Thursday, December 9, 2021

What ever happened to the Santaniello Clan - Oskar, Simonetta & Enzo

 Little is known about the elusive Santaniello family. No birth dates. Just a handful of credits.


The head of the family appears to have been Oskar (c. 1925, sometimes spelt Oscar), who worked as a production manager in films since 1963 (starting with Sfida al diavolo).

Years ago, Walter, the son of the family that ran the Paradise Cinema in Toronto, Canada confirmed (c.1998). Oskar indeed had a son named Enzo, but he didn't know much else.

The Paradise bought films from Santaniello for exhibiting in Canada so they would know. The cinema closed in 1986, as the Italian community moved north and out of the city. Walter later went to Ryerson University in Toronto, naturally taking their film course. He used to post regularly on the old Spaghetti Board.

From viewing both Once Upon a Time in the West and Ace High (both 1968), the siblings that appeared briefly in pivotal roles as the family of the crazy Irishman (Frank Wolff), who was tilling soil out in the desert, were played by actors Simonetta (c. 1954) & Enzo Santaniello (c. 1960). The pair would again play Irish children in Paramount's other Spaghetti western Ace High. 


Both were natural redheads and Italian as their last name attest. In the Leone film the pair's older teenage McBain brother was played by an unidentified actor, whom may have been their actual older sib, or a cousin, Angelo(?). The oldest acting Santaniello here, like his younger screen brother worked into the late 70's. To make matters worse Paramount's official pressbook mistook the film's elder costumer and acting extra Marilù Carteny (c.1910) as having played Maureen McBain (Simonetta's part). It took years to sort that out. 


In the later Ace High, the Santaniello children were flanked by two performers who played their screen Irish parents. The father (Oskar, ?) had striking blue eyes, that pointed to possible Northern Italian lineage. The mother looked suitable. Oskar was a long-time production manager on Italian films, who by the early 1970s graduated to producing & directing his own films (The Magnificent Robin Hood, 1970). His only directing credit is for Bounty Killer in Trinity, 1971, which was signed Oskar Faradine, a hybrid name for both Santaniello & the film's DOP Aristide Massaccesi, who may have run roughshod over the inexperienced director. Of the kids only young Enzo Santaniello continued acting past the 1970's. A decade ago, he was appearing in dinner theatre stage productions in Rome. I believe he may have been a professor of Chemistry and Bio-Chemistry at the University of Milan who retired in 2014.  Ms. Simonetta today has her on active page on Pinterest and displays her delicious looking food dishes under the by-line @santaniello0474. Presumably she married and is keeping her family well fed.

As mentioned above, little is known about the elusive Santaniello family. No birth dates. Nothing other than a few sightings.


If this isn’t Mr.and Mrs. Oskar Santaniello it should be.


Michael Ferguson



  1. Oscar was not the Father of Simonetta and Enzo. Enzo and Simonetta are my second cousins, raised in Rome. Their Father was Pio Santaniello who worked in dental appliances.

  2. Thank you. I hope they are still living. That Leone film is one of the greatest movies of all time. I visited the ruins of hanging arch near Monument Valley this past May 2023.