Brooklyn native Big Ang of ‘Mob Wives’ fame is laid to rest
A reality television superstar who died of cancer was returned home to Brooklyn for her funeral and received an emotional outpouring of tributes from mourners and fans.
Angela “Big Ang” Raiola, the flamboyant star of the hit VH1 reality show “Mob Wives,” lived on Staten Island for many years, but grew up in Brooklyn and graduated from New Utrecht High School in Bensonhurst.
Raiola died of cancer on Feb. 18. She was 55 years old. She had been diagnosed with throat cancer in early 2015. By December, the cancer had spread to her brain and her lungs.
The wake for Raiola, which was held at Scarpaci Funeral Home Inc. at 1401 86th St. in Bensonhurst on Feb. 20 and 21, drew hundreds of people, many of whom waited on a long line outside for the chance to enter the funeral home and pay their respects to the popular television personality, whose raspy voice and tough-as-nails but kind-hearted persona were her calling cards.
“You just knew that deep down inside, she was a sweetheart,” one fan told the Brooklyn Eagle.
The funeral home’s walls were lined with floral displays in eye-catching shapes like the Chanel logo and a monkey pouring a glass of wine, the New York Daily News reported on Feb. 21. The floral monkey was a reference to the fact that Raiola was the owner of The Drunken Monkey, a bar on Staten Island.
The funeral service was scheduled to take place at the Basilica of Regina-Pacis at 1230 65th St. in Dyker Heights on Feb. 22.
A block-long portion of 86th Street near the funeral home was closed to traffic in one direction on Monday morning to accommodate the parade of hearses and limousines that would be carrying Raiola’s remains and her family and friends to the church for the funeral service.
The burial was to take place at a cemetery on Staten Island.
Raiola’s death was announced on her Twitter page on Feb. 18 by family friend Vinnie Medugno.
“It is with sad regret that we inform you that at 3:01 a.m. Angela Raiola peacefully ended her battle with cancer and was called home,” Medugno wrote. “You (her fans) were some of the most special people in her world and she loved you immensely. Thank you for your prayers and unconditional support of Angela right to the end. She truly went out richer than any monetary value could ever amount to.”
Raiola was one of the breakout stars of “Mob Wives,” a VH1 reality show which looked at the complicated lives of women whose husbands or other family members were allegedly connected to organized crime.
“Mob Wives” debuted on VH1 in 2011. The show is now in its final season.
So popular was Raiola that she was given her own spinoff show, “Big Ang,” in 2012.
Technically speaking, Raiola wasn’t a mob wife, but a mob niece. Her uncle was Salvatore “Sally Dogs” Lombardi, a reputed captain in the Genovese crime family.
She and her husband, Neil Murphy, were separated at the time of her death.
Raiola is survived by her two children and her six grandchildren.
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