Actor Alan Alda Heads Celebrity List at Gala in Times Square *Isabella Rossellini to Award a NIAF Scholarship*

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

(WASHINGTON, D.C.— April 12, 2006) Actor Alan Alda will be inducted into the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Hall of Fame by Jack Valenti, former president of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) at the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) annual East Coast Gala on Tuesday, April 18, in New York City. The gala will be held at The New York Marriott Marquis Hotel with a reception and silent auction at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. In 1990, Alda received a NIAF Special Achievement Award in the Performing Arts at the NIAF Gala Awards Dinner in Washington, D.C.

Alda and other prominent Italian Americans will be honored for their outstanding leadership in business, government, sports, and entertainment at the awards dinner. Legendary racer and winemaker Mario Andretti will receive a NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award in Sports. Joseph M. Boitano, senior vice president and general merchandise manager at Saks Fifth Avenue Enterprises, will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business. Rocco B. Commisso, chairman and CEO of Mediacom Communications Corporation, will receive the NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award. LTGRaymond Odierno of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who is best known for commanding the division that captured Saddam Hussein, will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award for Military Service.

Also during the NIAF gala, famed actress and model Isabella Rossellini will present a scholarship to an outstanding Italian American student. Actors Danny Aiello, Dennis Farina, and Tony Lo Bianco, along with sports great Yogi Berra, and Italian couture designer Renato Balestra are among the Italian American celebrities attending the event.

The gala is chaired by Frank Petrilli, president and CEO of Nexxar Group Inc. Italian tenor Vittorio Grigolo will perform selections from his self-titled CD during the event.

The gala will benefit NIAF scholarship and education programs. Attire: Business. For ticket information, contact Bonni Cellini at 202/939-3114 or or visit

NIAF is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. To learn about our programs/events, visit