Birthday: September 28, 1924
Died At Age: 72
Sun Sign: Libra
Also Known As: Marcello Vincenzo Domenico Mastrojanni, Marcello Mastrojanni, Snaporaz, Marcello Vincenzo Domenico Mastroianni
Born in: Fontana Liri, Lazio, Italy
Famous as: Actor
Spouse/Ex-: Anna Maria Tatò, Catherine Deneuve, Faye Dunaway, Flora Carabella
father: Ottone Mastroianni
mother: Ida Irolle
siblings: Ruggero Mastroianni
children: Barbara Mastroianni, Chiara Mastroianni
Died on: December 19, 1996
place of death: Paris
education: Sapienza University of Rome
Marcello Mastroianni was an Italian film icon, who became one of the greatest international screen symbols of his time. This legendary actor made his film debut as an extra and gradually rose to prominence with films directed by imminent masters of modern European cinema and starring opposite noted yesteryear starlets. His breakthrough film was Federico Fellini’s ‘La Dolce Vita’ that came across after two decades of his film debut. He starred in many prominent films such as ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’, ‘A Special Day’ and ‘Marriage Italian-Style’ opposite Italian diva and legendary actress Sophia Loren. His other notable films include ‘Divorce Italian Style’, ‘City of Women’, ‘The 10th Victim’ and ‘8½’. In an impressive long career of over five decades he portrayed varied roles like that of a journalist, a little thief, a novelist, a traitor, an impotent young man and a homosexual among others. He won several awards for his brilliant performances including ‘Golden Globe Awards’, ‘BAFTA Award’ and ‘National Board of Review Award’ among others. He won ‘Best Actor’ award at ‘Cannes Film Festival’ for ‘The Pizza Triangle’ in 1970 and for ‘Dark Eyes’ in 1987, making him the only other actor along with Jack Lemmon and Dean Stockwell to receive such award twice. He was awarded with ‘Knight Grand Cross’ of the Italian Republic in recognition to his meritorious service and achievement.
Childhood & Early Life
He was born on September 28, 1924, in a small village called Fontana Liri situated in the Province of Frosinone in the region of Lazio, Italy, to Ottone Mastroianni and his wife Ida (née Irolle). His father ran a carpentry shop. Sculptor Umberto Mastroianni was his uncle.
He was raised in Turin and Rome. During the ‘Second World War’, Mastroianni was incarcerated in a German prison camp. He fled from the prison camp to hide in Venice.
Post ‘Second World War’, he attended the ‘University of Rome’ and made his acting debut in university aided amateur theatricals.
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He made his film debut at the age of fourteen as an uncredited extra in the 1939 film ‘Marionette’ followed by another ‘The Children Are watching Us’ in 1944.
In 1945, he began to work for ‘Lion Films’ in its Italian department in Rome and also got associated with a drama club.
For the next decade or so he played trivial roles in several films till 1951 when he landed up with his first prominent role in the Giacomo Gentilomo directed Italian drama film, ‘The Accusation’.
In 1958 he starred in the Italian criminal-comedy film, ‘Big Deal on Madonna Street’, directed by Mario Monicelli, which emerged as one of the masterpieces of Italian cinema.
Even after doing several films over two decades, his real breakthrough came in 1960 with the critically acclaimed Italian comedy-drama film, ‘La Dolce Vita’, written and directed by Federico Fellini. The film revolves around his character, Marcello Rubini, a journalist who spends over seven days and nights in exploring the high society of Rome. He received the ‘Nastro d'Argento for Best Actor’ award for his performance.
His characterisation of an impoverished Sicilian nobleman Ferdinando Cefalù in the 1962 Italian comedy film ‘Divorce Italian Style’ directed by Pietro Germi won him the ‘Golden Globe Award’ , the ‘BAFTA Award’ and ‘Nastro d'Argento’ for ‘Best Actor’. He was also nominated for the ‘Academy Award for Best Actor’ for his performance in the film. The other two films for which he received nomination for the ‘Academy Award for Best Actor’ were ‘A Special Day’ (1977), and ‘Dark Eyes’ (1987).
His next signature role was again in a Fellini film, a 1963 comedy-drama, ‘8½’, which earned two ‘Academy Awards’ in the category of ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ and ‘Best Costume Design’. He essayed the role of a famous director, Guido Anselmi, who is in the midst of a disturbed phase due to artistic and conjugal challenges and suffers from ‘director’s block’.
Another spectacular film of Mastroianni in 1963 was the Italian comedy anthology film ‘Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow’, directed by Vittorio de Sica. The film that bagged ‘Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film’ and won him the ‘BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role’. The vivacious and legendary actress Sophia Loren was cast opposite him in the film. The duo sizzled with their on-screen chemistry in many other films like ‘Marriage Italian-Style’ (1964) and ‘A Special Day’ (1977).
Some of his other notable films are ‘The Pizza Triangle’ (1970), ‘The Sunday Woman’ (1975), ‘Henry IV’ (1984), ‘Ginger and Fred’ (1986), ‘What Time Is It?’ (1989), ‘Used People’ (1992) and ‘Prêt-à-Porter’ (1994).
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He and his daughter Chiara Mastroianni performed together in a French film titled ‘Three Lives and Only One Death’, which was directed by Raúl Ruiz and released on October 11, 1996. He received the ‘Silver Wave Award’ at the ‘Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival’ for his performance in the film.
His final film was a Portuguese-French drama, ‘Voyage to the Beginning of the World’ directed by Manoel de Oliveira and released posthumously on May 5, 1997.
Personal Life & Legacy
His brother Ruggero Mastroianni was a well-known Italian film editor who edited several of Mastroianni’s films like ‘White Nights’ (1957), ‘Don't Touch the White Woman!’ (1974) and ‘Ginger and Fred’ (1986). Ruggero also starred along with Marcello in the 1971 Italian comedy film ‘Scipio the African’.
On August 12, 1950 he married Flora Carabella, an Italian film, television and stage actress. Their daughter Barbara was born in 1952. Due to his extramarital affairs, the couple eventually got separated.
Post separation his first serious romantic relation happened to be with American actress Faye Dunaway, with whom he starred in ‘A Place for Lovers’ in 1968. However as Mastroianni, a Catholic, denied to divorce his wife, Dunaway who wanted to marry and have a family with Mastroianni finally left him in 1971 after waiting for three years with the hope that he would change his mind.
On May 28, 1972, his daughter Chiara Mastroianni was born out of his relationship with French actresses Catherine Deneuve that lasted for four years. He did four films with Deneuve during that time namely ‘It Only Happens to Others’ (1971), ‘La cagna’ (1972), ‘A Slightly Pregnant Man’ (1973) and ‘Don't Touch the White Woman!’ (1974). His daughter Chiara is also an actress.
Sometime around 1976 he became romantically involved with Italian director Anna Maria Tatò and remained with her till his death. Her 1997 Italian documentary film about Mastroianni titled ‘Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember’ (Italian – ‘Marcello Mastroianni: mi ricordo, sì, io mi ricordo’) was screened at the 1997 ‘Cannes Film Festival’ in its ‘Un Certain Regard’ section.
On December 19, 1996, he died of pancreatic cancer and was buried in the ‘Cimitero Monumentale del Verano' in Rome, Italy. Rome’s Trevi Fountain was turned off and covered in black as a tribute to Mastroianni.
The ‘Marcello Mastroianni Award’ was established in 1998 in his honour, which is given out at the ‘Venice International Film Festival’ to best debutant actor or actress.