Alan Alda, Yogi Berra, Mel Brooks, Neil Sedaka Headline Awards Gala in Nation’s Capital *National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Hosts 31st Anniversary Gala*


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

(WASHINGTON, D.C. – October 4, 2006) Actor Alan Alda, baseball greats Yogi Berra and Tommy Lasorda, director Mel Brooks, and singers Neil Sedaka and Jerry Vale are among the notables attending the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 31st Anniversary Awards Gala. More than 3,000 Italians and Italian Americans are expected to attend the event, which will be held Saturday, October 21 at the Hilton Washington & Towers with a reception at 6 p.m. followed by a 7 p.m. dinner.

Alan Alda, who was recently inducted into NIAF’s Italian American Hall of Fame by Jack Valenti during the Foundation’s East Coast Gala, will posthumously induct actress Anne Bancroft into the NIAF Italian American Hall of Fame. Her husband, Mel Brooks, will accept the award on her behalf. Sedaka and Vale will honor legendary singer Frankie Valli, who will receive the NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award in Entertainment. Joseph Grano, producer of “Jersey Boys,” the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, will present the award to him. Traveling from the “Windy City,” Mayor Richard M. Daley will present to Catherine B. Reynolds, chairman of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation, the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Education and Cultural Affairs.

Also during the gala, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will present the Foundation’s Special Achievement Award for Public Service to his colleague, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. Lasorda will present the CEO and President of Chrysler Group DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Tom W. LaSorda, with NIAF’s Special Achievement Award in Business. Raffaello Follieri, chairman and CEO of Follieri Yucaipa Investments, will receive the Foundation’s Achievement Award for Humanitarian Service that evening.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit