SOURCE: National Italian American Foundation

May 16, 2011 15:42 ET

National Italian American Foundation Honors Joe Cerrell During 2011 West Coast Gala

LOS ANGELES, CA--(Marketwire - May 16, 2011) - The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) will pay tribute to legendary Los Angeles public affairs and political consultant, Joe Cerrell during its 2011 West Coast Gala, May 19 at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows in Santa Monica, Calif.

Among his many accomplishments, which include leading California's Democratic Party at the age of 24 -- the youngest ever to do so -- Cerrell played key roles in the presidential campaigns of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Hubert H. Humphrey, Lloyd Bentsen, John Glenn and Al Gore. Establishing the Los Angeles-based Cerrell Associates Inc. (, he built a public affairs firm known for not only expert political campaign management, but also for its public relations and public affairs services to corporate, trade association and nonprofit clients. Cerrell died December 3, 2010.

"Joe was a larger-than-life figure in California politics and public affairs for the past half century, beginning as a USC college Democrat and building a career in which he was an advisor to presidents, governors and political figures at all levels," said Cerrell Associates, Inc. Chairman and CEO Hal Dash. "His legacy as a counselor, confidant and close friend to thousands of people in politics, the business community, as well as in the public relations and non-profit arenas, especially the Italian-American community in Los Angeles, will not be forgotten."

During the gala, NIAF will also honor Oscar nominated film producer whose credits include "The Social Network," Dana Brunetti; Grammy nominated songwriter, record executive, music publisher, author and former American Idol judge Kara DioGuardi; actor, screenwriter and director Jon Favreau; California trial lawyer Thomas V. Girardi; Major League Baseball Hall of Famer and Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda; and Emmy and Golden Globe Award winner Gary Sinise.

Other Hollywood notables will include Olympic Gold Medal figure skater and Food Network TV chef Brian Boitano; actor, screenwriter and producer Marco Bonini; actor Robert Davi; TV and film star of "The Incredible Hulk" Lou Ferrigno; actor Francesco Quinn; twelve-time MLB All-Star Mike Piazza; E! News anchor and managing editor and member of the NIAF Board of Directors Giuliana DePandi-Rancic; actor and model Antonio Sabato, Jr.; and TV and film star Brenda Vaccaro.

Actor Joe Mantegna will join the celebrities and honorees as this year's master of ceremonies. The black-tie gala begins at 6:30 p.m. with a cocktail reception under the magnificent Moreton Bay Fig Tree, followed by an awards program and dinner in the Starlight Ballroom of the hotel.

Tickets begin at $250 per person. For sponsorship and ticket information, contact Jerry Jones at 202-939-3102 or Visit

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit