Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy 85th Birthday Lina Wertmuller

Lina Wertmuller was born on August 14, 1926 in Rome, Italy to descendants of a wealthy Swiss family. At 17 she enrolled at the Theatre Academy directed by Peter Sharoff. For several years she worked as an animator and director of puppets for Maria Signorelli. She then moved to stage work assisting such directors as Guido Salvini, Giogio De Lullo and Garinei & Giovannini. Lina then began working in television as a writer and director. She was an assistant director on Virna Lisi’s first film "E Napoli canta" (1953). She worked as an assistant director under Federico Fellini on "La dolce vita" (1960) and "8 ½" (1963). Her directing debut took place in 1963 with "I basilischi" which earned a Silver Sail award at the Locarno Film Festival. During the 1970s she collaborated with Giancarlo Giannini on a number of films such as "Mimi metallurgico ferito nell’onore" (1972) to "Pasqualino Settebellezze" (aka "Seven Beauties") (1975) which had great success in the U.S.A. and for which she became the first woman to be nominated and win a Best Director Award. In the 1980s she started directing operas before returning to film direction in the 1990s with "Ferdinando and Carolina" (1999) and "Francesca and Nunziata" (2001) with Sophia Loren. Today Lina continues to direct and write occasionally. Wertmuller under the alias Nathan Witch is the only woman to direct a Spaghetti western, "The Belle Starr Story" starring Elsa Martinelli, Robert Woods and George Eastman which she also wrote using the alias George Brown. Lina is the mother of actress Maria Zulima Job [1991- ] Today we celebrate Lina Wertmuller’s 85th Birthday.

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