Reputed Philly mob hitman Frank Sheeran, who is said to have murdered former Teamsters leader Jimmy Hoffa, has hit the big screen as a the central character in Martin Scorsese’s latest mob flick, The Irishman. But that may not be the mobster’s only connection to fame.
Sheeran, who is portrayed by Robert De Niro in The Irishman, is also reportedly related to pop star Ed Sheeran, according to UK tabloid The Sun. The “Shape of You” singer apparently said so to actor Stephen Graham (Snatch), who co-stars in The Irishman as New York City mobster Tony Provenzano.
“They’re related you know. Honest to God — I swear on my nana’s life,” Graham reportedly told The Sun. “That’s what Ed said, he says it’s his distant uncle.”
Sheeran (the singer, not the murderer) did not reply to request for comment from The Sun as of Friday morning, so his relation to the Delco-raised mobster is not confirmed.
The singer, who hails from Halifax, West Yorkshire, England, does have some Irish blood, thanks to his father’s Irish Catholic roots, Dublin Live reports. Sheeran (the killer, not the pop star), meanwhile, is also of Irish Catholic descent on his father’s side, according to the Irish Independent. But that’s about the only confirmable connection at this point, and it doesn’t exactly make the two related.
So, call it another disputed claim surrounding the Philly mobster. Sheeran famously claimed in author Charles Brandt’s 2004 book, I Heard You Paint Houses (on which The Irishman is based), to have murdered Hoffa. However, in 1995, he told the Daily News that he had “nothing to do with” Hoffa’s 1975 disappearance. Sheeran died in 2003.
“I was mad” about Hoffa’s death, the mobster told the Daily News nearly 25 years ago. “[He] was my friend. I didn’t know who was involved.”
Whatever the case, Scorsese’s The Irishman is in a limited number of theaters now, including at the Landmark Ritz Five and the Bryn Mawr Film Institute. The movie will be available to stream via Netflix starting Nov. 27.