Lester: After 10-year quest, Onesti lures Sophia Loren to appear
Over the years he tried wooing her with calls, trips to Italy, and becoming close with members of the family. After a decade, he's finally scored a date.
Ron Onesti's quest to bring Academy Award-winning actress Sophia Loren to town isn't a romantic venture, but it's undeniable he -- and just about everyone else -- has a crush on the 81-year-old considered among the world's most beautiful women. Onesti, through both phone calls and trips to Italy, has courted Loren's eldest son Carlo about what a great idea it would be to have mom perform in the Chicago area.
"She's the queen of cinema," Onesti, of Wood Dale, gushes. An Italian-American, Onesti says Loren's "been a hero of ours forever."
Only Midwest stop
Loren will appear at the Copernicus Center in Chicago at 7:30 p.m. March 24 as the film icon's only Midwest appearance in her North American tour.
"It all happened because I was able to get to certain family members of hers, and it resulted in a national tour. An agent friend of mine called and said it's happening, and because I was so involved, we were awarded the exclusive Midwest experience."
Because of a need for more space, Onesti said, the center was chosen instead of the venue he owns, the Arcada Theater in St. Charles.
"An Evening with Sophia Loren," will give fans the chance to ask the questions and hear firsthand accounts of her storied life with Fellini, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck and others. Tickets start at $95. A limited VIP meet and greet is also available. You can find out more at copernicuscenter.org or call (773) 777-8898.
An Archdiocese of Chicago analysis predicts 120 fewer priests will serve Cook and Lake county parishes by 2030. As a result, Archbishop of Chicago Blase Cupich is calling meetings of church leaders this month to talk about restructuring to deal with the coming priest shortage, according to the Rev. Curt Lambert, pastor of St. Alphonsus Liguori Church in Prospect Heights,
To be or not to be
Fellow English majors, take note: The Lake County Discovery Museum in Wauconda is the only Illinois stop for a touring First Folio of Shakespeare's works, estimated to be worth at least $6 million.
There are only 233 known copies of the original collection of the English playwright's plays, and the Discovery Museum beat out hundreds of other applicants in the state to host the traveling exhibit. Want to see it first hand? It'll be on display through Feb. 28 at the museum, 2722 N. Forest Preserve Road. Admission is free. For information, call (847) 968-3400 or see www.lcfpd.org/museum/first-folio.
Pay it forward
I'm just the middleman here, but I wanted to share a sweet story that transpired after a Hoffman Estates woman read about our help linking the heirs of a deceased Schaumburg woman's $160,000 estate to the state treasurer's office holding the money. Linda Dalbec, a reader who describes herself as going through some tough financial times, was for years having trouble claiming money of her late husband's that had wound up in the state's possession. She eventually connected with Dave Clarkin, the treasurer's deputy chief of staff, who appeared at her home the day after she called him to help her fill out the paperwork. Dalbec was told she'll receive the check in a week or two. Nice work, I told Dave, who shrugged off the praise. "She was the same age as when my mom lost my dad," he told me. "Nothing heroic, and it just isn't me; lots of people trying to do the decent thing."
State Sen. Mike Connelly of Wheaton, left, with GOP presidential candidate Marco Rubio and Wisconsin state Sen. Leah Vukmir in Iowa for the caucuses on Monday.