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Legendary Actress Gina Lollobrigida To be Honored at Largest Italian-American Gala in Nation’s Capital


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


(WASHINGTON, D.C.—September 30, 2008) Film icon Gina Lollobrigida will be honored at the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 33rd Anniversary Awards Gala in Washington, D.C. Lollobrigida will receive a NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award in Entertainment on October 18, 2008 at the Hilton Washington & Towers. The black-tie event begins with a 6 p.m. reception followed by dinner and an awards ceremony.

The NIAF gala is one of the premier annual events in the nation’s capital, attracting more than 3,000 guests from the United States and Italy. As with most election years, the Foundation anticipates the attendance of the 2008 presidential candidates.

Gina Lollobrigida, legendary actress

Honorees joining Lollobrigida include Mark T. Bertolini, president of Aetna, Joseph DePinto, president and CEO of 7-Eleven, Inc., Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States and Gianmario Tondato da Ruos, CEO of Autogrill, S.p.A.

Comedian Tom Dreesen will serve as the evening’s master of ceremonies. NIAF guests will be joined by Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito, Jr., Italy’s Ambassador to the U.S. H.E. Giovanni Castellaneta, U.S. Ambassador to Italy Hon. Ronald P. Spogli, Yankee great Yogi Berra and others.

Born in Subiaco, Italy, Lollobrigida’s began her career in 1946 in the Italian film “Lucia di Lammermoor.” After starring in more than 20 European films, she made her American film debut in “Beat the Devil,” which premiered in 1953. By the end of the decade, the Italian press hailed her as “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.” During the next 20 years, “La Lollo” appeared in more than 40 films, including a Golden Globe-winning performance in “Come September.” Lollobrigida’s film career spanned more than half a century. She appeared in films with icons such as Frank Sinatra, Rock Hudson, Burt Lancaster, and Bob Hope.

While acting, Lollobrigida pursued careers in photojournalism and sculpting. She photographed Paul Newman and Salvador Dali and obtained an exclusive interview with Fidel Castro, which she later made into a documentary. Her photographs of Castro will be on display at an exhibit entitled “Shooting Star” at the Santa Barbara Museum on January 18, 2009. Lollobrigida has also published books on sculpting and photography.

Lollobrigida’s career has brought her numerous awards. She is a four-time recipient of the David di Donatello Award and a three-time Nastro d’Argento honoree. Lollobrigida also received the Légion d’Honneur by François Mitterrand, former president of France.

During NIAF’s convention weekend, the Foundation will host Piazza d’Italia, a two-day exhibition of Italy’s Best and a Celebrity Auction and Luncheon. Friday evening’s “Salute to the Martini” will include first-class entertainment. NIAF will sponsor three conferences: “The Presidential Candidates’ Perspectives on the Future of Healthcare in America,” “Energy: America’s Challenge of the 21st Century,” and “From Dante to Benigni: Italian Language and Culture in American Schools.”

Campania is this year’s sponsoring region from Italy. Dinner tickets begin at $400 per person. Proceeds to 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 online at

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