Nationality: Italian. Born: Fontana Liri, 28 September 1924. Family: Married the actress Flora Carabella, 1950, daughter: Barbara; one daughter by the actress Cathérine Deneuve. Career: Worked in his father's carpentry shop; put to work by the Germans drawing maps during World War II, and imprisoned in a forced-labor camp, 1943–44; 1944—cashier for Eagle Lion Films, Rome; also acted with the University of Rome dramatic group: in the university's production of Angelica, with Giulietta Masina, 1948; 1948—hired by Visconti for his theatrical troupe; also acted in radio plays; 1949—first substantial film role in Una domenica d'agosto; 1966—formed independent film production company, Master Films; 1984—on stage in Tchin Tchin, Paris. Awards: Best Foreign Actor, British Academy, for Divorce, Italian Style, 1963; and for Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, 1964; Best Actor, Cannes Festival, for Drama della gelosia, 1970, and for Oci ciornie, 1986; also Italian Nastro d'argento Awards for Best Actor, 1954–55, 1957, 1960, 1961, 1985–86, and 1987–88; Italian Grolle d'oro Awards for Best Actor, 1954–55, 1975–76, and 1977–78; Lifetime Achievement Award, European Film Awards, 1988. Died: of pancreatic cancer on 19 December, 1996 in Paris, France.
Films as Actor:
La colonna di ferro (Blasetti)
Una storie d'amore (Camerini); I bambini ci guardano (De Sica)
I miserabili (Freda)
A Tale of Five Cities (Marcellini); Una domenica d'agosto (Emmer); Vita da cani (A Dog's Life) (Steno and Monicelli); Cuori sul mare (Bianchi); Contro la legge (Calzavara)
Parigi e sempre Parigi (Emmer); Atto di accusa (Gentilomo)
Sensualità (Barefoot Savage) (Fracassi) (as Carlo); La ragazze di Piazza di Spagna (Three Girls from Rome) (Emmer); Tragico ritorno (Faraldo); Penne nere (Biancoli); Gli eroi della domenica (Camerini); Il viale della sperenza (Risi); Febbre di vivere (Gora)
Non e mai troppe tardi (Ratti); Lulu (Cerchio)
Cronache di poveri amanti (Lizzani); Giorni d'amore (De Santis); Casa Ricordi (House of Ricordi) (Gallone) (as Donizetti); La muta di Portici (Ansoldi); La principessa delle Canarie (Moffa and Serrano de Osma)
Peccato che sia una canaglia (Too Bad She's Bad) (Blasetti) (as Paolo); La belle mugnaia (The Miller's Beautiful Wife) (Camerini) (as Luca); Tam-Tam Mayumbe (Napolitano)
Il bigamo (The Bigamist) (Emmer); La fortuna di essere donna (Lucky to Be a Woman) (Blasetti) (as Corrado)
Pari e figli (A Tailor's Maid) (Monicelli); Il momento più bello (The Most Wonderful Moment) (Emmer); Le notti bianchi (White Nights) (Visconti) (as Mario); La ragazza della Salina (Cap); Il medico e lo stregone (Monicelli)
I soliti ignoti (Big Deal on Madonna Street) (Monicelli) (as Tiberio); Racconti d'estate (Love on the Riviera; Summer Tales) (Francolini) (as police inspector); Un ettaro di cielo (Casadio); Amore e guai (Dorigo)
Il legge (La Loi; Where the Hot Wind Blows) (Dassin) (as engineer); Il nemico di mia moglie (My Wife's Enemy) (Puccini) (as Marco); Tutti innamorati (Orlandini); Ferdinando I, re di Napoli (Franciolini)
La dolce vita (Fellini) (as Marcello Rubino); Il bell'Antonio (Bolognini) (as Antonio Magnano); Adua e la compagne (Love à la Carte) (Pietrangeli) (as Piero)
La notte (The Night) (Antonioni) (as Giovanni Pontano); Fantasmi a Roma (Ghosts of Rome) (Pietrangeli); L'assassino (The Lady Killer of Rome) (Petri) (as Nello Poletti); Divorzio all'italiana (Divorce, Italian Style) (Germi) (as Ferdinando Cefalù)
La Vie privée (A Very Private Affair) (Malle) (as Fabio); Cronaca familiare (Family Diary) (Zurlini) (as Enrico)
Otto e mezzo (8 1/2) (Fellini) (as Guido Anselmi); I compagni (The Organizer) (Monicelli) (as Prof. Sinigaglia); Il giorno più corto (The Shortest Day) (Corbucci) (as himself); Ieri, oggi, domani (Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow) (De Sica) (as Carmine/Renzo/Augusto Rusconi)
Matrimonio all'italiana (Marriage Italian Style) (De Sica) (as Domenico Soriano)
Casanova '70 (Monicelli) (as Maj. Andrea Rossi-Colombetti); La decima vittima (The Tenth Victim) (Petri) (as Marcello Polletti); Oggi, domani, dopodomani (Ferreri, De Filippo, and Salce—eps. released as Kill the Other Sheik and The Man with the Balloons); L'uomo dai cinque palloni (Ferreri—revised version of ep. in previous film)
The Poppy Is Also a Flower (Young) (as Insp. Mosca); Spara forte, piu forte . . . non capisco (Shoot Loud, Louder . . . I Don't Understand) (De Filippo) (as Alberto Saporito); Io, io, io . . . e gli altri (I, I, I . . . and the Others) (Blasetti)
Questi fantasmi (Ghosts—Italian Style) (Castellani); La straniero (The Stranger) (Visconti) (as Arthur Meursault)
Diamonds for Breakfast (Morahan); Gli amanti (A Place for Lovers) (De Sica) (as Valerio)
I girasoli (Sunflower) (De Sica) (as Antonio); Block-Notes di un regista (A Director's Notebook) (Fellini—for TV)
Leo the Last (Boorman) (as Leo); Drama della gelosia (The Pizza Triangle) (Scola) (as Oreste); Giochi particolari (Indovina)
La moglie del prete (The Priest's Wife) (Risi); Permette? Rocco Papaleo (Rocco Papaleo) (Scola); Ca n'arrive qu'aux autres (It Only Happens to Others) (Trintignant); Scipione detto anche l'africano (Magni); Fellini Roma (Fellini)
La cagna (Liza) (Ferreri); Che? (What?; Diary of Forbidden Dreams) (Polanski); Mordi e fuggi (Risi)
Rappresaglia (Massacre in Rome) (Cosmatos); Salut l'artiste (Robert); La Grande Bouffe (Blow-Out) (Ferreri); L'Evènement le plus important que l'homme a marché sur la lune (A Slightly Pregnant Man) (Demy)
Touchez pas le femme blanche (Ferreri); Poopsie (Capitani) (as Charlie the Collar); Allonsanfan (P. and V. Taviani) (as Fulvio Imbriani)
Per le antiche scale (Down the Ancient Stairs) (Bolognini); C'eravamo tanto amati (We All Loved Each Other So Much) (Scola); La pupa del gangster (Capitani)
La donna della domenica (The Sunday Woman) (Comencini); La divina creatura (The Divine Nymph) (Griffi) (as Michele Barra); Todo modo (Petri); Culastrice nobile veneziano (Mogherini); Signore e signori buonanotte (Comencini and others)
Una giornata speciale (A Special Day) (Scola); Mogliamante (Wifemistress) (Vicario) (as Luigi DeAngelis)
Doppio delitto (Steno); Bye Bye Monkey (Ferreri); Cosi come sei (Stay as You Are) (Lattuada) (as Giulio); Ciao maschio (Ferreri); Le mani sporche (Petri—for TV); Fatto di sangue fra due uomini per causa di una vedova (Blood Feud; Revenge) (Wertmüller) (as Lawyer Spallone)
L'ingorgo (Bottleneck; Traffic Jam) (Comencini); La città delle donne (City of Women) (Fellini) (as Snaporaz); Shimmy Lugano e tarantelle e vino (Wertmüller); Giallo napoletano (Corbucci); La terrazza (Scola) (as Luigi)
Fantasma d'amore (Ghost of Love) (Risi) (as Nino); Oopsie Poopsie (Capitani) (as Charlie the Collar)
La pelle (The Skin) (Cavani) (as Curzio Malaparte); La Nuit de Varennes (That Night in Varennes) (Scola) (as Casanova)
Oltre la porta (Beyond the Door) (Cavani); La Storia di Piera (The Story of Piera) (Ferreri) (as Lorenzo, Piera's father); Le Général de l'armée morte (Tovoli)
Gabriela (Barreto) (as Nacib Saad)
Enrico IV (Henry IV) (Bellochio) (title role)
Maccheroni (Macaroni) (Scola) (as Antonio Jasiello); La due vita di Mattia Pascal (The Two Lives of Mattia Pascal) (Monicelli) (as Mattia); I soliti ignoti vent' anni dopo (Big Deal on Madonna Street . . . Twenty Years Later) (Todini) (as Tiberio)
Ginger e Fred (Ginger and Fred) (Fellini) (as Fred); O Melissokomos (The Beekeeper) (Angelopoulos) (as Spyros); Melissokomos Patheni—O Alles Mythos (A Beekeeper Dies—The Other Tale) (Papilou)
Intervista (The Interview) (Fellini) (as himself); Oci ciornie (Dark Eyes) (Mikhalkov) (as Romano); Globalny Pressing (Boronin)
Miss Arizona (Sandor) (as Rozsnyai); Vacanza (Guillot); O Samba (Constantini); Il mitico Gianluca (Lazotti)
Splendor (The Last Movie) (Scola) (as Jordan)
Che ora e? (What Time Is It?) (Scola) (as Father); Stanno tutti bene (Everybody's Fine) (Tornatore) (as Matteo Scuro); Verso sera (Archibugi) (as Prof. Bruschi)
To Meteoro Vima tou Pelargou (Le Pas Suspendu de la Cigogne; Suspended Step of the Stork) (Angelopoulos) (as the vanished politician); La Voleur d'enfants (The Children Thief) (as Bigua/the Colonel)
Used People (Kidron) (as Joe); A Fine Romance (Tchin-Tchin) (Saks) (as Cesareo Gramaldi)
Do Eso No Se Habla (I Don't Want to Talk about It) (Bemberg) (as Ludovico D'Andrea); 1, 2, 3, Soleil (1, 2, 3, Sun) (Blier) (as Constantin); El Ladron de Ninos (De Chalonge)
Ready to Wear (Prêt-a-Porter) (Altman) (as Sergei); La Vera Vita di Antonio H. (The True Life of Antonio H.) (Monteleone) (as himself)
Les Cent et une Nuits (A Hundred and One Nights) (Varda) (as the Italian friend); Par dela les nuages (Aldila della nuvole; Beyond the Clouds) (Antonioni and Wenders) (as Maestro)
Trois Vies et une Seule Mort (Raul Ruiz); Sostiene Pereira (Afirma Pereira; Pereira Declares) (Roberto Faenza)
Viagem ao Princípio do Mundo (Journey to the Beginning of the World) (de Oliveira) (as Manoel); Marcello Mastroianni: mi ricordo, sì, io mi ricordo (Marcello Mastroianni: I Remember, Yes I Remember) (Tatò) (as himself)
Luchino Visconti (Lizzani) (as himself)
By MASTROIANNI: articles—
"Interview: Marcello Mastroianni," in Playboy (Chicago), July 1965.
Interview with A. Lacombe, in Ecran (Paris), July-August 1975.
Interview with M. Chion, in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), February 1986; see also April 1987.
Interview with Gregory Speck, in Interview (New York), Novem-ber 1987.
Interview with Allan Hunter and Alan Stanbrook, in Films and Filming (London), August 1988.
"Marcello? Marcello? Mar-cell-ooo!," interview with Marcelle Cle-ments, in Premiere (New York), June 1991.
"Latin Lessons," interview with Geoff Andrew and J. Hoodless, in Time Out (London), 3 August 1994.
Interview in Filmvilag (Budapest), 37:36, vol. 1, 1994.
On MASTROIANNI: books—
Fava, Claudio, and Matilde Hochkofler, Marcello Mastroianni, Rome, 1980.
Labrid, Herve, Marcello Mastroianni, Paris, 1980.
Hochkofler, Matilde, Marcello Mastroianni: il gioco del cinema, Rome, 1992.
Dewey, Donald, Marcello Mastroianni: An Intimate Biography, Seracuse, New Jersey, 1993.
On MASTROIANNI: articles—
Current Biography 1963, New York, 1963.
Canby, Vincent, "Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni," in The Movie Star, edited by Elisabeth Weis, New York, 1981.
Neubourg, M., and O. Dazat, "Ginger and Fred," in Cinématographe (Paris), January 1986.
Howell, Georgina, "The 35-Second Seduction; Movie Legend Marcello Mastroianni Shows Just How It's Done," M Inc., April 1991.
Bachmann, Gideon, "Marcello Mastroianni and the Game of Truth," Film Quarterly, Winter 1992.
Stars (Mariembourg), Autumn 1993.
Génin, Bernard, "Inquiétant Marcello," in Télérama (Paris), 22 March 1995.
Bojstad, A., "Marcello Mastroianni," in Chaplin (Stockholm), 37:12–15 no. 3 1995.
Natale, R. "Marcello Mastroianni," in Variety, October 21–27, 1996/97.
Stone, Charley, "Addio Marcello!" in Cinéma 72 (Paris), Janu-ary 1997.
Dumas, Danielle, "Marcello," obituary in Avant-Scène Cinéma (Paris), February 1997.
Grob, Norbert, "Mastroianni 28.9.1924–19.12.1996," in EPD Film (Frankfurt/Main), February 1997.
Toubiana, Serge & others,"Mastroianni le magnifique," in Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), February 1997.
Vasileva, Elena, "Marèelo Mastrojani," in Kino (Sophia), vol. 1, 1997.
Obituary in Sight & Sound (London), March 1997.
* * *
Since the 1950s, Marcello Mastroianni has been Italy's favorite leading man, as well as one of his country's finest actors. Until the emergence of Gérard Depardieu on the international film scene, Mastroianni also was the most famous European actor in America. This renown is symbolized by his earning the astonishing total of three Academy Award nominations (for Divorce, Italian Style, A Special Day, and Dark Eyes), quite an accomplishment for an actor working in non-English-language films.
After World War II, Mastroianni joined Luchino Visconti's repertory company, which was bringing to Italy a new kind of theater and novel ideas of staging. The young actor played Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire, Happy in Death of a Salesman, Stanley Kowalski in Visconti's second staging of Streetcar, and roles in Chekhov's Three Sisters and Uncle Vanya. At this time, he also was appearing on-screen, with his roles gradually increasing in importance. Mastroianni permanently sealed his stardom in Italy in 1957, playing a timid clerk whose love is not reciprocated, in Visconti's White Nights. Three years later, he graduated to international superstardom with his role as the jaded, world-weary journalist in Fellini's La dolce vita, a film that changed the look and direction of Italian cinema. Since then, he has remained a major box-office draw around the world.
From the 1960s on, Mastroianni regularly worked with the top Italian and French filmmakers (including Antonioni, Malle, and De Sica, in addition to Fellini and Visconti), in some of the highest profile foreign-language releases (beginning with Il bell'Antonio in 1960 and The Night in 1961). While he was to become known for playing Latin lover roles, his characters often were far more complexly drawn. They were not one-dimensional pretty boys; rather, beneath their handsome exteriors they were lazy, world-weary, and doubt-ridden. But Mastroianni also was adept at spoofing the image of the Casanova, as he did so memorably in Divorce, Italian Style. With waxed moustache and glossy, matted-down hair, he plays a married man who schemes to rid himself of his witless and unattractive wife so that he may marry his sexy young cousin. He further played against his image in A Special Day, cast as a lonely homosexual. Earlier on, he had displayed a light touch for comedy in Big Deal on Madonna Street, playing the exasperated member of an inept group of burglars. His seemingly detached air was perfectly suited to satire as well, as he demonstrated in films as diverse as The Tenth Victim, Allonsanfan, and City of Women. Yet he remained perfectly capable of playing highly dramatic roles, as he did so well in The Organizer, cast as a highborn but now indigent professor who becomes involved in union organizing activities in turn-of-the-twentieth-century Italy.
Mastroianni was the logical choice to star as Fellini's film director/alter-ego in 8½; one cannot imagine any other actor in this role. But he is perhaps best remembered for his pairings with Sophia Loren, with whom he was cast in the deliciously funny three-part sex farce Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow and the equally amusing sex comedy Marriage Italian Style. In both these films, Mastroianni's masculinity blends perfectly with Loren's exuberant earthy personality. After these successes, the two appeared together in the less-successful drama Sunflower, playing a couple separated by war, and A Special Day, in which Mastroianni's homosexual and Loren's oppressed wife come together on the day in 1938 when Hitler was cheered on the streets of Rome during his visit to Mussolini.
In the latter stages of his career, Mastroianni continued to take serious dramatic roles. For instance, in The Suspended Step of the Stork, he is quietly poignant as an obscure man who may have once been an important Greek politician who had disappeared years earlier. The actor was especially effective in roles as aging romantics. In Used People, one of his few English-language films, he plays a man who begins courting the woman he has admired from afar for two decades. Sometimes he is romantically entangled with women young enough to be his daughter (or even granddaughter). In I Don't Want to Talk about It, he is a suave bachelor who becomes involved with two women, a young dwarf and her physically attractive but obnoxiously manipulative mother. In both of these films, Mastroianni is never anything less than charming.
He also played the senior citizen who simply looks back on his past. In Everybody's Fine, he is an elderly man who is absorbed in his memories, and who travels through Italy to call on his five adult children. In Dark Eyes, he gives a tour-de-force performance as a once young and idealistic aspiring architect, who married a banker's daughter, fell into a lifestyle of afternoon snoozes and philandering, and proved incapable of holding onto what was important to him. His on-screen presence has also been directly linked to his earlier screen characterizations. In Ready to Wear, he is reunited with Sophia Loren, and at one point in the scenario, she recreates her famous steamy striptease sequence from Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Loren is as beguiling as she had been 30 years earlier but Mastroianni is no longer the attentive young lover, so Sophia's seductive moves only put him to sleep. Mastroianni's appearance in two of Fellini's final features is especially sentimental. Ginger and Fred is sweetly nostalgic for its union of Mastroianni and Giulietta Masina, two of the maestro's then-aging but still vibrant stars of the past. In Intervista, he appears as himself with Anita Ekberg, with whom he had starred decades before in La dolce vita. Mastroianni's entrance is especially magical; the sequence in which he and Ekberg (who, he remarks, he has not seen since making La dolce vita) observe their younger selves in some famous clips from that film is wonderfully nostalgic.
In his long and prolific career, Mastroianni almost singlehandedly defined the contemporary type of Latin lover, then proceeded to redefine it a dozen times and finally parodied it and played it against type. He remains unsurpassed as one of the most universally popular and beloved of all motion picture personalities.
—Elaine Mancini, updated by Rob Edelman