Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Remembering Anthony Steffen
Born Antonio Luiz de Teffè von Hoonholtz was born in Rome, Italy on July 21, 1930. His father, Manoel de Teffè von Hoonholtz was a Brazilian diplomat and ex-Formula 1 driving champion. Raised by his mother he remained in Rome and fought with the Italian Resistance during World War II. After the war he worked for Victorio de Sica as a messenger and became a camera operator and assistant director before making his first film appearance in 1955's “Gli sbandati” directed by Francesco Maselli. He continued to appear in several films including his role as Strongheart in the German production “The Last Tomahawk” before becoming Anthony Steffen in 25 Spaghetti westerns. Often appearing with him was Spanish actor Eduardo Fajardo. Steffen, often called the Italian Clint Eastwood, was criticized for being wooden and stiff but his films were full of action and the usual severe beating of our hero. Some of his best remembered Euro-westerns were “A Coffin for the Sheriff” (1965), “Blood at Sundown”, “A Few Dollars for Django”, “$7.00 to Kill” all in 1966, “Killer Kid” (1967) “A Train for Durango” (1968), “Garringo” (1969), “Shango” (1970) and “Dallas” (1974). His most memorable appearance was in “Django the Bastard” released in the U.S. as “The Stranger's Gundown” which he co-wrote and was the inspiration for Clint Eastwood's “High Plains Drifter”. After the Spaghetti western genre faded Steffen continued to appear in crime and adventure films until the late 1980s. Steffen retired to Rio de Janeiro where he lived with his wife in relative obscurity until discovered by Daniel Camargo and Fabio Velozo who were able to write his biography and show him he was still remembered fondly and admired by thousands of film fans around the world before his death from cancer on June 4, 2004. Today we celebrate what would have been Anthony Steffen's 80th birthday.
Steffen's autobiography is being translated into English and will hopefully be available at a later date.