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The product was named after Celeste (née Luise) Lizio (1908-December 16, 1988) who carried the nickname "Mama Celeste". She came to the United States from Italy with her husband, Anthony, in the 1920s. They settled on Chicago's West Side, where they opened their first restaurant in 1932. In 1962, the Lizios closed the restaurant and began selling pizzas to other restaurants. The Quaker Oats Company acquired the product in 1969. Celeste frozen pizza was one of the top selling brands in the 1970s but subsequently experienced declines. The Celeste brand was later acquired by Aurora Foods, and then Pinnacle Foods.
The process by which Celeste pizzas are made has remained largely the same since its introduction, although the size of the original cheese pizza has decreased from 158g to 142g.
As of 2012, Pinnacle Foods marketed only frozen, microwavable "Pizza For One" varieties of Celeste pizzas. Distribution is now restricted to more regional markets .
In an episode of The Golden Girls, Sophia tells a story of having been childhood friends in Italy with the woman who would go on to become Mama Celeste.
In Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead, Sue Ellen uses a Celeste pizza box to decide who gets a job.
In a number of 1980s movies, the pizza brand can be seen in background shots such as Harry and the Hendersons and many others.
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