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OFF BEAT: 'Simpsons' lawsuit claims cartoon imitates 'Goodfellas' character


If gangster “Louie” on “The Simpsons” cartoon reminds you of someone, you’re not alone.

Actor Frank Sivero is suing Fox Television Studios Inc., claiming they ripped off the character he developed specifically for the films “Goodfellas” and “The Godfather Part II.”

In the lawsuit, filed Oct. 21 in Los Angeles Superior Court, Mr. Sivero alleges that the Simpsons’ writers overheard him practicing the character in 1989 while they were living in adjacent apartments.

“They knew he was developing the character he was to play in the movie ‘Goodfellas’,” the lawsuit asserts. “In fact, they were aware the entire character of ‘Frankie Carbone’ was created and developed by Sivero, who based his character on his own personality.”

In the animated television series, “Louie” is second in command to “Fat Tony,” two Mafioso characters who live in The Simpsons’ hometown of Springfield.

Mr. Sivero apparently filed his lawsuit after Gracie Films failed to make good on its promise of making a film with him.

The suit states that Gracie Films “never intended to make a film with (Mr.) Sivero, and that they were simply studying him further for the character Louie.”

In addition to legal fees and injunctive relief, Mr. Sivero is demanding $250 million in actual damages, including $50 million for the use of his likeness without permission, $100 million for “improper interference,” and $100 million in actual and exemplary damages for the misappropriation of his “confidential” idea.

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