Thanks to Matt Blake and his website Wild Eye for allowing me to reprint the English translated interview with Guido Lollobrigida from he found from March 26, 2009.
Here’s the translation of a brief interview Matt found with familiar Italian character actor Guido Lollobrigida – a regular in Spaghetti Westerns, Spy and Crime films – on www.altravocenews.it. It’s mostly about his career as a racing driver (which Matt never knew about), but interesting nonetheless. Lollobrigida acted in the Euro-westerns under the pseudonym Lee Burton and is probably best remembered for his performance as Thomas Caine in “Cemetery Without Crosses” (1968).
Interview with Guido Lollobrigida, actor and racing driver
Thursday, March 26, 2009 14:36
In the eyes of the less attentive he might seem like an ordinary person, but look at him for a moment and you see the light in his eyes, the flame that you see in only those who are thirsty for life and which makes you eager to relive it and get involved with their memories. This is the chameleon like Guido Lollobrigida, whose surname he shares with his cousin Gina, who made pure adrenalin his prime motivation in life. An actor and pilot, he became passionate about driving at an early age: “I was only 11 when my father let me drive around the block. I drove instinctively, without trouble, as if it was the most natural thing in the world.”
Lollobrigida grew up, passionate about machinery and eager to experience the wind blowing on his face at 300 miles an hour. Therefore he became a professional driver, a career that lasted for about 10 years and in which he won many victories both nationally and internationally. In 1955 he realized the dream of a lifetime by participating in the Grand Prix of Venezuela, the world championship, in the presence of the most important teams of the time: Maserati, Ferrari etc. The young and reckless Lollobrigida remembers big names such as Moss and Mussi. And this race would become a metaphor for his life, during which he’d fly around the world both in his career as an actor and a driver.
In 1960, Lollobrigida moved to North America where he took part in international competitions: 12 Hours at Sebring, Daytona, Bahamas, Speed Week. And what is most striking about him is the passion that years later can still be read in his words and expressions: “Racing for me,” he says, “brought an emotion that I don’t think I could explain in words. A struggle between fear, of being aware of the dangers that my colleagues and I were running, and of wanting to win, and not to give up. The nicest thing though was that despite getting so excited before starting, while I was racing it was different, I became one with the car and instinct took precedence of any other feeling. I believe we are born with this passion and with the ability to race, pushing ourselves to the limits of our capacity.”
If you look at the races, you can’t help but notice that the drivers were much less protected than today; the tires were standard and the drivers wore their own clothing, the spent all day without special suits or protection of any kind. Lollobrigida explains: “I think that the racing drivers of that time were real professionals, as well as driving fast you had to have the ability to control the car, change gears etc. I remember the wind on my face, it took possession of me, every part of my body, giving me a feeling that only someone who has done something similar can understand. Racing was my purpose in life and to pursue this passion I made big sacrifices.”
He led a life full of emotions, feelings and experience, countless private weddings, adventures around the world which would require a whole book to do them justice. Today Guido lives in Cerveteri, a quiet destination. When we ask him if with hindsight he’d sacrifice everything he’d personally accomplished in order to achieve his dreams, he doesn’t hesitate. “Of course, nothing could make me feel the same chill down my spine. I wouldn’t hesitate.”
Wild Eye website link: http://www.thewildeye.co.uk/blog/