Birthday: October 31, 1929
Died At Age: 86
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Also Known As: Carlo Pedersoli
Born in: Naples, Italy
Famous as: Actor
Height: 6'4" (193 cm), 6'4" Males
Spouse/Ex-: Maria Amato
father: Alessandro Pedersoli
mother: Rosa Facchetti
children: Christine Spencer, Diamy Spencer, Giuseppe Pedersoli
Died on: June 27, 2016
place of death: Rome
City: Naples, Italy
Founder/Co-Founder: Mistral Air
education: Sapienza University of Rome
awards: David di Donatello Special Award
Carlo Pedersoli was an Italian actor, screenwriter, singer, professional swimmer, and polo player. He is better known by his professional name, Bud Spencer. Originally from Naples, Pedersoli demonstrated his aptitude for various water sports quite early in his life. As a swimmer, he represented Italy in the Summer Olympic Games in 1952 and 1956. As a polo player, he earned a gold medal at the 1955 Mediterranean Games in Barcelona. He was a law graduate, and in the later years of his life, entered politics. He also obtained multiple patents. In 1950, he made his acting debut in an uncredited role in the comedy fantasy film ‘Quel fantasma di mio marito’. Sometime around 1967, he began using Bud Spencer as his professional name. That year, he formed a film duo with Terence Hill. They were incredibly popular and made appearances in, directed, and produced more than 20 films together. Spencer was involved in a number of children's charities, including the Spencer Scholarship Fund. After his death in 2016, Spencer was posthumously given the America Award in 2018 from the Italy-USA Foundation.
Childhood & Early Life
Born on October 31, 1929, in Santa Lucia, Naples, Italy, Pedersoli was the son of Alessandro Pedersoli and Rosa Facchetti. He grew up alongside renowned Italian writer, filmmaker, and actor Luciano De Crescenzo, who lived in the same building.
Since he was a child, he had been displaying his talent for swimming. In 1940, he relocated to Rome with his family and became part of a swimming club there.
After graduating from high school, he began attending Sapienza University of Rome, pursuing a degree in chemistry. However, he eventually dropped out, and in January 1947, relocated to South America and was employed in the Italian consulate in Recife, Brazil for a while.
In 1948, he came back to Italy to resume his education. This time, he studied law and eventually earned a Juris Doctor degree.
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Career in Sports
After returning to Italy, Pedersoli joined Società Sportiva Lazio Nuoto in Rome as a water polo player. As a swimmer, he had the distinction of being the first Italian to swim the 100 m freestyle in less than one minute.
He participated in his first international competition in 1949 and later garnered a silver medal in the 100 m freestyle event in the 1951 Mediterranean Games in Alexandria, Egypt.
As a swimmer, he represented Italy in two Summer Olympics (1952 and 1956) and made it to the semi-finals both times.
In 1954, representing S.S. Lazio, he won the Italian Water Polo Championship. A year later, he won the gold medal at the Mediterranean Games in Barcelona for Italy. While his swimming career came to an end, he continued to play water polo.
As a member of the national water polo team, he won Olympic Gold Medals in the sport in 1948 and 1960.
Career in the Entertainment Industry
In 1950, Pedersoli began his acting career with the comedy fantasy film ‘Quel fantasma di mio marito’. He subsequently appeared in films like ‘Siluri umani’ (1954), ‘A Hero of Our Times’ (1957), and ‘Hannibal’ (1959). The first time he used the professional name Bud Spencer was for the 1967 spaghetti western ‘God Forgives... I Don't!’.
During the filming of ‘God Forgives... I Don't!’, he became reacquainted with Mario Girotti (Terence Hill). They had previously met on the set of ‘Hannibal’ in 1959. However, it was on the set of ‘God Forgives... I Don't!’, under the supervision of the film’s director Giuseppe Colizzi, that their cinematic partnership began. It was also Colizzi’s suggestion that prompted both actors to change their names.
Spencer and Hill collaborated in more than 20 films, including ‘Ace High’ (1968), ‘Who Finds a Friend Finds a Treasure’ (1981), and ‘Troublemakers’ (1994). In these films, Spencer portrayed the "phlegmatic, grumpy strong-arm man with a blessed, naive child's laughter and a golden heart" opposite Hill’s graceful and vigorous characters.
Spencer developed or contributed to the development of the scripts of several of his films. He also sang in some of them.
His last acting job was in the comedy series ‘Recipe for Crime’ (2010), in which he portrayed the main protagonist, Carlo Benci.
Spencer was an inventor in his free time and obtained 12 or more patents, including for a walking stick with built-in table and chair, an electric toy mouse, and a disposable toothbrush with integrated toothpaste.
A certified commercial airline and helicopter pilot, Spencer launched his own airline, Mistral Air, in 1981.
In 2010, Spencer put out his autobiography, ‘Altrimenti mi arrabbio’. He also briefly sought a career in politics, unsuccessfully running for the position of regional councillor in Lazio for the Forza Italia party.
Family & Personal Life
On February 25, 1960, Bud Spencer exchanged wedding vows with film producer Giuseppe Amato’s daughter, Maria Amato. Their oldest child, a son whom they named Giuseppe, was born on February 11, 1961. He was followed by his sisters, Cristiana (born 1962) and Diamy or Diamante (born 1972).
Spencer passed away on June 27, 2016, in Rome. At the time, he was 86 years old. His son Giuseppe released a statement not long after, in which he revealed that his father “died without pain in presence of his family”.