NIAF News Releases



Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 10, 2006) Entertainer Frankie Valli, will receive the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Lifetime Achievement Award at the Foundation’s 31st Anniversary Awards Gala on Saturday, October 21 at the Hilton Washington & Towers, Washington, D.C. A performance by Valli and The Four Seasons is also one of the highlights at NIAF’s annual Salute to the Martini on the evening of Friday, October 20 at the hotel.

The NIAF gala is one of the premier annual events in the nation’s capital, attracting more than 3,000 people from throughout the country and Italy. The gala begins with a 6 p.m. reception followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

During the gala, Academy Award-winning actress Anne Bancroft will be posthumously inducted into the NIAF Italian American Hall of Fame. Her husband, Mel Brooks, will accept the award on her behalf. Actor Alan Alda will present the award. NIAF will also present Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. with the NIAF Special Achievement Award for Public Service. Raffaello Follieri, chairman and CEO of Follieri Yucaipa Investments, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award for Humanitarian Service. Tom W. LaSorda, president and CEO of the Chrysler Group, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business. Catherine B. Reynolds, chairman of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Education and Cultural Affairs.

Alan Alda, Yogi Berra, Tommy Lasorda, Neil Sedaka, Jerry Vale, and Jack Valenti will join prominent Italian American leaders in business, sports, and the arts at the gala.

Valli is best known as the lead singer of The Four Seasons, one of the biggest music acts of the 1960s. His string of hits began with the song “Sherry” in 1962 and his best-known solo “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You.” Over the years, he scored more than 25 Top-40 hits with The Four Seasons. Valli began his singing career in 1952. He cut his first single in 1953 as “Frankie Valley,” a name he adopted from Jean Valley, his favorite female singer. Valli remains the lead singer of The Four Seasons and occasionally has released singles under his own name. In 1990, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along with The Four Seasons. Valli recently returned to the spotlight as the inspiration for “Jersey Boys,” Tony Award-winning Broadway musical about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

Dinner tickets begin at $400 per person. Attire: Black tie. Proceeds benefit NIAF educational programs and Gardens of Hope, a NIAF co-sponsored community garden project benefiting the homeless and those in inner-city shelters. For tickets or sponsor information, contact: Carolyn Laurenzano at 202/939-3114 or or register on line at

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. Visit our Web site at

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