Magazine article Newsweek

Godfather Knows Best; Mob Wives and Their Kids Spill about Crime Family Life

Magazine article Newsweek

Godfather Knows Best; Mob Wives and Their Kids Spill about Crime Family Life

Article excerpt

Byline: Peg Tyre

Call it the Carmela Soprano effect. First it was the mobsters who threw off the code of omerta with tell-all books like Sammy Gravano's "Underboss." Now the wives and children of La Cosa Nostra are blabbing too. Some want to distance themselves from organized crime, others want to deglamorize Mafia life--but all of them see a chance to cash in on our fascination with the mob.

This week A&E is launching "Growing Up Gotti," a reality show in which Mafia princess Victoria Gotti juggles her job (as gossip columnist for the Star) with being a homemaker (in a 14-room mansion with 42 surveillance cameras) and mother to three seemingly ungovernable teenage sons. "Everyone has preconceptions when they hear the last name," she moans on the show, brushing back masses of platinum hair. If you buy Victoria's contention that her father, late Gambino crime boss John Gotti, was nothing more than America's most misunderstood plumbing-supply salesman, you'll love the premise of the show--that the Gottis are a family just like yours. "I wanted the world to see," Victoria has said, "we're normal, regular" folks.

Others want to set the record straight. In their book "On the Run: A Mafia Childhood," out this fall, the kids of mob informer Henry Hill, made famous in Martin Scorsese's movie "Goodfellas," describe their harrowing upbringing around career criminals and later in the Witness Protection Program. Gregg and Gina Hill, now in their 30s, are estranged from their dad but still living under assumed names. …

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