Angela Raiola aka Big Ang was a fan favorite on the VH1 reality series Mob Wives which followed the lives of women with ties to the mob. Unfortunately, Big Ang’s fame in reality TV didn’t last as long as fans would have liked as she passed away in February 2016 after a brief bout with cancer. Follow us as we reveal interesting facts about Big Ang’s life.
Big Ang (Angela Raiola) Wiki
Big Ang was born as Angela Joyce Raiola on June 30, 1960, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the niece of the Genovese crime family drug dealer and capo Salvatore Lombardi aka Sally Dogs. Big Ang grew up among drug dealers and cartel members and soon became incorporated into their lifestyle as she began operating mafia hangouts that would become notorious.
She was the owner of The Drunken Monkey, a Staten Island bar, which operated from 2007 till 2015 when it was shut down due to her run-ins with the law.
Most of Angela’s bars were used as hubs for drug trafficking between Brooklyn and New York City. In 2001, Ang found herself on the wrong side of the law after she was arrested with several wraps of cocaine in her handbag. Along with 15 others, she was convicted for a narcotics operation.
According to the New York Police Department (NYPD) which made the arrest, Ang had close ties with a drug dealer who was serving time in jail. Information on her activities was obtained via an undercover agent who posed as a fellow drug trafficker.
Ang was indicted on 6 felony counts. She pleaded guilty and was free on a $100, 000 bond. She was in 2003 sentenced to three years of probation with a condition to remained home-confined for four months. Ang was among the 9 out of the 15 indicted who escaped jail time.
Long after all her troubles with the law had been settled, Big Ang in 2011 tried her hands at reality TV. She filmed as a regular cast member for the second season of the VH1 series Mob Wives which premiered on New Year’s Day 2012.
Big Ang’s larger-than-life personality garnered her many fans and ultimately made her the show’s breakout star. She went on to score her own spin-off show titled Big Ang. After running for one season with 10 episodes, Big Ang was retooled to another spin-off entitled Miami Monkey.
The name of the spin-off was gotten from Ang’s Miami branch of the Staten Island bar. She had moved to Miami to have the show filmed, however, following the shutting down of her bar by authorities due to her previous felony charges, Miami Monkey was canceled in July 2014.
Angela’s fame brought her other gigs including an appearance in Scary Movie 5 (2013) as the Real Housewife and in Staten Island Summer (2015). She has appeared as a guest on TV shows such as The Wendy Williams Show, Bethenny, The Real, and The Dr. Oz Show. The latter became her final TV appearance before her death.
Big Ang also made appearances in other reality TV shows such as Celebrity Wife Swap, Couples Therapy, and David Tutera’s CELEBrations.
Before Surgery, Death
Ang in March 2015 began feeling unbearable pains in her throat and immediately sought medical attention. She was diagnosed with strep throat and placed her on antibiotics which did little or nothing to ease the pains.
About two months later, Ang visited a throat specialist who diagnosed her with throat cancer after finding a tumor the size of a lemon in her lungs.
Immediate surgery was carried out and all of the tumors removed, however, it was too late for Angela as cancer had spread to other parts of her body including her lungs and brain.
She was placed on chemotherapy which did only little to curb the illness. Angela gave up the ghost on February 18, 2016, surrounded by her family.
Angie, before her death, warned the public of the dangers of smoking as her death to cancer was a result of 40 years of heavy smoking – Ang would smoke at least one pack of cigarettes each day.
“If you’re smoking, quit now, and if you’ve never smoked, don’t start,” the husky-voiced star warned.
Following her death, her Mob Wives co-stars, her family including her sister Janine Detore who appeared on Mob Wives, and her children took to social media to send tributes.
Husband – Neil Murphy
Big Ang married a certain Neil Murphy in 2009, they remained married till her death. Though the couple had become separated, Neil did well to stay beside his wife throughout her sick days.
After Angela passed, Niel took to his social media accounts to post many sweet memories of himself and Ang.
Big Ang Daughter
Big Ang left behind two children including daughter Raquel Donofrio and son Anthony Donofrio aka AJ. She had them both out of wedlock. Her daughter Raquel was the first to be born, her birthday being January 13th, 1985.
Despite raising her kids as a single parent, Big Ang did allow her daughter Raquel to keep close ties with her father named Robert. Raquel had a close relationship with both her maternal and paternal grandparents. She served as her auntie Janine’s maid of honor at her wedding.
Unlike her mom, Raquel didn’t follow in the gang life. She has two master’s degrees and is married with kids. Big Ang’s son is also married. On August 28th, 2015, he tied the knot in a lavish ceremony to his fiancée Gabriella Celestino. Big Ang’s children made her a grandmother to 6 kids.
She was 55 years old. RIP Big Ang.