Antonio ‘Tonino’ Delli Colli was born on November 20, 1923 in Rome, Lazio, Italy. Tonino is considered one of the best cinematographers of all time, he was only sixteen when he made his feature film debut, starting as an assistant at Cinecittà under Ubaldo Arata and Anchises Brizzi. His first work as a director of photography was in 1943 with “Finalmente sì”, directed by Laszlo Kish. Initially he followed in the footsteps of his cousin Franco Delli Colli [1929-2004], who was also director of photography.
Among Tonino’s most important works: “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966), “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968) and “Once Upon a Time in America” (1984 ) by Sergio Leone, “The Name of the Rose” (1986 ) by Jean-Jacques Annaud, “Bitter Moon” and “La morte e la fanciulla” by Roman Polanski, “Life is beautiful” (1997, his last film) by Roberto Benigni, as many as 8 films by Pier Paolo Pasolini and several films by Dino Risi .
He was one of the makers of the first Italian film in color: “Toto Color Steno” (1952).
He was also active in television for which he has edited among other things, the photography of the 1965 television series ‘Resurrection’.
Tonino Delli Colli won six silver ribbons, obtained in 1985 a British BAFTA Nomination for “Once Upon a Time in America”, and was honored with a special award for Lifetime Achievement in 2005 by American Association of Directors of photography (American Society of Cinematographers, abbreviated (ASC)).
He also won 4 David di Donatello for Best Cinematography in 1982 “Tales of Ordinary Madness”, 1986 “The Name of the Rose”, 1997 “Marianna Ucrias” and 1998 “Life is Beautiful”. He was nominated in 1990 for “The Voice of the Moon”.
Delli Colli died of a heart attack on August 16, 2005 in Rome. He was married to actress Alexandra Delli Colli [1957- ].
Today we remember Tonino Delli Colli on what would have been his 90th birthday.