Friday, January 15, 2010

Remembering Italo Zingarelli

Italo Zingarelli was born in the town of Lugo, Italy on January 15, 1930. His mother, Italia Foschi, taught language and literature, whereas his father, Mauro, was a school headmaster, who passed away when Italo was only ten years old. In 1947, having completed high school, Italo enrolled in the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics of the University of Rome. He also started to take an interest in boxing, training at several gyms in Rome and eventually reaching the finals of the Italian Junior Middleweight/Heavyweight Championships.

He initiated his career in films in 1949, appearing as an extra in "Quo Vadis?" and being given a number of roles as a stuntman. The following year he became a production assistant and was involved in the making of a multitude of short films, but it would be another four years before he was to become fully involved in movie production. From 1954 onwards he worked as a production director on a great number of films, including ‘Slaves of Carthage’ (‘Le Schiave di Cartagine’). That same year he married Maria Laura Spano, who was to remain his friend, companion and trusted advisor for the rest of his life. Maria gave birth to three children: Fabio, born in 1956, Sandra following in 1957 and Sergio in 1958.

By 1958, Italo had clocked up sufficient experience to move into production, and in collaboration with his partners, he made his first feature film, ‘Rebellion of the Gladiators’ (‘La rivolta dei gladiatori’). In 1964, he founded his own production company, which has made over fifty features. 1966 saw the inception of Italo Zingarelli’s DELTA film distribution company, which introduced a state-of-the-art system for copying reels of celluloid, a system that allows for the so-called ‘carpet bombing’ of movie theaters.

It was around 1969 that Italo launched his partnership with Terence Hill and Bud Spencer (pseudonyms of Italian actors Mario Girotti and Carlo Pedersoli) in comedy Westerns such as ‘They Call Me ‘Trinity’’ (‘Lo chiamavano Trinità), ‘They Still Call Me ‘Trinity’’ (‘Continuavano a chiamarlo Trinità’) and ‘Go For It, Boys’ (‘Più forte ragazzi’).

In 1973, he purchased a 14th-Century village called ‘Macìe’, and the nearby Saint Alphonso’s Farm and winery, in the area of Castellina in Chianti. Italo Zingarelli passed away on April 29, 2000 in Rome, Italy. Today we celebrate what would have been his 80th birthday.

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