Sunday, September 28, 2014

Remembering Marcello Mastroianni

Marcello Vincenzo Domenico Mastroianni was born on September 28, 1924 in Fontana, Liri, Italy. Mastroianni grew up in Turin and Rome. He was the son of Ida (née Irolle) and Ottone Mastroianni, who ran a carpentry shop, and the nephew of the Italian sculptor Umberto Mastroianni [1910–1998]. During World War II, after the division into Axis and Allied Italy, he was interned in a loosely guarded German prison camp, from which he escaped to hide in Venice.
His brother Ruggero Mastroianni [1929–1996] was a highly regarded film editor who not only edited a number of his brother's films, but appeared alongside Marcello in Scipione detto anche l'Africano, a spoof of the once popular peplum/sword and sandal film genre released in 1971.
Mastroianni made his onscreen debut as an uncredited extra in “Marionette” (1939) when he was fourteen, and his first big role was in “Atto d'accusa” (1951). Within a decade he became a major international celebrity, starring in “Big Deal on Madonna Street” (1958); and in Federico Fellini's “La Dolce Vita” opposite Anita Ekberg in 1960. He followed “La Dolce Vita” with another signature role in Fellini's “8½” (1963).
Other prominent films include “La Notte” (1961), “Divorce, Italian Style” (1961), “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” (1963), “Marriage Italian-Style” (1964), and Robert Altman's “Ready to Wear” (1994); Mario Monicelli's “Casanova 70” (1965); Fellini's “City of Women” (1980) and “Ginger and Fred” (1986); Marco Bellocchio's Henry IV (1984), and Agnès Varda's “One Hundred and One Nights” (1995).
He was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor three times: for “Divorce Italian Style”, “A Special Day” and “Dark Eyes”.
Mastroianni appeared in only one Euro-western as General George Armstrong Custer in 1973’s “Don’t Shoot the White Woman” a modern day farce taking place in downtown Paris with 19th century character such as Buffalo Bill and Sitting Bull.
Marcello died from pancreatic cancer on December 19, 1996 in Paris, France. He was 72.
Today we remember one of the great actors of the Italian cinema Marcello Mastroianni on what would have been his 90th birthday.

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