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Past Newsmakers

Winter 2011 Newsmakers

DINO De LAURENTIIS, famed movie producer, died of undisclosed causes Nov. 10, 2010 at his home in Beverly Hills, CA. He was 91 years old. Italian-born De Laurentiis had a range of successes, including Oscar winners, "La Strada" and "Nights of Cabiria". His career spanned seven decades, hundreds of films and collaborations with such industry legends as Federico Fellini, Ingmar Bergman, and John Huston. In 2001, Hollywood honored him with the prestigious Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

CHIARA MONTALTO, writer and actress, performed her one-person play, "Emergency Used Candles", last November in New York City. Her autobiographical play is about an Italian American family in Brooklyn, and the special bond between a grandfather and granddaughter. Montalto wrote the play, which was directed by Victoria Malvagno, and produced by the Barefoot Theatre Company.

GEORGE RANALLI, award-winning architect and dean of the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture at City College, New York, has received the 2010 Sidney L. Strauss Memorial Award from the New York Society of Architects. Since 1950 the award has been given to important figures in architecture and urbanism including Robert Moses (1976), the powerbroker who built modern New York, and Robert A.M. Stern (2004) who was instrumental in making American society aware of our rich architectural history and currently dean of architecture at Yale. Ranalli is best-known for his modernist technique, hand craftsmanship, and impressive use of light.

DERRICK J. ROSSI, a physician/scientist at Children's Hospital of Boston, led a team of researchers at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute that invented an efficient way to produce safe alternatives to human embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos. Scientists hope these stem cells will lead to cures for diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, spinal cord injuries, heart attacks, and many other ailments. The technique converted the cells in about half the time that previous methods had been able to. Rossi believes this new approach could be useful far beyond stem cells by offering a way to treat a myriad of genetic conditions.

ALICE TANGERINI is one of the world's best botanical illustrators, despite being able to see out of only one eye. Her scientific drawings of plants have been published and displayed all over the world. Since 1972, this award-winning botanical artist has been on the staff of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.