The Golden Age of Hollywood

AFP/File – Dino De Laurentiis, producer of some of Italy's
best-known films including works by Federico Fellini …



ROME (AFP) – Italy's Oscar-winning film producer Dino De Laurentiis, who brought larger than life characters ranging from King Kong to Hannibal Lecter to the big screen, has died aged 91, his family said on Thursday.

De Laurentiis, who worked with some of Italy's best-known directors such
as Federico Fellini and Roberto Rossellini before breaking into
Hollywood, died in Los Angeles after being gravely ill for two weeks.

"Cinema has lost one of its greats," said Walter Veltroni, an Italian
lawmaker and former mayor of Rome who founded the Rome Film Festival.

"The name of Dino De Laurentiis is tied to the history of cinema," he said.

His nephew, Aurelio De Laurentiis, also a well-known producer, confirmed
his uncle's death as he spoke to reporters in Rome ahead of his
departure for the funeral in the United States.

De Laurentiis described his uncle as an "intellectual" who used cinema as "a way of embracing and understanding life."

He said his uncle's passion for film began when Dino was a young boy and flourished in the "magic climate" of the 1950s.

"There wasn't a fascination with television at the time, but a great fascination with cinema," he said.

"When you talked about work with Dino one thing was sure: it was fun, you would toss ideas back and forth," he said.

Dino De Laurentiis produced more than 500 films over his entire career,
working with some of the biggest names in European film as well as
Hollywood.

Starting out in film aged just 20, he became one of the leading
producers of Italy's post-war cinema boom and the neo-realist genre.

One of the first films he produced was "Riso Amaro" ("Bitter Rice") by
Giuseppe De Santis, a 1949 classic and one of the best examples of
neo-realism.

He won an Oscar in 1956 for Fellini's "La Strada" and was nominated 38
times. In 2001, he received the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at the
Oscars for demonstrating "a consistently high quality of motion picture
production."

In 2003, he won a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival.

De Laurentiis worked closely with the legendary Italian comic actor Toto
and Alberto Sordi, one of Italy's best-loved stars whose portrayals of
middle-class Romans struggling to get by became national classics.

In the 1960s, De Laurentiis built a film studio near Rome known as
"Dinocitta" -- after the famous "Cinecitta" -- that was inaugurated by
US director John Huston.

His work became increasingly in demand in Hollywood, enjoying box office
success with "Serpico" starring Al Pacino in 1973, "Three Days of the
Condor" with Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway in 1975, "King Kong" in 1976 and Ridley Scott's "Hannibal" in 2001.

However not all of his movies were hits.


His 1984 science fiction film "Dune," written and directed by David Lynch, was a commercial flop and was slammed by critics.


De Laurentiis was born on August 8, 1919 in Torre Annunziata near Naples
and moved to the United States in the early 1970s. His parents were
pasta makers.


He married Silvana Mangano, the star of "Riso Amaro" and one of the beauties of her day. They had four children together and later divorced.


In 1981, his son died in an airplane accident in Alaska.


His granddaughter, Giada, is a well-known US chef and hosts a programme on the Food Network.

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Comment by Dan Day, Jr. on November 11, 2010 at 3:34pm
Dino also produced "Diabolik", a favorite of mine.

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