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Vittorio De Sica

Vittorio De Sica

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Also Known As: Died: November 13, 1974
Born: July 7, 1902 Cause of Death: Lung cancer
Birth Place: Sora, , IT Profession: actor, director, producer, screenwriter, office clerk

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Italian director Vittorio De Sica was also a notable actor who appeared in over 100 films, to which he brought the same charm and brightness which infused his work behind the camera. By 1918, at the age of 16, De Sica had already begun to dabble in stage work and in 1923 he joined Tatiana Pavlova's theater company. His good looks and breezy manner made him an overnight matinee idol in Italy with the release of his first sound picture, "La Vecchia Signora" (1931). De Sica turned to directing during WWII, with his first efforts typical of the light entertainments of the time. It was with "The Children are Watching Us" (1942) that he began to use non-professional actors and socially conscious subject matter. The film was also his first of many collaborations with scenarist Cesare Zavattini, a combination which shaped the postwar Italian Neorealist movement. With the end of the war, De Sica's films began to express the personal as well as collective struggle to deal with the social problems of post-Mussolini Italy. "Shoeshine" (1946), "The Bicycle Thief" (1948) and "Umberto D" (1952) combined classic neorealist traits--working-class settings, anti-authoritarianism, emotional sincerity--with technical and...

Italian director Vittorio De Sica was also a notable actor who appeared in over 100 films, to which he brought the same charm and brightness which infused his work behind the camera.

By 1918, at the age of 16, De Sica had already begun to dabble in stage work and in 1923 he joined Tatiana Pavlova's theater company. His good looks and breezy manner made him an overnight matinee idol in Italy with the release of his first sound picture, "La Vecchia Signora" (1931). De Sica turned to directing during WWII, with his first efforts typical of the light entertainments of the time. It was with "The Children are Watching Us" (1942) that he began to use non-professional actors and socially conscious subject matter. The film was also his first of many collaborations with scenarist Cesare Zavattini, a combination which shaped the postwar Italian Neorealist movement.

With the end of the war, De Sica's films began to express the personal as well as collective struggle to deal with the social problems of post-Mussolini Italy. "Shoeshine" (1946), "The Bicycle Thief" (1948) and "Umberto D" (1952) combined classic neorealist traits--working-class settings, anti-authoritarianism, emotional sincerity--with technical and compositional sophistication and touches of poignant humor.

De Sica continued his career as an actor with sufficient success to finance some of his directorial projects, playing a host of twinkling-eyed fathers and Chaplinesque figures in films such as "Pane, amore e gelosia" (1954). His later directorial career was highlighted by his work with Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni in "Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow" (1963), which won the Oscar as best foreign film. After a period of decline in which he came to be perceived as a slick, rather tasteless master of burlesque, De Sica resurfaced with "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis" (1971), a baroque political romance which won him another Oscar for best foreign film.

Active to the end, De Sica appeared as himself in Ettore Scola's "We All Loved Each Other So Much" (1975), which was released after his death.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

2.
  Voyage, The (1974) Director
3.
  Una Breve Vacanza (1973) Director
4.
  We'll Call Him Andrea (1972) Director
5.
  Sunflower (1970) Director
6.
  A Place for Lovers (1969) Director
7.
  The Witches (1968) Dir of "A Night Like Any Other"
8.
  The Witches (1967)
9.
  Woman Times Seven (1967) Director
10.
  After the Fox (1966) Director

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Italy After the War (1994) Himself
2.
 Andy Warhol's Dracula (1992) Marquis
3.
4.
 Il Delitto Matteotti (1973) Judge Mauro Del Giudice
5.
 Trastevere (1972)
6.
 Snow Job (1972) Enrico Dolphi
8.
 The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968) Cardinal Rinaldi
9.
 The Biggest Bundle of Them All (1968) Cesare Celli
10.
 My Wife's Enemy (1967)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1918:
Screen acting debut in "The Clemenceau Affair"
1919:
Acted exclusively on the stage
1940:
First film as co-director (with Giuseppe Amato), "Rose Scarlatte"
1941:
Solo directing debut, "Maddalena zero in condotta"
1942:
First collaboration with scenarist Cesare Zavattini, "I bambini ci guardano/The Children Are Watching Us"
1954:
Directed "The Gold of Naples", first of eight films with Sophia Loren
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

"Do you know how was born the neo-realist style? After the war we have no studio, no negative, nothing. And a newspaperman ask me: 'What picture do you want to make?' And I say: 'I don't know. Maybe the boys.' Because I watch the boys on the street, the shoeshine boys. And they steal some money for a horse. And I look in Rome and find someone to give me money to make this picture.

"And I look at a man, a colleague of mine, Roberto Rossellini. And I sit on the steps and I ask Roberto: 'What you do there?' And he says: 'A lady will maybe give me some money to make a picture about a priest in Rome during the liberation. And you, Vittorio?' And I say: 'I don't know, maybe about shoeshine.' He says: 'Ah, good luck.'" --Vittorio De Sica in a 1972 interview with Jerry Tallmer quoted in New York Post. October 3, 1991.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Giuditta Rissone. Actor. Divorced in 1968 by law when De Sica immigrated to France.
wife:
Maria Mercader. Actor. Married in 1968; divorced in 1974.

Family close complete family listing

son:
Manuel De Sica. Composer, director.
son:
Christian De Sica. Actor, singer.

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