Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Monday, April 11, 2011

My mobster father stopped speaking to us: "Mob Wives" creator

The first casualty of VH1's upcoming real ity series "Mob Wives" is already in the books.
It's the relationship between Jenn Graziano, the creator of the series that starts Sunday night, and her father, Anthony Graziano, the alleged consigliere of the Bonanno crime family who is serving time for racketeering in a federal prison in North Carolina.
Ever since she decided to do the series, her father has stopped speaking to her -- and her sister, ReneƩ, who is one of the four "wives" on the show.
"He absolutely has not given his blessing. He's not very happy at all, to be honest," says Graziano.
COZY NOSTRA: Jenn Graziano is the Staten Island mob daughter behind the controversial new realityseries, 'Mob Wives.' She cast her sister and three friends in the show.
COZY NOSTRA: Jenn Graziano is the Staten Island mob daughter behind the controversial new realityseries, "Mob Wives." She cast her sister and three friends in the show.
"We tried to explain to him that . . . we're not giving away any secrets," she says.
"But he's not even speaking to us."
If you didn't know it by now, the Mafia's days as a "secret society" are over. There are no more secrets to give away.
Except maybe one: the glitz and glamour of mob life portrayed in movies and TV shows like "Goodfellas" and "The Sopranos" isn't remotely close to the harsh reality faced by the women left behind when their significant others are serving time.
And that's the point Graziano hopes to make in "Mob Wives," in which Graziano's cameras follow her older sister, Renee, and three friends -- including Karen Gravano, daughter of infamous mob turncoat "Sammy the Bull" -- as they try keep it together on Staten Island with their main support systems behind bars.
"It's not all fancy clothes and cars," says Graziano. "These are women who are now single moms trying to make it on their own."
Not that long ago, a series like "Mob Wives" would have been impossible to make.
Now, Graziano says, it really didn't take too much persuading to get the four "Mob Wives" to agree to star in the show, which is still filming in and around Staten Island (with a few detours to Brooklyn and Jersey).
"They were a bit hesitant at first," she says. "But at the same time, they're ready to start new chapters in their lives and stand on their own two feet," she says.
That may be the one reason this show could be made. In the first two episodes, it becomes clear that two of the four women are separated or divorced from their incarcerated husbands -- and a third, Drita D'avanzo, is thisclose to throwing in the towel on her marriage.
"They only have themselves to rely on," says Jenn Graziano, "It's a realistic side of them that makes them no different from other women."
The show itself is shaped around Karen Gravano's return to Staten Island after 10 years of living in Arizona -- first in, then out of the Federal Witness Protection Program -- after her father's release from prison.
Jenn's sister, ReneƩ, who emerges in the first episodes as the central player in the drama, wants nothing to do with Karen. The others are willing to forgive and forget the sins of the father.
"Renee is probably one of the most warm-hearted people you'll ever meet," says Jenn of her sister. Renee's ex-husband Junior was picked up in last January's sweep of Mafia suspects. They are raising their 16-year-old son, AJ, together.
"She'll give you the shirt off her back and 99 cents of her last dollar. [But] she's very dramatic. It just seems to find her," says Jenn, who does not appear on-camera on the show.
"We say that she's hot pink, and I'm beige," she explains.
Gravano, who never married, has an 11-year-old daughter, Katrina (whose father spent eight years in prison).
"Karen is very fun-loving and down-to-earth -- like the girl next door," Graziano says. "But she doesn't take any s**t at all."
Drita's husband, Lee, is in state prison on bank robbery charges, They have two kids.
"She didn't grow up in this lifestyle," says Jenn. "She married into it. She's Albanian and grew up in the projects of Staten Island."
Carla Facciolo has 9-year-old twins. "We call her the 'Sex Kitten,' not in the sense that she sleeps around but she's very sexy and into her looks," Graziano says.


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