Her call, two words, turned Mary Fiumara into an icon of the North End.
“Anthony! Anthony!” she shouted from a window on Powers Court in a classic 1969 TV ad spot, prompting the youth to race home for a hearty dinner of Prince Pasta.
Mrs. Fiumara, who had lived in that Italian enclave for three-quarters of a century, died Tuesday. She was 88.
Anthony Martignetti, who at the age of 12 was the youth in the “Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti day” commercial, recalled Mrs. Fiumara as “a legend” of the neighborhood, even before she captured the hearts of TV viewers.
“She was like my second mother. She was always looking out for me, and anytime I saw her on the streets she said, ‘Hi, Anthony, how are you doing?,’” he said.
The ad captured a slice of a sepia-tinged era for the North End, which, like many Boston neighborhoods, has attracted many single, young residents in the last decade.
“The ’60s and ’70s were the last gasp of the North End families,” Anthony V. Riccio, the author of “Recollections of the North End,” told The Boston Globe in 2009, on the 40th anniversary of the advertisement. “There was some truth to that commercial at that time; it was the typical Italian family situation. But things change. Now that commercial has gone from being a stereotype to something that’s quaint, something that you can look back on that no longer exists.”
Mrs. Fiumara said she was cast “because they were looking for a woman with dark hair.”
“I used to do the same thing with my two boys. I’d hang out the window and call them home for dinner,” she said in 2009. “But you don’t see that anymore.”
Martignetti, who is still welcomed by such calls from others when he walks the streets of the North End, said Mrs. Fiumara was crucial to the success of the commercial.
“Everybody I speak to, they say they remember the lady out the window. There wouldn’t be an Anthony without that voice,” he said.
Mrs. Fiumara leaves two sons, John, of West Roxbury and Richard of Saugus; a brother, Pasquale Fronduto, of Quincy; and three grandchildren.
A funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Saturday at Sacred Heart Church in Boston.
Watch: The Prince pasta ad