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Daily Record: Production Company In Boonton Shoots Infomercials Around Globe

DOSSIER: Collette Liantonio, President, Concepts TV Productions, Boonton

On the tube: Unless you haven't watched TV in 20 years, chances are you've seen an info­mercial produced by Mountain Lakes resident Collette Lianto­nio, president of Concepts TV Productions.

The company: Founded in 1983 by Liantonio, the Boonton based company has been honored with more than 200 awards for its work in direct-response televi­sion, featuring such celebrities as Joe Namath, George Foreman and Arnold Palmer selling every­thing from cookware to hair care. Some of Liantonio's hits include the Pasta Pot, Topsy Tail and Jack Lalanne Stepper.

What is direct-response television? Any commercial that can get immediate action whether ordering via telephone or the Internet — all those 800-number commercials.

How did you get started in this field? "I was doing this type of work for other people and asked my employer if he would hire me. He was my first cus­tomer. I'm primarily a script writer."

Family business: "My daugh­ter Eve Fusco is chief financial officer, and my son, John Calder­aro, manages the Los Angeles office."

"My other daughter, Collette DeBenedetto, is a junior at the University of Pennsylvania. "I also have a a 4 month old grandson, Cosmo."

"My business is run like a fam­ily. I like that idea. I have only 10 employees. and we're a very close-knit group."

"My Parents live in a down­stairs apartment at my house, and growing up, I lived in an apartment above the family business."

Born: July 12, 1949, in Brook­lyn and grew up there.

Education: After graduating high school at 16, went to Fordham University to New York on a scholarship majoring in English. Also has master's degree from New York University in theater education with a concentration in directing.

Jersey girl: Moved to New Jersey when she married at age 22, settling first in Clifton. Taught English and Spanish at Rutherford High School for sever­al years.

Also lived in Wayne and Montville. "I kept moving west."

Is there any other profes­sion you would have liked to try? "Acting, but I'm too insecure for all the rejection. You have to have a thick skin."

How long have you lived In Mountain Lakes? "I've lived in Mountain Lakes for 11 years with my husband. Jon DeBenedetto."

Favorite restaurants: South City Grill in Mountain Lakes and Attila's Kitchen in Denville."

What Is you love to do? "To go. I'm a globe-trotter. I go to Hawaii every couple of years, and in two weeks, I'm going to Spain. I like the whole Spanish culture."

"I've also shot commercials in Africa, Korea, England and Scot­land and was in Serbia when war broke out. I would like to go to Bali and Egypt."

Did you have any female role models? "There weren't a lot of women coming up through the ranks then, mostly men."

Pet peeve: "I dislike it when someone in business acts unethi­cal or immoral, then says, 'It's business.'"

Do you think women have come a long way? "I was in the second class of women to gradu­ate from Fordham, which was all male until 1965. There were 10 men to every woman."

"It's hard for women to com­bine business and a career unless you want your kids raised by a nanny."

"I don't think things have changed except that there are greater expectations going from a career to motherhood."

"I feel badly that we don't do a good job with child care in this country."

"If I were going to make political statement, child care would be the issue."

Dossier was reported by Sally Silverman, a freelance writer.