Are you speaking to me? Karen Gravano discusses Sammy the Bull, John Gotti, and the Gambino crime family.
“Mob Daughter” as she calls herself As the daughter of infamous former Gambino family underboss turned government cooperator Salvatore “Sammy The Bull” Gravano, Karen Gravano has seen her fair share of death and mayhem.
Karen had her own legal problems after her entire family was arrested and convicted with running an ecstasy ring in Arizona shortly after Karina was born in 2000. Her father was sentenced to twenty years in a maximum-security prison as a result of these charges.
Kare Gravano chose to make lemonade out of a lifetime of legal lemons in 2011 by going public with her own tale. She participated in the hit VH1 reality show Mob Wives for six seasons and penned the bestseller biography Mob Daughter: The Mafia, Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, and Me! in 2012.
Karen and the Gravano family finally let viewers inside the complicated dynamic of three generations of a public family buried and mythologized by the legacy of organized crime in America in the second season of the MTV reality show Families of the Mafia, which Gravano also produces.
Allison Kugel (Kugel): What three key life events have had the most impact on who you are now?
Karen Gravano: My family was arrested in Arizona in 2000. Because I had just given birth, that was unquestionably a life-changing experience. Having my daughter, of course, changed my life. And for me, it was when I published my book (Mob Daughter/St Martin’s Press) that my life came full circle and I was finally able to tell about all that had happened to me. At the time, I was also a cast member of the reality show Mob Wives. I opened up a lot about my childhood experiences and feelings, as well as what I’ve observed.
AK: In your 2012 book, Mob Daughter, you claim that while you were on Mob Wives, your father, who was in prison at the time, was supportive but not entirely on board. It didn’t sit well with him. What makes Families of the Mafia, in which he appears, unique?
KG: Mob Wives was the first of its sort, especially when it originally came out, in that we were actually saying the word out loud. In retrospect, much of that show was inspired by my father’s life and personality. It was the first time in my life. “Brinkwire News in Condensed Form.”