Angela "Big Ang" Raiola
Angela Raiola, known affectionately as 'Big Ang' by her fans, was an American reality television personality who first came to prominence after appearing on the reality series "Mob Wives" (VH1 2011- ), which tracked the lives of a group of women married to or otherwise related to alleged criminal underworld figures. With her blunt, straight-talking manner, deep gravelly voice and distinctive appearance thanks to a love of plastic surgery, Raiola became a daytime talk show favorite and earned a couple of spin-off series of her own. Born in Brooklyn, New York, Raiola was the niece of a late member of the city's Genovese crime family; her own real-life brush with the law came with a 2003 arrest for possession of cocaine. Her husband Neil was a sanitation worker, while she owned a number of bars over the years, including Staten Island's Drunken Monkey. Following on from her popularity with viewers in "Mob Wives," her own reality show "Big Ang" (VH1 2012) followed her own exploits and those of her family. A second spin-off, "Miami Monkey" (VH1 2013), found Raiola attempting to open a new bar of the same name in Florida. Raiola made her big-screen debut with a small part in horror spoof sequel "Scary Movie V" (2012) and also appeared in the Colin Jost-penned comedy "Staten Island Summer" (2015) in a cameo as herself. Big Ang appeared on one season of the reality series "Couples Therapy" (VH1 2012- ) in 2015, but a cancer diagnosis caused her to curtail her public appearances. Angela Raiola died on Thursday, February 18, 2016 in New York, after her throat cancer spread to her lungs and brain. She was 55 years old.