'The Capones' cast member passes away

“The Capones” cast member and Elmwood Park resident Madeline Santarelli passed away Monday due to stage 4 liver and lung cancer, according to Cara Leopardo, co-creator of Reelz's "The Capones." A spokesman for Reelz confirmed the news of Santarelli's death. She was 35 years old.

“The Capones” premiered Jan. 28 and stars Dominic Capone -- who co-owns Capone's Restaurant and Pizzeria in Lombard and claims his great, great grandfather was the uncle of notorious gangster Al Capone -- and his inner circle. Santarelli was nicknamed “Cherry Lips” on the series and was described as Dominic’s long time friend and possible ex-girlfriend. Santarelli was given a job working at Capone's in the first episode of the show.

"I can tell you Madeline was one of a kind," said Leopardo, who knew Santarelli since childhood, by email Tuesday. "She made everyone who ever met her laugh. She had a heart of gold. ... Anyone you speak to about her could tell you that she was one of those rare souls that was naturally funny, like a female John Candy.

"Ever since Madeline was a child, she always wanted to be famous and be on TV. ... It's powerful to know she did it and reached her dreams and I'm honored I was part of it."

Leopardo said Santarelli was diagnosed with cancer in November. She added that Santarelli will be cremated but will not have a funeral service, as per the family's wishes.

“Today we lost our friend and cast member to liver cancer,” Dominic tweeted. “Madeleine Santarelli you will be missed by us.”

lgomez@tribune.com | Twitter @TribLuis

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • Interview: 'Capones' find fame in family name
    Interview: 'Capones' find fame in family name

    It’s no coincidence that the series premiere of “The Capones” reality TV show — which debuts Tuesday on Reelz channel — kicks off with a suit-wearing, cigar-smoking Dominic Capone firing a tommy gun in a field. The scene is a nod to Al Capone, the prohibition-era...

  • Gov. Rauner defends paying staff more than Quinn
    Gov. Rauner defends paying staff more than Quinn

    Gov. Bruce Rauner defended paying his top staff members significantly more than his predecessor, explaining Friday that he will pay what is necessary for talent.

Comments
Loading