La Dolce Vita in Santa Monica
A mixed bag of celebs and socialites a (all of Italian descent) gathered beneath the magnificent Moreton Bay Fig Tree at the Fairmount Hotel, to salute their colleagues at the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) West Coat Gala. This non-profit organization is dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of Italian Americans.
Before more than 400 guests, Democratic Leader, Nancy Pelosi kicked off a special tribute to the late Joseph R. Cerrell, who served the organization for over 15 years. Others honored included Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda; Emmy and Golden Globe winner, Gary Sinise; and former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi, who just came out with a new book, A Helluva High Note.
Genial host of the event was actor Joe Mantegna, who currently is starring in the TV series Criminal Minds – after all; he did star in The Godfather, Part III! Jon Favreau, actor, screenwriter and director (Iron Man) also received a Special Achievement Award in Entertainment.
One of our favorite TV personalities, Giuliana DePandi Rancic, anchor of E News, was named Youth Ambassador for NIAF. She will help plan and develop programs for Italian Americans, as well as for young people of all ethnicities.
One of the highlights of the event was when Mantegna, MLB All-star player, Mike Piazza and actor Robert Davi (Diehard & License to Kill) joined together to sing a chorus of “That’s Amore”.
But they were no competition for Franc D’Ambrosio, of Phantom of the Opera fame, who launched into the Italian national anthem, and sang a repertoire of Italian classics. He was joined by opera singer, Christina Carlucci, who received a standing ovation for her stellar performance.
Brava to NIAf President, Joseph Del Raso, Esq. and his hard working committee who truly made this a delizioso notte for us all.
At another event, famed Century City attorney, Ken Kleinberg was honored as Entertainment Attorney of the Year, by the Beverly Hills Bar Association. Kleinberg’s clients include actors, writers, authors and producers, and he is known as one of the top deal makers in the biz. On hand to congratulate him were Natalie Cole, looking sleek in her animal print outfit, and members of the Band, Chicago (Danny Seraphine and Peter Ceters) who said they were proud that Kleinberg has made a tremendous contribution to the profession and community.
Joe Mantegna, Mike Piazza and Robert David at NIAF
Tommy Lasorda at NIAF
Gary Sinise, Mr. & Mrs. Joe Mantegna
Natalie Cole with Ken Kleinberg (Entertainment Attorney of the Year)