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Past Newsmakers

Summer 2012 Newsmakers

OLIVIA CULPO, 20, won the 2012 Miss USA crown last June in Las Vegas, beating out 50 other contestants. Fellow Italian American, the 2011 Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella, crowned Culpo, who will compete against winners from over 90 countries in the 61st Miss Universe pageant in December. A Boston University sophomore, she hails from Rhode Island and comes from a big, Italian family.

KATIE ERMILIO, 26, is an up-and-coming fashion designer. In 2008, Ermilio’s sketches won a Washington Post competition to design Michelle Obama’s 2009 inaugural ball gown. Her first collection debuted last fall. Her grandfather, Anthony Ermilio, designed for Grace Kelly, and her father is a tailor.

DARIO FRANCHITTI, 39, won the Indianapolis 500 on May 27, marking his third win (2007, 2010). The Scottish-Italian racecar driver has won two other championship titles. Between his multiple wins and his celebrity wife, actress Ashley Judd, Franchitti has become the face of IndyCar in America.

MARIO FRATTI, acclaimed Italian playwright, presented his newest play, Obama 44, at La MaMa in Manhattan last March. About the murder of a young, beautiful Obama campaign worker, the play ran until April 15. Although he has written many plays, Fratti is best known for his Broadway musical, Nine.

FRANK SAMPSON JANUZZI, 47, heads the Washington office of Amnesty International USA, a nonprofit organization that promotes human rights. Januzzi was exposed to multiculturalism as a young child in India and as a schoolboy in Texas. Januzzi wants to expand Amnesty International’s influence in D.C.

TOM & RAY MAGLIOZZI, 74 and 63 respectively, recently announced that they will retire as hosts of the popular NPR program, “Car Talk” this fall. The program will continue to broadcast using archived shows, taken over the past 25 years, more than 1,200 broadcasts and 12,500 phone calls. The Magliozzi brothers have been on the air for 35 years.

ELYSE MANCUSO, a 16-year old high school junior from Omaha, Nebraska, won “Jeopardy! Teen Tournament” last May. She set a tournament record, outscoring 14 competitors with final winnings of $79,600. She was noted during the tournament for her stolid expression and willingness to risk large sums. Mancuso’s winnings will be added to her college fund.

JOE MANTEGNA, 64, award-winning actor, producer, writer and director is also a staunch supporter of our military. The Army Historical Foundation has named him its national spokesman, responsible for leading the campaign to build a National Museum of the United States Army in Fort Belvoir, VA. Earlier this year he received the Bob Hope Award for Excellence in Entertainment for his positive portrayal of the U.S. military in his films.

DAN TANGHERLINI, has replaced Martha Johnson as chief of the General Services Administration (GSA). He was formerly the Treasury Department’s assistant secretary for management and District administrator, and was acting director of Washington’s subway system, Metro. Johnson resigned in response to a GSA scandal involving lavish spending at a Las Vegas conference in 2010. The GSA is the government agency that manages procurement, real estate, and services for the federal government. It also develops government-wide regulations.

And "Addio" to...

GIORGIO CHINAGLIA, former soccer player for the New York Cosmos, died April 1. He was 65. The Italian-born athlete died of complications resulting from a heart attack. He played in the North American Soccer League from 1976 to 1983 as a striker. He held multiple records, including most goals scored in a game, and the most scored in a regular season, and in a career. Known for his famous right foot, Chinaglia is said to have had a 70 mph kick.

TONINO GUERRO, renowned Italian screenwriter, died March 21 at age 92. Guerro collaborated with such famous directors as Federico Fellini and Michelangelo Antonioni. Among the many films he wrote and co-wrote are Antonioni’s “L’avventura” and Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Nostalghia.” An early fan of language, he taught his illiterate mother to read and orally produced poems while in German concentration camps. Guerro began his screenwriting career with the 1956 film, Men and Wolves.

MARK LENZI, competitive diver and 1992 Olympic gold medalist, died at age 43 April 9. He was hospitalized for fainting spells caused by a heart condition. In 1991, Lenzi became the first diver to score 100 points for a single dive. He won more than 188 international springboard championships. In 1996, Lenzi came out of retirement to compete at the Olympics in Atlanta. He earned a bronze medal.