Notable Deaths ›

Sonny Grosso (2020), detective inspired Oscar-winning film “The French Connection”

Getty Images / Frederick M. Brown

Grosso and partner Eddie Egan took down a major heroin trafficking ring

Sonny Grosso was a New York City detective whose take down of a major heroin trafficking ring was the basis for the acclaimed 1971 film “The French Connection.” In 1961, Grosso and other detectives broke up the heroin ring in 1961 and seized a record amount of the drug at the time. Grosso and Egan were technical advisors on the movie, which featured Roy Schneider and Gene Hackman playing characters based on them, and had small roles as well. Grosso retired from the NYPD in 1976 and became a producer on shows including “Kojak.”

We invite you to share condolences for Sonny Grosso in our Guest Book.

Died: Wednesday, January 22, 2020 (Who else died on January 22?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 88.


Is there someone you miss whose memory should be honored? Here are some ways.


What they said about him: “He was some narcotics detective. He made that case. He made the French Connection case. Sonny Grosso figured out how they were doing it. It was Sonny Grosso. There were a lot of busts that were coming out of narcotics and I’m telling you, Sonny Grosso was at the front, the bottom, whatever it was, with all those cases.” —Retired Det. Randy Jurgensen, who worked on the case, told the New York Daily News

“He was the most unpretentious celebrity you could ever imagine. He was so well known in the showbiz world… and yet he would talk to anybody at any time and had a great sense of humor.” —Retired NYPD Capt. Ernie Naspretto told the New York Daily News

Full obituary: New York Daily News

Related lives: