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Cesare Danova; Performed in 300 Movies

March 21, 1992

Cesare Danova, who acted in more than 300 films, including "Viva Las Vegas" and "National Lampoon's Animal House," has died. He was 66.

Danova died Thursday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a heart attack, his family said Friday.

Born in Rome, Danova began his career as a leading man in European films, including the Italian "La Figlia del Capitano" ("The Captain's Daughter") in 1947, and the title role in the Austrian film "Don Juan" in 1955.

After moving to Hollywood in the late 1950s, Danova slipped into second lead and character roles, performing in such films as: "The Man Who Understood Women" in 1959, "Tender Is the Night" in 1962, and "Cleopatra" and "Gidget Goes to Rome" in 1963.

After appearing as a romantic rival to Elvis Presley in "Viva Las Vegas" in 1964, Danova went on to "Boy Did I Get a Wrong Number" and "Chamber of Horrors" in 1966.

He had key roles in "Che!" in 1969, "Mean Streets" in 1973, and "Animal House" in 1978.

"Playing the lover," he once told Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper, "is far more difficult than playing an adventurer. It's harder to kiss naturally than to punch someone in the jaw." Danova appeared as a frequent guest star on television's "Bewitched," "Falcon's Crest," and "Murder, She Wrote."

Survivors include his wife, Pat, two sons, Marco and Fabrizio, two sisters and 11 grandchildren.

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