Brancato to De Niro: "I'll Be Fine, Bob"

Sopranos actor talks about his fall from grace

By Leanne Ta
|  Friday, Feb 20, 2009  |  Updated 1:45 PM EDT
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Brancato to De Niro: "I'll Be Fine, Bob"

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Robert DeNiro told Lillo Brancato Jr. to watch out for bad friends. Too bad he didn't listen.

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When Robert De Niro gives you advice, you take it.

Former "Sopranos" actor Lillo Brancato had to learn this the hard way.

In an interview with ABC's 20/20, Brancato admit that he "squandered" his life away with drugs and crime. 

The 32-year-old actor, a once-promising teenager plucked from obscurity to star as De Niro's son in "A Bronx Tale," was slapped with a 10-year sentence last month for his role in a botched burglary that resulted in the slaying of an NYPD cop.  He was cleared of the more serious charge of second-degree murder in the shooting death of NYPD officer Daniel Enchautegui.

He told 20/20 that De Niro told him he'd be famous and warned him to be careful.

"He said, 'A lot of people are going to want to be your friends, you know, and they don't have your best interest at heart," Brancato said from the Riker's Island jail.

"I kind of shrugged it off. It was kind of like, 'Yeah, I understand what you're saying, but not me. I'll be fine, Bob.' "

Turns out Bob knew what he was talking about.

Brancato has 7 more years to think about it.

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