Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Remembering Tiberio Murgia

Tiberio Murgia was born on February 5, 1929 in Oristano, Sardinia, Italy. Born into a poor family, he started working as a laborer at a young age. For twenty years he was a peddler of Unity, the newspaper of the Italian Communist Party. The leaders of the local branch of the party noticed his political skills and sent him to the School of Frattocchie. On his return, six months later, became secretary of the Young Communist League.
After a scandal within the party he was expelled from the Communist Party. Murgia then emigrated to Marcinelle, Belgium, the was employing thousands of Italian workers. There he established a relationship with the wife of a fellow Belgian and narrowly escaped death that fateful night of the disaster Marcinelle, in which a gas explosion killed all the miners of his shift , including the woman's husband. Murgia returned to his hometown but was forced to emigrate to Rome to escape the wrath of the family of another young woman whom he had wooed despite being already married. In the capital city he started working as a dishwasher in a restaurant in the center (Il re degli amici) until he was noticed by assistant director Mario Monicelli, who invited him into the studio for an audition. The Tuscan director entrusted him with the role of Ferribotte in the film “Monte dei Pegni” (1958). This role led to a 40 year career in films where the general public remembered him for his facial expressions, his eyes narrowed and often perpetually arched, thick eyebrows, his head slightly turned backwards in the satirical portrayal of a mistrustful and obstinate Sicilian.
The 1960s saw him participate in many supporting actor roles in productions where he would parody characters in light comedies typical of Italian cinema of that period. Directed by Sergio Corbucci he appeared with Toto in “The Shortest Day” (1962) while in 1961 he starred alongside Franco Franchi and Ciccio Ingrassia in the film “L'onorata società”. In 1966, directed by Vittorio De Sica he played the role of a detective in “Caccia alla volpe”. In the early seventies he appeared in several productions such as “Decamerotico”, under the direction of Mariano Laurent. His career continued through the 1980s and ‘90s. In 2001, he appeared with Nino Manfredi, playing a minor role in the film by Diego Febbraro “Una milanese a Roma”, and also took part in the comedy by Vincenzo Terracciano “Ribelli per caso”, along with Antonio Catania. In 2008, he plays a small part in the film “Chi nasce tondo” starring Valerio Mastandrea .
Tiberio appeared in three Euro-westerns: The Terror of Oklahoma (1959) as a cowboy, “Rick & John Conqueror the West” (1967) as Vincenzo and “Judge Roy Bean” (1971) as Post Mortem.
Ill for some time with Alzheimer’s Murgia died on August 20, 2010 in Tolfa, Rome, Italy. He was 81.
Today we remember Tiberio Murgia on what would have been his 85th birthda

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