CIARCIA --John, "Cha Cha,"
owner of Little Italy's, popular Cha Cha's In Bocca Al Lupo Cafe on Mulberry St., passed away November 21, at NYU Langone Medical Center following a brief illness. Known as "The Mayor of Little Italy," he was an actor, producer, celebrity manager, boxing promoter and radio host. Cha Cha's Little Italy cafe was a popular gathering place for many of his celebrity friends, including Tony Danza, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, Martin Scorsese, Robert DeNiro, Danny Aiello, Vincent Pastore and Joey Reynolds. His movies included "Hoffa," "A Brooklyn State of Mind," "Mamamia," "Death to Smoochy" and "Goodfellas." He played Albie Cianfione in HBO's "The Sopranos" and co-hosted Sirius Satellite Radio's "The Wise Guys Show." He is survived by his wife, singer Karen King, a sister, Marie 'Mary Anne' Gentile, four aunts, one uncle, five nephews, five nieces, three great nieces, three great nephews and one great-great niece. "Chach," as he was also known, was a great friend to many and a real lover of his neighborhood and the city of New York. He was one of a kind and a huge light has gone out on Mulberry St. There will be a wake on Monday and Tuesday, November 30 and December 1, from 3 to 5pm and 7 to 10pm each day, at the Youth Center of Saint Patrick's Old Cathedral, 268 Mulberry St. The Funeral Mass of The Resurrection is scheduled for 10:30am on Wednesday, December 2, at Saint Patrick's Old Cathedral (at Mott St. and Prince St.).
Published in New York Times on Nov. 29, 2015.