Raiola in 2012
Angela Joyce Raiola
June 30, 1960
|Died||February 18, 2016 (aged 55)|
New York City, New York, US
|Other names||Big Ang|
|Known for||Mob Wives|
Neil Murphy (m. 2009)
Angela Joyce "Big Ang" Raiola (June 30, 1960 – February 18, 2016) was an American reality television personality. She was the niece of Salvatore "Sally Dogs" Lombardi (1941–2009), a caporegime ("capo") and drug dealer in the Genovese crime family. Known as a "mob moll", Raiola dated gangsters and lived an opulent lifestyle.
Raiola received wider notice after being cast for the second season of the VH1 reality television series Mob Wives in 2012, on which she starred through its sixth and final season in 2016. She received her own spin-off series Big Ang in 2012 and Miami Monkey in 2013. At age 55, Raiola died from complications of throat cancer and pneumonia on February 18, 2016.
Life and career
In May 2001, Raiola was one of fifteen defendants indicted—and later convicted—for their roles in the narcotics operation, which distributed crack cocaine, powdered cocaine, and marijuana in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Federal agents described Raiola as an associate of the drug ring's leader, who was sentenced to nearly thirteen years in prison. She was provided cocaine for "street level distribution," according to an affidavit sworn by a DEA agent and an NYPD detective. Raiola sold the drug from Brooklyn bars where she worked. The case against Raiola and her codefendants was built with the aid of wiretapped conversations, the work of an undercover NYPD detective posing as a drug trafficker, and a confidential informant (CI) who made cocaine buys at the direction of federal agents. Some targets of the federal investigation were low-level associates of the Colombo crime family. Raiola was indicted in May 2001 on six felony counts. Along with a conspiracy-to-distribute charge, she was hit with five counts related to separate cocaine sales she made to the CI. At the time of her arrest, Raiola's handbag contained fourteen small plastic bags containing cocaine.
In March 2003, nearly two years after her arrest, Raiola—who was free on $100,000 bond—pleaded guilty to the indictment's top count. In October 2003, she was sentenced to three years' probation and ordered to spend four months under home confinement. Nine months later, in July 2004, a federal judge issued an order modifying Raiola's probation conditions. She was directed by Judge Sterling Johnson Jr. to enroll in "an outpatient and/or inpatient drug treatment or detoxification program." Court records do not indicate what prompted this order. Of the fifteen defendants indicted in the drug case, nine were sentenced to probation. The other six received prison terms ranging from 33 to 151 months.
The Drunken Monkey
In 2007, Raiola opened a Staten Island bar, The Drunken Monkey, with her cousin SallyAnn Lombardi who held the license, but the bar was forced to shut down in 2015 due to Raiola's past as a convicted felon.
In 2011, Raiola filmed what would become her break into reality television, Mob Wives. She made her debut as a regular cast member in the show's second season, which premiered January 1, 2012, with her presence on the show praised by both viewers and critics,[who?] who positively complimented Raiola's unwavering confidence, flamboyant personal style, and witty and mothering personality. She became an immediate fan favorite. Raiola would remain as a series regular for the remaining duration of the show's run, and while she filmed one reunion episode on February 13, she was on set for only two hours due to her illness.
Raiola had two children, Raquel and Anthony (AJ) Donofrio. She married Neil Murphy in 2009.
Illness and death
After Raiola began experiencing pain in her throat in March 2015, doctors diagnosed her with strep throat and placed her on antibiotics. When the pain continued, she went to an ear, nose and throat specialist, who detected a tumor and scheduled her for immediate surgery. In April 2015, the tumor and lymph nodes on the left side of her neck were removed during a ten-hour operation. In May 2015, the lymph nodes on the right side of her neck were also removed. Though she was thought to be cancer-free following the surgeries, a throat scan in December revealed that the cancer had returned. It was later revealed that the cancer had spread to her lungs and brain. By January 2016, the tumors no longer responded to the chemotherapy and continued to grow. The family was advised that they would need to start immunotherapy the following week.
Raiola appeared on The Dr. Oz Show on February 16 focused specifically on her and the issue of her illness. She also appeared in the final season of Mob Wives which filmed before her death. Raiola died with her family in attendance on February 18, 2016, in New York City, at the age of 55. She was surrounded by her husband, Neil Murphy; her children; and six grandchildren. She was honored with a public viewing and was laid to rest on February 22.
|2012–2016||Mob Wives||Herself||Main cast member (seasons 2–6)|
|2012–2013||The Wendy Williams Show||Herself||Guest|
|2012||Big Ang||Herself||Main cast member|
|Miami Monkey||Herself||Main cast member|
|2013||Scary Movie 5||Real Housewife||Feature film|
|Staten Island Summer||Herself||Feature film|
|Celebrity Wife Swap||Herself||Season 4, episode 10|
|Couples Therapy||Herself||Main cast member (season 6)|
|David Tutera's CELEBrations||Herself||Season 8, episode 7|
|2016||The Dr. Oz Show||Herself||Guest; last television appearance before her death|
- Staff (January 27, 2012). ""Mob Wives" Star Once Worked As Cocaine Dealer". The Smoking Gun. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
- Steussy, Lauren (April 27, 2015). "Big Ang on Drunken Monkey closure: 'I did nothing wrong'". silive.com. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- Annese, John M. (March 11, 2015). "After state shuts it down, Big Ang's Drunken Monkey bar issues statement on Facebook". silive.com. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- Staff (February 18, 2016). "Big Ang 'dragged herself off deathbed' to do 'Mob Wives' reunion episodes". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
- Weigle, Lauren (February 17, 2016). "Big Angela Raiola's Kids: Daughter & Son Raquel and Anthony Donfrio". Heavy.com. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- Rayford Rubinstein, Janine (September 17, 2015). "Mob Wives' Angela 'Big Ang' Raiola on Life After Throat Cancer: 'I'm Learning How to Swallow Again'". People.com. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- Jordan, Stephen (February 16, 2016). "Mob Wives' Star Big Ang Battles Brain And Lung Cancer—Tells Dr. Oz 'It's Destroying Me'". Inquisitr. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- Rogers, Katie (February 19, 2016). "Angela Raiola, 'Big Ang' of TV's 'Mob Wives,' Dies at 55". The New York Times. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
- Willis, Jackie (February 18, 2016). "Mob Wives Star Big Ang Dies at 55, Her Twitter Confirms: 'She Was Called Home'". Entertainment Tonight. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- Rogers, Katie (February 18, 2016). "Angela Raiola, 'Big Ang' of TV's Mob Wives, Dies at 55". The New York Times. United States. The New York Times Company. Archived from the original on February 19, 2016. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
- Schumann, Rebecka (February 22, 2016). "Angela 'Big Ang' Raiola Funeral Photos Show Emotional Turnout For 'Mob Wives' Star". International Business Times. Retrieved February 22, 2016.