Martin Scorsese will receive the first Jack Valenti Award from the Natonal Italian American Foundation on Saturday, Oct. 13 at D.C.’s Hilton Washington & Towers, where the NIAF will launch the NIAF Institute in Valenti’s memory. Mary Margaret Valenti, Jack’s widow, will make the presentation following a video tribute to the MPAA’s longtime leader. Connie Stevens will also be honored that night. The Brooklyn-born actress’ real name is Concetta Rose Anna Ingolia. She’s being honored for her Humanitarian Service. It was 10 years ago when Valenti introduced Connie’s prize-wining documentary “Healing.” She had entertained troops in Vietnam during the war and returned with 12 women who had served and whose story she filmed. Connie also entertained our troops in Korea and the Persian Gulf and has visited numerous bases and service hospitals. She arrives in D.C. having just completed location principal photography on “A Saving Grace,” a feature she wrote and directed that stars Tatum O’Neal, Piper Laurie, Penelope Ann Miller and Michael Biehn, with a small role for daughter Trisha Leigh Fisher. It’s based on a chapter of Connie’s family life during a 1951 flood in Boonville, Mo. As the director, Stevens flooded streets there to recreate the true story. After D.C., Connie returns to L.A. to resume her duties as Treasurer of the Screen Actors Guild.
A video tribute to Luciano Pavarotti will also be shown at Saturday’s NIAF gala with remarks by Gina Lollobrigida. Vittorio Grigolo, nicknamed “Il Pavarattino,” will perform. Other NIAF award recipients include Ellen Pompeo of “Grey’s Anatomy”; William D. Novelli, CEO of AARP; Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House of Representatives (who will receive her award from Janet Napolitano, Gov. of Arizona) and Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Mayor of NYC. CNBC anchor Maria Bartiromo will emcee the event. On Saturday afternoon, preceding the evening’s gala, a conference will be held on the subject — “Is There An Italian-American Vote?” Stay tuned.