Businessman makes his move with a star-studded proposal

THIS JUST IN ...

November 23, 1998|By DAN RODRICKS

EIGHT YEARS they've been an item. Eight years Melissa Marcozzi and Melissa Marcozzi's family have been waiting for Dominic Cannella to take a break from all his hard work at the Italian deli and ask Melissa Marcozzi to marry him. What could it take? Five minutes - tops!

Finally, Dominic made the move, and in a big way. Last week, he popped the question - on the set of "The Runaway Bride," and with the assistance of an Emmy-winning actor.

Do I have your attention, people?

Cannella is 27 years old. He runs a delicatessen on Harford Road. It's called Cannella's. Marcozzi is a hairstylist. She works at a place in Timonium called Hair By Elite.

As you know, Julia Roberts and Richard Gere are the leads in a film being made at various locations in and around Baltimore. The movie is called "The Runaway Bride," a Lakeshore/Paramount production directed by Garry Marshall, who directed Roberts and Gere in the last film they made together, "Pretty Woman." Also appearing in "The Runaway Bride" is Hector Elizondo, best known for his role as Dr. Phillip Watters in "Chicago Hope" on CBS. Elizondo won an Emmy for his work on the television drama last year.

So Dominic Cannella is in the deli on Harford Road and one day he gets to know a couple of people working on "Bride." They like Italian food; they came in looking for prosciutto. One of them, Maryellen Aviano, is the casting coordinator. She and Cannella get to talking. Cannella has an idea - proposing to his Marcozzi, his girlfriend of eight years, on the set of the movie.

A guy can dream, can't he?

Cannella also knows Rob DeFord, the cappo di tutti di vino at Boordy Vineyards, up the road in Glen Arm, also a location of scenes for "Bride." Cannella tells DeFord he'd like to propose to Marcozzi on the set. DeFord says this to Marshall, who seems receptive to the idea. Aviano cues Cannella to action. (In Hollywood, this is called networking!)

Cannella told his girlfriend they had been granted the privilege of a private tour of the set, at Waugh United Methodist Church on Long Green Road. Marcozzi thought it was kind of cool. On Nov. 16, she and Cannella were checking out the lights and cameras when from the darkness stepped the suave Elizondo. He greeted Marcozzi, handed her a Federal Express package and said, "I have a special delivery for you." In the package was an illustration of an engagement ring and a note that said, "To my Italian princess." Cannella dropped to his knee and took out a real ring. Marcozzi's little brother David stepped into the church with an accordion and started playing the theme from "The Godfather."

(I am not making this up!)

Marcozzi got so excited she couldn't answer the question at first; Cannella had to pop it three times. (First she said, "Can I give you an answer in eight years?" Then she said yes.)

The couple stepped outside the church and most of Marcozzi's immediate family was there, along with Garry Marshall. It was a big day, a beautiful thing.

"The Runaway Bride" is about a woman (Roberts) who keeps leaving men at the altar. Here's hoping life doesn't imitate art.

Savoring the Susquehanna

Our pal Joey Amalfitano has been all over the map - culturally and geographically - lately. He and girlfriend Maxine took a trip up to Susquehanna State Park recently. "Lovely," Joey reports. "We strolled along the river and sat for a while. The only sounds were the huge poplar leaves kissing the ground and a fisherman's whispering cast. That evening, we drove down to Baltimore and stopped in Victor's Cafe. The timing is important here. I suggest getting a harborside table by the window about 5:30, savoring a glass of wine while watching the neon blink hello from Domino Sugar. Next day, Maxine and I hopped up to Stewartstown, Pa., and took a one-hour train ride through the countryside. It was a World War II-vintage troop car and I wonder what the ghosts of '41-'45 might have shared, clickety-clacking along toward someplace in Europe, or maybe coming home, staring out the huge glass windows, wondering."

The dog days return

Pardon my mushy heart ... We heard 10 sad stories and 10 happy endings at the 53-year-old Catonsville Kennel Club's big show at Howard County Fairgrounds. This year, for the first time, the club sponsored a "Parade of Rescued Dogs," recognizing men, women and children who had adopted abandoned or mistreated canines and restored them to good health.

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