Dr. Anthony Fauci’s directives were followed when the National Italian American Foundation honored him with the Leonardo da Vinci Leadership Award for Health and Science at the foundation’s 45th anniversary gala on Oct. 31 — as the event was all-virtual.
Viewers tuned in from around the U.S. as well as from Italy, including U.S. Ambassador Lewis Eisenberg, Andrea Bocelli, Massimo Ferragamo and Isabella Rossellini.
Although Fauci’s Sicilian roots were acknowledged, it was a big night for Brooklyn, New York, too. Not only was the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases director born and raised in the borough, but so was NIAF Chair Patricia de Stacy Harrison and co-host Maria Bartiromo. Joe Piscopo, of nearby Passaic, New Jersey, joined Bartiromo as co-host.
Harrison introduced her friend Tony, who graciously received the honor, live. His fans filled the screen: Leo DiCaprio (“While COVID is keeping most of us at home, people like Dr. Fauci go to work each morning with one goal: to see our nation through the most devastating pandemic in a century”), Al Pacino (“a man of medicine, a man of science, a man of great heart and hope”), Robert De Niro (“thanks for keeping us safe … with dignity, integrity and humanity”) and Neil Sedaka, who reminded everyone that “Love Will Keep Us Together.”
Onscreen tributes also came from Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Michael Douglas, Patti LuPone, Leon Panetta, Bono, Marisa Tomei, Alan Alda, Dionne Warwick, Bob Johnson of BET, Connie Francis, Bret Baier, Angelica Huston, Joe Mantegna and Italian Ambassador to the U.S. Armando Varricchio.