We liked what actress Carla Gugino had to say at the 34th Annual National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) Gala on Saturday upon receiving NIAF’s Special Achievement Award in Entertainment. Carla recounted that when she was growing up, her Italian-American father liked to say that there were two types of people in the world: “Italians, and those who wanted to be Italian.” Carla then told the story of how when she arrived in Hollywood as a teenager, producers suggested that she change her last name because it sounded too ethnic. Carla says she gave it some thought but then quickly remembered her father’s words and decided against becoming Carla Smith.
Gugino now says her choice to remain true to her Italian-Americas roots, or to the Italian-American “tribe” as she put it, has been an asset to her career. She knew she had made the right decision when she walked on to a movie set one day and saw three chairs awaiting the film’s stars. The chairs were inscribed with the names: Roberto De Niro, Al Pacino, and Carla Gugino. Ciao America!
(Photo Ciao America)