Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Remembering Nello Pazzafini

Giovanni ‘Nello’ Pazzafini was born in Rome, Italy on May 15, 1933. His family’s origins come from Ferrara before they emigrated to the capital, from an early age he was involved in many activities, including soccer. After working as a bodyguard, he soon became a part of the group of Roman character actors of the period. He attended in 1958 the first school of Italian stuntmen held by a master of American weapons and for some years he worked intensively in many mythological films as a stuntman, often uncredited (along with him were many other acrobats such as Franco and Andrea Fantasia and Nazareno Zamperla).
Beginning in 1965 Pazzafini began appearing in more significant roles in many genre films and became an icon thanks to his features, bronze skin color his characteristic hard and evil looking face made him a classic villain against the good looks of the hero such as Giuliano Gemma.
He is remembered by the Italian public for his portrayal of Tango in the film “Non c'è due senza Quattro”, where he is repeatedly mocked by Bud Spencer and Terence Hill who call him ironically Giocondo. Nello appeared in over 190 films and TV appearances among which were over 35 Euro-westerns from “The Magnificent Brutes of the West” (1964) to “A Man Called Blade” (1977).
After his film career he disappeared in the early 1990s and died, in almost total anonymity, at the age 63, in Rome's Ostia suburb on November 27, 1997.
Today we remember one of the great Italian character actors Giovanni ‘Nello’ Pazzafini on what would have been his 80th birthday.


  1. One of the best bad guys from the Golden Age of Italian Cinema ! I am glad that you remembered him !!!:)

    To me, his most memorable role was in Run, Man, Run...

    Best regards,

    Stephan Segantini, from Brazil

  2. I think one of the reasons he was used a lot was because of his size. Most of the American actors were 6'2" - 6'4" so they needed taller Italian and Spanish villains to use in fistfights. Nello as a skilled stuntman filled that bill very well.

  3. His fistfights with Giuliano Gemma in “Adios Gringo” or “Arizona Colt”, for instance, are memorable. One of the best without any doubt.