was doing a favor for one of his friends, who was owed the money.

Orlando was actually secretly recorded by an informant discussing the deal, prosecutors said.

The victim, who was not identified, owed a large sum to an upstate car dealership. The dealership owner reached out to Borgese, who sought Orlando’s help. After all, someone owes you money, who you gonna call…?

“Tony (Borgese) says he’s got this Jew in New York State that owes him a few dollars,” Orlando said, according to a transcript, as reported by the New York Daily News.

“They go to the house…. The guy opens the door. He didn’t even have the door open, punches are going through the door. The wife comes out. They gave her a beating.”

They beat the wife, too? WTF!

The whole thing is weird. Borgese is not exactly a has-been: he has appeared in five films since 2005, some major Hollywood productions – and he’s got another flick due out next year. And this isn’t even mentioning the years he spent as Larry Boy on The Sopranos.

Plus, the guy is in his 70s; one would expect him to be playing golf and complaining about politics, not getting mixed up in mob life.

I know some actors hang around the mob while preparing for a role. Hell, Jimmy Caan supposedly lived with the likes of Joey Gallo, a homicidal maniac, and I am sure a host of other actors did this kind of thing and continue to do so – maybe including Borgese. Maybe he made such close friendships with these guys because they helped him out and he kept in touch and slowly got more and more involved. Borgese probably had money burning a hole in his pocket, so he put it on the street, maybe at Gambino behest, maybe not – after all, this is all speculation. (But he could earn a hell of a lot more in juice than gambling in stocks.)

Or maybe he was just doing a turn for a friend, like he said, calling a mobster he either knew personally or through someone. Actors and mobsters have been known to hang out; John Gotti (Senior, damn it!) supposedly opened the Ravenite up late one night, Marlon Brando in tow.

Anyway, it’s curtains for Borgese’s life in the mob, it is safe to say.

The actor has appeared in a public service announcement in which he warns against mob life and has also spoken to youths about the pitfalls of crime.

Borghese's good work "tempers somewhat" his previous misdeeds, Assistant US Attorney Evan Norris wrote to a federal judge in Brooklyn earlier this week.

The judge agreed and showed Darrow mercy at Wednesday morning's sentencing. He probably won’t be shown much mercy by his mobster palls if he ever goes knocking on their door again – you don’t make public service announcements and call them baddies and then expect them to break anymore ribs for you.