Mario Girotti was born on March 29, 1939 in Venice, Veneto, Italy. His mother, Hildegard (Thieme), was German, from Dresden, and his father, Girolamo Girotti, was an Italian chemist.
As a child, he lived in the small town of Lommatzsch, Germany from 1943 to 1945 during World War II, surviving the Dresden Bombing. After being discovered by Italian filmmaker Dino Risi for Vacanze col Gangster “Holiday with the Gangster” (1951) at the early age of 12, he had, after 27 movies in Italy including, a major role in Luchino Visconti's “The Leopard” (1963). In 1964, he returned to Germany and there appeared in a series of, adventure and western films, made from the novels of German author Karl May. In 1967, he returned to Italy to act in “God Forgives... I Don't!” (1968). He changed his name to Terence Hill the same year. The name was made up as a publicity stunt by the film producers; he had to choose from a list of twenty names and picked the one with his mother's initials.
In the following years, he starred in many action and over nineteen Spaghetti Westerns together with his longtime colleague and friend Bud Spencer. The pair were notable for their comedy films, successful not only in Italy, but also internationally. They made a large number of Italian Westerns and other films together. Many of these have alternate titles, depending upon the country and distributor. Their most famous film is the 1971 western “They Call Me Trinity” and the 1972 sequel “Trinity Is STILL My Name!”. Terence has stated in interviews that “My Name Is Nobody” (1973), in which he co-starred with Henry Fonda, is his personal favorite of all his films.
His first American films were “Mr. Billion” and “March or Die” (both 1977), after which he divided his time between Italy and the U.S.
Hill's adopted son Ross was killed in an accident in Stockbridge, Massachusetts in 1990 while the actor was preparing to film “Lucky Luke” on the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe. Hill later went on to a successful television career in Italy.
In 2000, he landed the leading role in the Italian television series ‘Don Matteo’, as a crime fighting parish priest.
Terence and Bud Spencer were awarded the David di Donatello Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2010.
Today we celebrate Terence Hill’s 75th birthday.