Franca Bettoia was born in Rome, Lazio, Italy on May 14, 1936. She made her first film appearance in “Un palco all'opera” (1955), directed by Siro Marcellini. The following year she appeared in “Los amantes del desierto”, a Spanish-Italian desert epic starring Ricardo Montalban, Carmen Sevilla and Gino Cervi. She next appeared opposite Pietro Germi in “L'uomo di paglia” (1958), opposite Macha Méril and Jacques Charrier in the French production “La main chaude” (1960), directed by Gérard Oury. Franca appeared as a nun in “Apocalisse sul Fiume Giallo” (1960), an anti-Communist propaganda film which portrays the victory of Mao Zedong's People's Liberation Army as seen through the eyes of an American journalist (Georges Marchal) reporting from the side of the nationalists. In 1961, she starred opposite Alan Ladd in “Duel of the Champions”, a sword and sandals adventure set in ancient Rome.
In 1964, Bettoia co-starred with Vincent Price in the horror/science fiction film “The Last Man on Earth” (1964), directed by Ubaldo Ragone and Sidney Salkow), the first screen adaptation of Richard Matheson's novel I Am Legend. She then played a princess in the adventure films “Sandokan alla riscossa” (1964) and “Sandokan contro il leopardo di Sarawak” (1964). In 1967 she appeared as Ugo Tognazzi’s lover in the comedy “Il fischio al naso” ( 1967). Bettoia and Tognazzi [1922-1990] married in 1972. They had a daughter, film director Maria Sole Tognazzi.
Bettoia acted in only three more films after “Il fischio al naso”. In the comedy “Riusciranno i nostri eroi a ritrovare l'amico misteriosamente scomparso in Africa?” (1968), directed by Ettore Scola) co-starring alongside Alberto Sordi and Bernard Blier. In her only Euro-western “Don’t Touch the White Woman”, (1974) directed by Marco Ferreri she starred alongside Catherine Deneuve, Marcello Mastroianni and Michel Piccoli. Her last film was “Teste rasate” (1993) a drama about skinheads, in which her son, Gianmarco Tognazzi [1967- ], played the lead role.
BETTOIA, Franca (aka Franca Bettoja) [5/14/1936, Rome, Lazio, Italy - ] - married to actor Ugo Tognazzi [1922-1990] (1972-1990), mother of actor Gianmarco Tognazzi [1967- ], director, assistant director, screenwriter Maria Sole Tognazzi [1971- ], stepmother of director, screenwriter, actor Ricky Tognazzi [1955- ].Don’t Touch the White Woman! - 1974 (Rayon de Lune) [as Franca Bettoja]