Vittorio Gassman

Vittorio Gassman

Infobox Actor
name = Vittorio Gassman

imagesize = 200px
birthdate = birth date|1922|9|1
birthplace = Genoa, Liguria, Italy
deathdate = death date and age|2000|6|29|1922|9|1
deathplace = Rome, Italy
othernames = Il Mattatore
Laurence Olivier of Italy
yearsactive = 1945 - 1999
occupation = actor, director, screenwriter
spouse = Nora Ricci (1944-1952)
Shelley Winters (1952-1954)
Diletta D'Andrea (1972-2000)
awards = Best Actor Award (Cannes Film Festival)
1975 "Profumo di donna"

Vittorio Gassman (September 1, 1922June 29, 2000), popularly known as Il Mattatore, was an Italian theatre and film actor and director.

Gassman is considered one among the best Italian actors and is commonly recalled as an extremely professional, versatile, magnetic interpreter, whose long career includes both important productions as well as dozens of "divertissements" (which gave him a vast popularity).


He was born in Genoa to a father from a wealthy family of German origins and a Pisan mother. While very young he moved to Rome, where he attended the studies at the Accademia Nazionale d'Arte Drammatica where some of the most important figures of Italian theatre and cinema also studied, such as Paolo Stoppa, Rina Morelli, Adolfo Celi, Luigi Squarzina, Elio Pandolfi, Rossella Falk, Lea Padovani and, later, with Paolo Panelli, Nino Manfredi, Tino Buazzelli, Gianrico Tedeschi, Monica Vitti, Luca Ronconi and many others.

His debut was in Milan, in 1942, with Alda Borelli in Niccodemi's "Nemica" (theatre), he then moved to Rome and the "Teatro Eliseo" joining Tino Carraro and Ernesto Calindri in a team that remained famous; with them he acted in a range of plays from bourgeois comedy to the sophisticated intellectual theatre, with no apparent difficulty in the sudden changes.

In 1946 he made his film debut in "Preludio d'amore", the year after he appeared in five films. In 1948 his famous interpretation in "Riso Amaro" displayed his love for cinema and his capability of excelling both in movies and at the theatre.

It was with Luchino Visconti's company that Gassman achieved his mature successes, together with Stoppa, Rina Morelli and Paola Borboni. He played a vigorous Kowalski in Tennessee Williams' "Un tram che si chiama desiderio", then emphatic in Shakespeare's "Rosalinda" or in Vittorio Alfieri's "Oreste". He then joined the "Teatro Nazionale" with Tommaso Salvini, Massimo Girotti, Arnoldo Foà, for a successful "Peer Gynt" (Ibsen).

With Luigi Squarzina in 1952 he co-founded and co-directed the "Teatro d'Arte Italiano", producing the first complete version of "Hamlet" in Italy, then rare works such as Seneca's "Tieste" or Eschilo's "The Persians".

In 1956, a key year in his career, Gassman played a memorable "Othello" with the great actor Salvo Randone, exchanging with him the roles of the Moor and Iago. A little later, in the television series entitled "Il Mattatore" (spotlight chaser) he obtained unexpected success and Il Mattatore soon became the nickname that accompanied him for the rest of his life. That year Gassman also directed and starred in a movie dedicated to theatre: it was a version of Kean.

Gassman's debut in the commedia all'italiana genre was rather accidental, in Mario Monicelli "I soliti ignoti" ("Big Deal on Madonna Street", 1958), and not far from doubts, as he had been so far known as a dramatic actor. His role was however so successful that subsequently Gassman become considered one of the mainstays of the genre, together with Alberto Sordi, Marcello Mastroianni, Nino Manfredi and Ugo Tognazzi. Famous movies featuring Gassman include: "Il sorpasso" (1962), "La Grande Guerra" (1962), "I mostri" (1963), "L'Armata Brancaleone" (1966), "Profumo di donna" (1974) and "C'eravamo tanto amati" (1974).

A true perfectionist, he always hated imperfect diction, or dialectal corruptions (but he was also able to render, perfectly and when needed, most of almost all Italian dialects and inflections). Quite bravely, he accepted the challenge of directing "Adelchi", one of the less known and less "easy" works by Alessandro Manzoni. He toured his production to half a million spectators, crossing Italy with his "Teatro Popolare Itinerante" (a newer edition of the famous "Carro di Tespi").His productions include most of the famous authors of 20th century, with repeated returns to the classics of Shakespeare, Dostoevskij and the Greeks. He also founded a theatre school in Florence, which formed many of the more talented actors of the current generations.

In cinema he worked frequently both in Italy and abroad. With his natural charisma and his fluency in English he scored a number of roles in Hollywood; it was during an early stint there that he met and married Shelley Winters, whom he divorced to return to Italy.

But, despite his success in films, Gassman never left theatre. In the later part of his career, he added poetry to his repertoire, helping to bring to Italy foreign works.

In his late years he was a victim of depression.

He died of a heart attack in his Roman home.

Personal life

Gassman married three actresses: Nora Ricci (with whom he had Paola, an actress and wife of Ugo Pagliai); Shelley Winters (mother of his daughter Vittoria); and Diletta D'Andrea who gave him his younger son Jacopo. In addition, he had an affair with actress Juliette Maynel (who gave him Alessandro, also an actor.)

Gassman was a man of intense emotions and intellectual honesty; his notable sense of humour and self-irony led him in the 1990s to take part in the popular TV show "Tunnel" in which he very formally and "seriously"' recited documents such as utility bills, yellow pages and similar trivial texts, such as washing instructions for a woollen sweater or cookies ingredients. He rendered them with the same professional skill that made him famous while reciting Dante's "Divine Comedy".

Gassman was also discussed as a person on account of his private life - his divorces (a noted scandal in Italy during the 1950s and 1960s) and his initial atheism (later he gained a certain personalistic faith). Also, in his public appearances on the media he often made original or unconventional comments, sometimes with the clear intention of disturbing the moderate cultural positions; he also gained many enemies in the show biz for similarly frank judgments.

Selected filmography


*"La Bomba" (1999)
*"Luchino Visconti" (1999)
*"La cena" (1998)
*"Un homme digne de confiance" (1997)
*"Deserto di fuoco" (1997, TV Series)
*"Sleepers" (1996)
*"Tutti gli anni una volta l'anno" (1994)
*"Abraham" (1994, TV series)
*"Quando eravamo repressi" (1992)
*"Tolgo il disturbo" (1992)
*"El Largo invierno" (1991)
*"Rossini! Rossini!" (1991)
*"I Divertimenti della vita privata" (1990)
*"Les Mille et une nuits" (1990)
*"Dimenticare Palermo" (1990)
*"Mortacci" (1989)
*"Lo Zio indegno" (1989)
*"I Picari" (1988)
*"I Soliti ignoti vent'anni dopo" ("Big Deal After 20 Years", 1987)
*"La Famiglia" ("The Family", 1987)
*"Paradigma" ("Power of Evil", 1985)
*"Benvenuta" (1983)
*" _fr. La Vie est un roman" ("Life Is a Bed of Roses", 1983)
*"Il Conte Tacchia" ("Count Tacchia", 1982)
*"Di padre in figlio" (1982)
*"Tempest" (1982)
*"Il Turno" (1981)
*"Sharky's Machine" (1981)
*"Camera d'albergo" ("Chambre d'hôtel", 1981)
*"Sono fotogenico" (1980)
*"La terrazza" ("The Terrace", 1980)
*"The Nude Bomb" (1980)
*"Quintet" (1979)
*"Caro papà" ("Dear Father", 1979)
*"Due pezzi di pane" ("Happy Hobos", 1978)
*"I nuovi mostri" ("Via l'Italia!", 1978)
*"A Wedding" (1978)
*"Anima persa" ("The Forbidden Room", 1977)
*"Come una rosa al naso" ("Pure as a Lily", 1976)
*"The Desert of the Tartars" ("The Desert of the Tartars", 1976)
*"Signore e signori, buonanotte" (1976)
*"Telefoni bianchi" (1976)
*"A mezzanotte va la ronda del piacere" ("Midnight Pleasures", 1975)
*"C'eravamo tanto amati" ("We All Loved Each Other So Much", 1974)
*"Profumo di donna" ("Scent of a Woman", 1974)
*"Che c'entriamo noi con la rivoluzione?" (1973)
*"La Tosca" (1973)
*"Senza famiglia, nullatenenti cercano affetto" (1972)
*"In nome del popolo italiano" (1971)
*"Scipione detto anche l'africano" ("Scipio the African", 1971)
*"L'Udienza" ("The Audience", 1971)
*"Brancaleone alle Crociate" ("Brancaleone at the Crusades", 1970)
*"Contestazione generale" (1970)
*"Il Divorzio" (1970)
*"L'Alibi" ("Alibi", 1969)
*"L'Arcangelo" (1969)
*"Dove vai tutta nuda? ("Where Are You Going All Naked?", 1969)
*"Una su 13" ("The 13 Chairs", 1969)
*"La Pecora nera" ("The Black Sheep", 1968)
*"Questi fantasmi ("Ghosts - Italian Style", 1968)
*"Il Profeta" (1968)
*"Lo Scatenato" (1967)
*"Il Tigre" (1967)
*"Woman Times Seven" (1967)
*"L'Arcidiavolo" ("Devil in Love", 1966)
*"L'Armata Brancaleone" (1966)
*"Le piacevoli notti" (1966)
*"Slalom" (1965)
*"Una Vergine per il Principe ("Virgin for the Prince", 1965)
*"The Dirty Game" (1965)
*"La Congiuntura" ("Hard Time for Princes", 1964)
*"Il Gaucho" (1964)
*"Se permettete parliamo di donne ("Let's Talk About Women", 1964)
*"Frenesia dell'estate (1963)
*"La Smania addosso" (1963)
*"Il Successo" (1963)
*"I Mostri" (1963)
*"Amore difficile" ("Sex Can Be Difficult", 1962)
*"Il giorno più corto" (1962)
*"March on Rome" ('1962)
*"The Easy Life" (1962)
*"Barabbas" (1961)
*"Anima nera" (1961)
*"I briganti italiani" (1961)
*"Fantasmi a Roma" ("Ghosts of Rome", 1961)
*"A Difficult Life" ( 1961)
*"The Last Judgement" (1961)
*"Crimen" ("Killing in Monte Carlo", 1960)
*"Il Mattatore" (1960)
*"Audace colpo dei soliti ignoti" ("Hold-up à la milanaise", 1959)
*"La cambiale" (1959)
*"The Great War"
*"The Miracle" (1959)
*"Le sorprese dell'amore" (1959)
*"La tempesta" (1958)
*"I soliti ignoti" ("Big Deal on Madonna Street", 1958)
*"La ragazza del palio" (1957)
*"Difendo il mio amore" (1956)
*"Giovanni dalle Bande Nere" (1956)
*"Kean" (1956)
*"War and Peace" (1956)
*"La donna più bella del mondo" (1955)
*"Mambo" (1954)
*"Rhapsody" (1954)
*"Sombrero" (1953)
*"The Glass Wall" (1953)
*"Cry of the Hunted" (1953)
*"Il sogno di Zorro" (1952)
*"Anna" (1951)
*"La corona negra" (1951)
*"Il leone di Amalfi" (1950)
*"I fuorilegge", ("The Outlaws", 1949)
*"Ho sognato il paradiso" ("Streets of Sorrow", 1949)
*"Il lupo della Sila" (1949)
*"Lo sparviero del Nilo" (1949)
*"Il tradimento" (1949)
*"Una voce nel tuo cuore" (1949)
*"Riso amaro" ("Bitter Rice", 1948)
*"Le Avventure di Pinocchio" ("The Adventures of Pinocchio", 1947)
*"Il Cavaliere misterioso" ("The Mysterious Rider", 1947)
*"Daniele Cortis" (1947)
*"L'Ebreo errante" (1947) aka The Wandering Jew, (1947)
*"La Figlia del capitano" ("The Captain's Daughter", 1947)
*"Preludio d'amore" ("Love Prelude", 1946)


*"Di padre in figlio" (1982)
*"Senza famiglia, nullatenenti cercano affetto" (1972)
*"L'Alibi" (1969)
*"Kean" (1956)

External links


NAME= Gassman, Vittorio
SHORT DESCRIPTION= actor, director, screenwriter
DATE OF BIRTH= 1922-9-1
PLACE OF BIRTH= Genoa, Liguria, Italy
DATE OF DEATH= 2000-6-29

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  • Vittorio Gassman — Portrait Données clés Naissance 1er …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Vittorio Gassman — (* 1. September 1922 in Genua; † 29. Juni 2000 in Rom) war einer der bedeutendsten italienischen Schauspieler der Nachkriegszeit. Er arbeitete auch als Regisseur …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Vittorio De Sica — Données clés Naissance 7 juillet 1901 Sora, Latium Italie Nationalité Italien Décès …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gassman — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Alessandro Gassman (* 1965), italienischer Schauspieler, Regisseur und Drehbuchautor Vittorio Gassman (1922–2000), italienischer Schauspieler und Regisseur Siehe auch: Gassmann …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gassman — Gassman, Vittorio …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Gassman, Vittorio — (1922 2000)    Actor. Celebrated as Italy s greatest stage and screen actor of the postwar period, Gassman was born in Genoa but grew up in Rome. As a teenager he showed great promise as a basketball player but eventually the lure of the stage… …   Guide to cinema

  • Gassman, Vittorio — (1922 2000)    Actor. Celebrated as Italy s greatest stage and screen actor of the postwar period, Gassman was born in Genoa but grew up in Rome. As a teenager he showed great promise as a basketball player but eventually the lure of the stage… …   Historical dictionary of Italian cinema

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