INSPIRED BY "THE VOICE"
Francesco Stephen Castelluccio was born in 1934 in the heart of the Italian American community in Newark, New Jersey. Son to Anthony, a barber, and Mary Rinaldi, a beer company employee, Francesco is the eldest of three sons. When he decided to become a singer, he paid a tribute to his then favorite artist, “Texas” Jean Valli, and named himself Frankie Valli. Frankie worked hard to achieve his goals, and never took anything for granted: he worked as a barber, like his father, until he could support himself with music.
His stage debut dates back to the early 1950s, with the Variety Trio. Since then he partnered with Tommy De Vito, who has followed Frankie through the years until they founded the Four Seasons along with Bob Gaudio and Rick Massi. Their 1962 “Sherry” was soon a great success that made them internationally famous: the Four Seasons and the Beach Boys were the only two American bands to survive the so called “British invasion”, hitting the major charts despite the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Queens. They entered twice the Hall of Fame (as a rock-and-roll band and as a vocal group) and sold some 100 millions records worldwide.
Frankie, who also appeared on screen (he was Rusty Millio in seasons 5 and 6 of “The Sopranos”, just to name one) is still performing. “Becoming successful is a relentless pursuit. It’s good that it’s that way: when it does come, you learn to know how to appreciate it, and know how lucky you are to be doing something that you love so much”.
What is it like being an Italian American? A stereotype? Or rather a mix of cultures and traditions? Mike Fiorito, a Newyorker from an Italian family, explores the vivacious universe of the Italian Americans in his books, finding out that there’s much more out there than just a bunch of Guidos.
New York City being struck by Corona virus, Governor Andrew Cuomo asked for help, and he was heard. While doctors, nurses and care providers were quickly running out protections to be safe at work, an Italian American guy in love with fashion made his move. Christian Siriano, a young stylist of the NYC scene, answered the call: “If Governor Cuomo says we need masks, my team will help make some. I have a full sewing team still on staff working from home that can help”, he tweeted.
He’s probably one of the most popular persons of this new decade. Doctor Anthony Fauci is not only at the head of the US task force set up to fight COVID-19, he’s one of the top – if not the top – immunologist in the world. So, maybe it’s time to discover a bit more about him.
“Discovering my roots has been essential to understand who I am”. John Turturro was born on Febraury 28th 1957 but this is not the news here. John, son to a man from Puglia and a woman from Sicily, has always been so keen on his Italian heritage that he has let it influence not only his lifestyle but also his work.
Sometimes Hollywood stars shine for real in the sky. Téa Leoni is one of them: a Belgian researcher working at La Silla Observatory Centre in Chile named an asteroid after her.
An authentic Brooklynite, Marisa Tomei started loving acting at a very early age, following her theatre-addicted parents back and forth the Broadway shows. In 1984, at 20, she debuted in “The Flamingo Kid”, a movie in which she had just one line.