Famous Italian Film & Theater Personalities

Italy has been the mecca of everything glamorous, right from fashion to films. While one wants to swear by the old-school charm of the place and the historically amusing heritage properties and artefacts, you cannot but turn a blind eye to the attraction that the modern-day Italy forwards. Italy has been overflowing with talent in all fields. Talking about film and theatre, the country has been the address of some of the most renowned and talented artists of the world. From critically acclaimed stars to popularly lauded script writers, bird-eye viewed directors to stinking-rich producers, powerful art directors to graceful choreographers, Italian world of cinema and theatre is loaded with a bevy of skilful artists. And it is to these artists that we dedicate this section. The world of cinema today would go a little miser if there were no Italians in it. And if you don’t believe us, check this – Imagine cinema without the great lover of 1920s Rudolph Valentino, the leading man of 1960s Marcello Mastroianni, the sex icon Gina Lollobrigida, the Oscar winner Anna Magnani, the theatre director and father of neorealism Luchino Visconti and the pioneer of cinema Filoteo Alberini. Here’s toasting to the greatest Italian film and theatre personalities! Check out interesting facts about their life and works.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

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 1 Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren
11
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 20, 1934
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Known as the quintessential “femme fatale” of the "Golden Age of Hollywood," Sophia Loren rose from participating in a beauty pageant as a teenager, to being the first actor to win the Academy Award for a foreign-language movie. The Italian bombshell is also known for her affair with Cary Grant.

 2 Cole Sprouse

Cole Sprouse
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 4, 1992
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy

American actor, Cole Sprouse, started acting as a child and a teenager. He is known for television series The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, Riverdale, and Friends. In the early days of his career, he mainly acted alongside his twin brother, Dylan Sprouse, in commercials, television shows and films. He has also acted in the film Five Feet Apart.

 3 Monica Bellucci

Monica Bellucci
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 30, 1964
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Città di Castello, Italy

Monica Bellucci is one of the most popular actresses from Italy. Her popularity in the West helped her become the oldest woman to play a Bond girl in the history of the James Bond film franchise. Known for her hourglass figure, she has been regarded as a sex symbol and has appeared in lists like 100 Hottest Women of All-Time.

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 4 Rose McGowan

Rose McGowan
9
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 5, 1973
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Florence, Tuscany

Rose McGowan is popular for being an actress and activist. She has always been vocal about various issues, especially sexual abuse allegations against Harvey Weinstein. She also supported Tara Reade and criticized celebrities for supporting Joe Biden, who was accused of sexual assault by the former. In 2017, she was voted Time magazine's Person of the Year.

 5 Michele Morrone

Michele Morrone
7
Famous As: Actor, Model
Birthdate: October 3, 1990
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Bitonto, Italy

Rising to international fame following the success of his 2020 erotic romantic drama 365 Days, Italian actor and model, Michele Morrone, is a man who oozes sex appeal and charisma. Also a professional guitarist and singer, he has a channel on YouTube that has accumulated over one million subscribers. He runs a clothing line as well.

 6 Asia Argento

Asia Argento
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 20, 1975
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Asia Argento, daughter of filmmaker Dario Argento, has starred in movies such as XXX, Traveling Companion, and Transylvania. She declared that Harvey Weinstein had sexually assaulted her in the 1990s, while she was herself accused of assaulting Jimmy Bennett. She was dating Anthony Bourdain at the time of his death.
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 7 Isabella Rossellini

Isabella Rossellini
4
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: June 18, 1952
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Italian-American actress Isabella Rossellini has made an important contribution to the American and Italian film industry. She has also appeared on stage, including an Off-Broadway production of The Stendhal Syndrome.  Also known for her involvement in conservation efforts, Rossellini serves as the director and president of the Howard Gilman Foundation, which focuses on the preservation of arts, photography, and wildlife.

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 8 Dylan Sprouse

Dylan Sprouse
6
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: August 4, 1992
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Arezzo, Tuscany, Italy

One half of the popular Sprouse twin, Dylan Sprouse is an actor and entrepreneur. Identifying himself as a Heathen, Dylan Sprouse co-founded All-Wise Meadery, the name of which is an allusion to Heathenry. Also a comic book enthusiast, the first issue of his comic book named Sun Eater would be released by DiGa Studios and Heavy Metal.

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 9 Joel McHale

Joel McHale
8
Famous As: Comedian, Actor
Birthdate: November 20, 1971
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Actor, comedian, and producer Joel McHale is best known for hosting the television series The Soup. He was interested in sports as a young boy but shifted his focus to acting while in college and earned his master's degree in acting. Even though he is more popular as a television actor, he has appeared in many films too.

 10 Raphael

Raphael
4
Famous As: Painter and Architect of the High Renaissance
Birthdate: April 6, 1483
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Urbino, Italy
Died: April 6, 1520

Italian painter and architect Raphael, along with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, formed the great trio who ushered in the High Renaissance. He is mostly known for his frescoes of the Vatican Palace and The School of Athens. He also designed the Chigi Chapel, among other structures in Rome.

 11 Federico Fellini

Federico Fellini
3
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter
Birthdate: January 20, 1920
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rimini, Italy
Died: October 31, 1993

Italian film director and screenwriter, Federico Fellini, is regarded as one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers of all time. He was nominated for the Academy Awards 12 times and won four in the category of Best Foreign Language Film. His distinctive style of film-making has inspired generations of directors in both Italy and Hollywood.

 12 Rocco Siffredi

Rocco Siffredi
4
Famous As: Adult Film Star
Birthdate: May 4, 1964
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Ortona, Italy

Rocco Siffredi is an Italian pornographic filmmaker and pornographic actor. Nicknamed the Italian Stallion, Siffredi has appeared in over 1,300 pornographic films. One of the most decorated pornographic actors of all time, Rocco Siffredi has won 72 awards, including 39 AVN Awards, 13 XRCO Awards, seven XBIZ Awards, and six Ninfa Awards.

 13 Sergio Leone

Sergio Leone
5
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: January 3, 1929
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: April 30, 1989

Best known as a pioneer of the Spaghetti Western genre, Sergio Leone was born to legendary Italian actors Vincenzo Leone and Edvige Valcarenghi. He dropped out of law to focus on films and created masterpieces such as Once upon a Time in America and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

 14 Frank Capra

Frank Capra
4
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: May 18, 1897
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bisacquino, Sicily, Italy
Died: September 3, 1991
Frank Capra was a filmmaker and writer responsible for making several American award-winning films of the 1930s and 1940s. After being born into a poor Italian family, Capra went on to become one of Hollywood's most influential directors of the 1930s; his rags-to-riches story continues to inspire many, with historians labeling him the American Dream personified.

 15 Rudolph Valentino

Rudolph Valentino
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: May 6, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Castellaneta, Italy
Died: August 23, 1926

Rudolph Valentino was an Italian actor who appeared in many silent films, including The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and The Sheik.  He began his career as part of an operetta company and later joined movies. He was known in Hollywood as the Latin Lover and was considered a major male sex symbol in the 1920s. 

 16 Claudia Cardinale

Claudia Cardinale
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 15, 1938
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: La Goulette, Tunisia

Claudia Cardinale is a Tunisian-born Italian actress who played important roles in some of the most popular Italian and French movies of the 1960s and 1970s. After achieving immense popularity as an actress in Italy, Cardinale starred in the 1963 American comedy film The Pink Panther, which increased her popularity. Claudia Cardinale was also renowned for her beauty.

 17 Franco Nero

Franco Nero
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: November 23, 1941
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Parma, Italy

Italian actor Franco Nero became internationally famous with his role in the film Django. He acts in films and TV productions both in Italy and abroad. He has more than 200 leading and supporting roles in movies and TV series to his credit. He is the father of popular screenwriter and director Carlo Gabriel Nero.

 18 Valentina Nappi

Valentina Nappi
27
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: November 6, 1990
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Scafati, Salerno, Campania, Italy

Valentina Nappi is an Italian adult model and pornographic film actress. She is the recipient of prestigious awards like AVN Award and XBIZ Award. Widely recognized as an intellectual pornstar, Nappi contributes as a columnist for MicroMega. She has also been featured in magazines like Playboy and Penthouse. In November 2013, Nappi was named Pet of the Month by Penthouse.

 19 Dino De Laurentiis

Dino De Laurentiis
3
Famous As: Film producer
Birthdate: August 8, 1919
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Torre Annunziata
Died: November 10, 2010

 20 Fabio Lanzoni

Fabio Lanzoni
4
Famous As: actor, model
Birthdate: March 15, 1961
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Milan

Fabio Lanzoni is a fashion model and actor. He began modeling in his early 20s and was featured prominently as a romance novel cover model. Born in Italy, he moved to USA for better career prospects. He found work in TV series and went on to publish a few romance novels. He is a spokesman for the American Cancer Society.  

 21 Burt Young

Burt Young
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 30, 1940
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: New York City, New York, USA

Best known for his rough character roles and his Academy Award-nominated portrayal of Paulie Pennino in the Rocky film franchise, actor Burt Young had been a boxer during his time in the Marine Corps. He has also contributed to book covers as an illustrator and penned screenplays and the novel Endings.

 22 Julia Fox

Julia Fox
0
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: April 30, 1989
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

 23 Beth Chapman

Beth Chapman
3
Famous As: Television Personality
Birthdate: October 29, 1967
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado

Bounty hunter and reality star Beth Chapman soared to fame with the shows Dog the Bounty Hunter, Dog's Most Wanted, and Dog and Beth: On the Hunt, along with her husband, Duane "Dog" Chapman. While filming Dog's Most Wanted, she died of throat cancer, which had spread to her lungs.

 24 Terence Hill

Terence Hill
5
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: March 29, 1939
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Venice, Italy

Terence Hill escaped Allied bombings during World War II and was then discovered at a swimming meet, following which he bagged his first film at 12. A well-known child actor, he grew up to work in a lot of "Spaghetti Westerns" and also became famous for his action-comedy partnership with Bud Spencer.

 25 Gina Lollobrigida

Gina Lollobrigida
6
Famous As: Actor, Photographer, Sculptor, Journalist
Birthdate: July 4, 1927
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Subiaco

Gina Lollobrigida is an Italian actress and photojournalist counted amongst the highest-profile European actresses of the 1950s and 1960s. Considered a  sex symbol in her youth, she had a successful career both in the film and TV industries. She later built a second career as a photojournalist. She is a recipient of the NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award.  

 26 Beppe Grillo

Beppe Grillo
5
Famous As: Comedian
Birthdate: July 21, 1948
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy

Beppe Grillo is an Italian actor, comedian, politician, and blogger. The co-founder of a political party called Five Star Movement, Grillo turned to the internet in the early-2000s to popularize his ideas. After launching a website called beppegrillo.it, which became an influential website, he started writing influential blogs, which made him a leading Italian popularizer of digital utopianism.

 27 Carlo Ponti

Carlo Ponti
3
Famous As: Film producer, Screenwriter
Birthdate: December 11, 1912
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Magenta, Italy
Died: January 10, 2007

 28 Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini
3
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: March 5, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bologna, Kingdom of Italy
Died: November 2, 1975

Noted film director and actor Pier Paolo Pasolini had already gained fame as a poet and author before stepping into the entertainment industry. The openly gay filmmaker was known for his usage of non-professional actors and themes of sexuality. His brutal murder remains to be a controversial topic.

 29 Giuliana Rancic

Giuliana Rancic
4
Famous As: Journalist
Birthdate: August 17, 1974
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Naples, Italy

Giuliana Rancic is an Italian-American television personality and entertainment reporter. Over the years, she has co-hosted several important events like the Academy Awards and Golden Globes. Also known for her good looks, Rancic was named in the 100 Most Beautiful people list by People magazine in 2006. In 2014, she won the Daytime Emmy Award under the Fan Favorite category.

 30 Mike Piazza

Mike Piazza
3
Famous As: Professional Baseball catcher
Birthdate: September 4, 1968
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Norristown, Pennsylvania, USA

Currently the manager of the Italian national baseball team, Mike Pizza played in the Major League Baseball (MLB) for sixteen seasons, winning a total of ten Silver Slugger Awards. Beginning his career with Los Angeles Dodgers, he exploded on the national season in the very next year, eventually joining New York Mets, recording 427 home runs during his spectacular MLB career.

 31 Valeria Golino

Valeria Golino
3
Famous As: actor, model, film director
Birthdate: October 22, 1965
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Naples

Born to an Italian Germanist scholar father and a Greek painter mother, Valeria Golino was destined to be associated with the arts but had initially aspired to be a cardiologist. She later stepped into movies and gained fame for her roles in movies such as Rain Man and the Hot Shots! franchise.

 32 Alessandra Mussolini

Alessandra Mussolini
4
Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: December 30, 1962
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Alessandra Mussolini is an Italian former politician and former actress. The granddaughter of Benito Mussolini, she is a former member of the Chamber of Deputies and the Italian Senate. She was the leader of the national conservative political party Social Action as well. Prior to joining politics, she was a model and actress in the 1970s and 1980s.  

 33 Francesca Gregorini

Francesca Gregorini
5
Famous As: Film Director
Birthdate: August 7, 1968
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Daughter of Bond girl Barbara Bach, Francesca Gregorini is also an Italian countess through her father. She grew up in Italy, England, and the U.S. The talented filmmaker is known for her dark and surreal characters and her critically acclaimed films such as The Truth About Emanuel.

 34 Franco Zeffirelli

Franco Zeffirelli
3
Famous As: Film Director, Producer
Birthdate: February 12, 1923
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Florence, Italy
Died: June 15, 2019

Franco Zeffirelli went from being a budding architect to a director after watching Laurence Olivier’s Henry V. Starting as a costume/set designer, he gradually deviated to making Shakespearean adaptations, earning an Academy Award nomination with Romeo and Juliet. The openly gay filmmaker was later accused of sexual assaulting two actors.

 35 Roberto Benigni

Roberto Benigni
4
Famous As: Actor, Film director, Screenwriter, Comedian, Singer, Street artist, Composer, Songwriter, Film actor
Birthdate: October 27, 1952
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Manciano

Italian actor, comedian, screenwriter and director Roberto Benigni is noted for his comedic-work, which includes writing, directing and starring in the Italian comedy-drama film Life Is Beautiful, which won him an Academy Award for Best International Feature Film and Best Actor, the first for a non-English speaking male performance. Other notable films of Benigni include The Little Devil and Johnny Stecchino.

 36 Simonetta Stefanelli

Simonetta Stefanelli
3
Famous As: Businessperson, Fashion designer
Birthdate: November 30, 1954
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Rome, Italy

Simonetta Stefanelli is an Italian fashion designer, entrepreneur, and former actress. She is best known for her portrayal of Apollonia Vitelli-Corleone in the popular crime film, The Godfather. After retiring from acting in 1992, Simonetta Stefanelli became an entrepreneur. She owns a fashion store called Simo Bloom, where she designs shoes and purses.

 37 Hugh O'Connor

Hugh O'Connor
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: April 7, 1962
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rome, Italy
Died: March 28, 1995

 38 Pier Angeli

Pier Angeli
3
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: June 19, 1932
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cagliari
Died: September 10, 1971

Best known for her title role in the film Teresa, Pier Angeli had stepped into showbiz at the tender age of 16. The Golden Globe-winning actor also appeared in films such as Flame and the Flesh and The Silver Chalice. She died of a barbiturate overdose at 39.

 39 Marcello Mastroianni

Marcello Mastroianni
4
Famous As: Actor
Birthdate: September 28, 1924
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fontana Liri, Italy
Died: December 19, 1996

Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni is regarded as his country's biggest film star of all time. Making his debut as an uncredited extra when he was just 14, he worked hard over the decades to become a major film star in his country. He was a big name in international cinema as well. He was the recipient of numerous prestigious awards.

 40 Matilda De Angelis

Matilda De Angelis
3
Famous As: Actress
Birthdate: September 11, 1995
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy

 41 Tao Ruspoli

Tao Ruspoli
3
Famous As: Filmmaker
Birthdate: November 7, 1975
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Bangkok, Thailand
Italian-American director Prince Tao Ruspoli is the son of Prince Alessandro Ruspoli and actor Debra Berger. Best known for the documentaries Being in the World and Flamenco: A Personal Journey, he has also founded LAFCO and the Bombay Beach Biennale. He is a skilled flamenco guitar player and photographer, too.

 42 Bernardo Bertolucci

Bernardo Bertolucci
3
Famous As: Film director
Birthdate: March 16, 1941
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Parma, Italy
Died: November 26, 2018

Born to a famous Italian poet and writer, Bernardo Bertolucci himself wrote and won many literary prizes in his younger days. He later established himself as one of Italian cinema’s best filmmakers and was the first filmmaker from his country to win an Academy Award, winning it for The Last Emperor.

 43 Olivia Palermo

Olivia Palermo
3
Famous As: Businesswoman
Birthdate: February 28, 1986
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Greenwich, Connecticut, USA

Olivia Palermo is an American fashion influencer, socialite, model, entrepreneur, and television personality. Palermo made headlines in 2007 when she sued socialiterank.com for false news. As a model, Olivia Palermo has appeared on the cover of popular magazines like Cosmopolitan, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, and L'Officiel. Olivia Palermo has also been the face of brands like Banana Republic, Aerin, and Max&Co.

 44 Edoardo Ponti

Edoardo Ponti
4
Famous As: Director
Birthdate: January 6, 1973
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland

Writer-director Edoardo Ponti, best known for his 2020 production, The Life Ahead, debuted on screen as a child actor, appearing with his mother, Sophia Loren, as her on-screen son in the moviie Aurora. Beginning his career as a writer-director much later, he won multiple awards and nominations with his first feature film Between Strangers.

 45 Vittorio De Sica

Vittorio De Sica
3
Famous As: Film director, Screenwriter, Stage actor, Film actor
Birthdate: July 7, 1901
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Sora, Lazio
Died: November 13, 1974

Four-time Academy Award-winning director Vittorio De Sica was a symbol of Italian neorealism. Apart from creating masterpieces such as Bicycle Thieves and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. He had begun his career acting in silent films and had then also participated in musical theater. He was both a Roman Catholic and a communist.

 46 Rosabell Laurenti Sellers

Rosabell Laurenti Sellers
3
Famous As: Stage actor, Film actor, Television actor
Birthdate: March 27, 1996
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Naples

 47 Franco Columbu

Franco Columbu
0
Famous As: Bodybuilder, Powerlifter
Birthdate: August 7, 1941
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Ollolai, Italy
Died: August 30, 2019

 48 Tinto Brass

Tinto Brass
4
Famous As: Italian filmmaker known for his erotic films, including Caligula, Così fan tutte, Paprika, Monella, and Trasgredire
Birthdate: March 26, 1933
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Milan, Italy

Giovanni Brass, also known as Tinto Brass, explored the avant-garde and erotic genres of films. The grandson of famous Italian artist Italico Brass, he created masterpieces such as The Scream, Caligula, and Salon Kitty. He has also bagged the Best Italian Film award at the Venice Film Festival for La Vacanza.

 49 Giada Colagrande

Giada Colagrande
3
Famous As: Director, Actress
Birthdate: October 16, 1975
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Pescara, Italy
Known for projects such as Padre and Pasolini, Italian actor-director Giada Colagrande began her career making art documentaries. Her short films have earned accolades, too. She is now known for her collaborations with her actor husband Willem Dafoe, with whom she has an age gap of almost 2 decades.

 50 Roberto Rossellini

Roberto Rossellini
4
Famous As: Film director, Actor, Film producer, Playwright, Screenwriter, Racecar driver
Birthdate: May 8, 1906
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Rome
Died: June 3, 1977

One of the pioneers of neo-realism, Italian filmmaker Roberto Rossellini was part of the French nouvelle vague movement. Born to the man who had set up Italy’s first cinema, Rossellini later grew up to make films such as Rome, Open City. He was also known for his scandalous affair with Ingrid Bergman.