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Nino Manfredi, 83; Italian Actor Known for His Many Comedic Roles

June 07, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Nino Manfredi, an Italian film star who appeared in some of the finest Italian comedies of the 1960s and 1970s, has died. He was 83.

Manfredi died Friday in Rome where he had been hospitalized since suffering a stroke several months ago.

The actor appeared in more than 100 productions during a 54-year screen career that began in 1949. In the 1970s, he endeared himself to Italians with a performance as puppet maker Geppetto in a TV production, "The Adventures of Pinocchio."

Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni called Manfredi "perhaps the last of the great actors of an unrepeatable period of our cinema."

Los Angeles Times film critic Kevin Thomas in 1986 reviewed Manfredi's late '60s film "I See Naked," as part of an Italian comedy series at UCLA. Thomas wrote that it "showcases [his] remarkable range, control and subtlety as a comedian in seven episodes of varying length."

Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi praised Manfredi for "portraying the evolution of Italian society with irony and working-class wisdom."

Born Saturnino Manfredi in Castro dei Volsci, near Rome, Manfredi earned a law degree but turned to stage acting, and became a mainstay in many "commedia all'italiana" films.

The 1971 film he directed, "Per Grazia Ricevuta" ("Between Miracles"), was acclaimed by critics and won the award for best first work at the Cannes Film Festival. In 2003, he earned the Venice Film Festival's lifetime achievement award.

The actor is survived by his wife, Erminia Ferrari, and three children.

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