Chamber honors Paul Sorvino, Installs Jeff Zarrinnam as Chair of the Board

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April 03, 2017
HOLLYWOOD, CA—Jeff Zarrinnam, the President & CEO of the Hollywood Hotel, has been elected to lead the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. He was installed as Chair of the Board, along with other Chamber officers and directors at the Chamber’s 96th annual Installation & Lifetime Achievement Awards Luncheon at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City on Friday, March 31st. Councilmember Mitch O’ Farrell of CD 13 who was recently re-elected for a second term officiated the installation. Zarrinnam follows Dr. Fariba Kalantari, DDS, who was honored for her service to the Chamber. 

In addition, actor Paul Sorvino was presented with the annual Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hollywood Chamber. Annually the recipient of this award is given a commissioned painting by artist Robert Byrne. Actress Katherine Kelly Lang, star of the CBS series “The Bold and The Beautiful” was also on hand for the event. Sorvino joined a stellar list of past Chamber Lifetime Achievement honorees, which has included: Steve Allen, Ralph Edwards, Art Linkletter, Debbie Reynolds, Rhonda Fleming, Melissa Gilbert, Tab Hunter, Bob Barker, Esther Williams, Cloris Leachman, Tony Curtis, Tippi Hedren, Barbara Eden, Sally Kellerman, Joe Mantegna, June Lockhart, and Marilu Henner.

Hear Paul Sorvino tell a family story as he is honored with 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Brooklyn-born actor Sorvino began his career as a 16-year-old singer at a Catskills resort dreaming of becoming an opera singer. And it was no pipe dream. He had studied singing for years and, to this day, has a beautiful tenor voice.  

His singing hopes somewhat stifled by asthma, he redirected his career into what indicated to be a more promising field—acting. After studying dramatic arts under the tutelage of renowned acting teacher Sanford Meisner at the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, Sorvino made his Broadway debut at 25 acting and singing in the original 1964 production of the musical “Bajour.” Over the next three years, Sorvino worked a variety of jobs as salesman, chauffeur, etc. while gaining prominence as an advertising writer/creative director and pursuing his acting career. He made his film debut in Carl Reiner’s 1970 comedy “Going Ape” and began a career solely dedicated to acting and occasional singing.

At 40, the tenor made his lifelong dream come true with his operatic debut in “Die Fledermaus,” selling out six performances at the Seattle Opera. In opera, he would go on to sing the lead in “The Most Happy Fella” in 2006 at The New York City Opera at Lincoln Center and sold out 15 critically-acclaimed performances.

Sorvino has appeared in more than 180 films, and a variety of television shows. An accomplished stage actor, he won six awards for his performance in the Broadway production of the dark comedy “That Championship Season”—including a Drama Desk Award and the New York Drama Critics Award for Best Actor in 1972, and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1973. He reprised the role in the 1981 movie version, and directed and starred in the Showtime version of “That Championship Season” in 1999. His most recent role in the soon-to-be released film “Once Upon a Time In Queens” won him the Best Actor award at the Florida Film Festival.

On the big screen, Sorvino is best known for his portrayal of tough guys and authority figures, in such standout performances “Goodfellas,” “Cruising,” “Nixon,” and “Romeo + Juliet.”

On television, Sorvino starred as detective Phil Cerreta on “Law & Order” and Al Miller on the sitcom “Still Standing.” Among his other starring roles on TV are Frank DeLucca in “That’s Life” and Detective Ike Porter in “The Oldest Rookie.”

Early on, Sorvino suffered from severe asthma, but as an adult, he created and mastered breathing techniques which helped control his attacks. He wrote the 1985 best-selling book “How to Become a Former Asthmatic” and founded the Sorvino Asthma Foundation to educate the public about asthma and techniques for managing the illness. He has been honored twice by the Pope for his work with asthmatics as well as by the American Medical Association.

Sir Paul Sorvino is a Knight of the Great Cross in the order of The Carinzia, founded by Saint George in the third century for the protection of the Pope (Cavaliere Di Gran Croce); and a Knight of the Italian Republic. His family is noble, its coat of arms dating back to the twelfth century.

An actor, director, best-selling author, screenwriter, professional bronze sculptor, pianist, business man, operatic tenor and passionate cook, Sorvino still returns occasionally to his original dream and headlines his own concerts.

Variety presented the luncheon. Gold Level sponsors included FilmL.A., Inc., Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, and MBS Equipment Company. Silver Level sponsors included AT&T, Belmont Village Hollywood Hills, Famous Hollywood Dental Care, Hollywood Hotel, Hudson Pacific Properties, Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, Liner LLP, Pantages Theatre/Nederlander Concerts, and Southern California Gas Company.

Zarrinnam has a long association with Hollywood and the Chamber of Commerce, since he first purchased a hotel on Vermont Avenue. For many years, he chaired the Chamber’s East Hollywood Committee. He was also the founder of the East Hollywood Business Improvement District. Asked by Councilmember Jackie Goldberg to form the BID to maintain public improvements installed by Metro as part of their subway project, it took six years to make the BID a reality. He is currently leading the charge to create two additional BIDs in the Hollywood-Western area and a “Route 66” BID along Santa Monica Blvd. between Vermont Ave. and Vine Street.

In his address, Jeff Zarrinnam discussed the focus of the Hollywood Chamber for the coming year.

Zarrinnam has been a Chamber Board member since 2012. In addition to chairing the East Hollywood Committee, he has served as Chamber Treasurer and is raising the funds for a state-of-the art board room table.

Joining Zarrinnam as Chamber officers for the 2017 to 2018 year are: Donelle Dadigan of the Hollywood Museum in the Max Factor Building, senior vice chair; Bill Roschen of Roschen Van Cleve Architects, vice chair; Nicole Mihalka of JLL, vice chair; Michelle Sobrino-Stearns of Variety, vice chair; Carole Sarian of The CrisCom Company, secretary; and Dwayne Gathers of Gathers Strategies, treasurer.

Dr. Fariba Kalantari, outgoing chair of the board, presented a special award to the members of the Relocation Committee that oversaw the move of the Chamber to its new space. They included: Donelle Dadigan of the Hollywood Museum, Mark Panatier of the A.F. Gilmore Co., Marty Shelton of NAI Capital, and Jeff Zarrinnam of the Hollywood Hotel. Dr. Kalantari, who owns Famous Hollywood Dental Care, was honored as the outgoing chair of the board.

Special recognition was presented to Dwayne Gathers of Gathers Strategies, and his co-chair Tim Grubbs for their efforts that resulted in the most successful Economic Development Summit in its 22-year history, and also to Beth Marlis of the Musicians Institute for her work in designing a new website for the Chamber Foundation.

In addition, several new board members were sworn in for the first time, including: Andrea Ceragioli of Paramount Pictures, Lupita Sanchez-Cornejo of AT&T, Mark Edwards, a public affairs specialist, Matt Fritch of Andrews International, and Jerry Neuman of Liner LLP.

Three directors who stepped down from the board were honored. They include Michael Gargano of Argent Ventures, Dr. Fariba Kalantari, and Stan Savage of A.F. Gilmore Co.

See Installation & Awards Luncheon photos

For more than 96 years, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has provided leadership, business development resources, networking, and government affairs programs and services to keep the Hollywood business and residential communities safe, relevant and economically vital. Jeff Zarrinnam, is the Chair of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 2017-18, and Leron Gubler is the President/CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. For more information please visit

Hollywood Chamber, (323) 469-8311