Ernani Bernardi was a big-band musician turned politician in Los Angeles, California. He represented District 7 on the Los Angeles City Council from 1961 to 1993, a district that covered the east San Fernando Valley.
Before his position as councilman, he had two other successful careers; as a musician and then as a contractor.
He was born above a grocery store his family owned. Son of a musician, Alfonso Bernardi and mother Nerina, his parents were immigrants that came over by way of Ellis Island, from a small town in the province of Modena in the Emilia Romagna. His mother died in childbirth.
Bernardi grew up on a farm. His father, who played the clarinet, worked as a travelling musician. From a young age his father taught him how to play woodwind instruments. His father eventually remarried and had two more children, Yolanda and Rudy. Bernardi left home at the age of 17, and went on to become a musician, like his father, on the road playing alto sax for several of the classic Big Bands of the era such as Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey and Kay Kaiser.