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Past Newsmakers

Winter 2009 Newsmakers

MARCO AIELLO, a Los Angeles-based actor and musician, is using his talents to warn teens about the danger of drugs. He has a leading role in a new docudrama-style video series from the Foundation for a Drug-Free World. The first-generation Italian American says the films have an edge that gives youth a new perspective. The videos can be seen at

GERALD ARPINO, the talented dancer and choreographer who co-founded Chicagos famed Joffrey Ballet, died of prostate cancer Oct. 29 in the Windy City. He was 85. Born Gennaro Arpino in Staten Island, NY, he was the youngest of nine children of Italian immigrants. After serving in WW II, he met Joffrey through their Italian mothers and together they founded their company in 1956.

HELEN BAROLINI, the noted Italian American author, was awarded the Premio Acerbi prize for narrative literature in recognition of her classic novel, Umbertina, which has been translated into Italian. The award was made Nov. 14 in Castel Goffredo, home of Giuseppe Acerbi, the 18th century explorer and writer for whom the prize is named.

RICHARD BENEDETTO, the noted USA Today White House correspondent (retired) and a founding member of the newspaper in 1982, was honored last Nov. 24 by the Justinian Society of Delaware County, PA. A veteran political reporter for nearly 40 years, today he teaches journalism and politics at universities in the Washington, DC area and continues to write political commentary for various publications. His latest book, Politicians Are People, Too, is a memoir of his long reporting career.