A little later, in the television series entitled Il Mattatore (spotlight chaser) he obtained unexpected success and Il Mattatore soon became the nickname that accompanied him for the rest of his life. That year Gassman also directed and starred in a movie dedicated to theatre: it was a version of Kean. A true perfectionist, he always hated imperfect diction, or dialectal corruptions (but he was also able to render, perfectly and when needed, most of almost all Italian dialects and inflections). Quite bravely, he accepted the challenge of directing Adelchi, one of the less known and less "easy" works by Alessandro Manzoni. He toured his production to half a million spectators, crossing Italy with his Teatro Popolare Itinerante (a newer edition of the famous Carro di Tespi). Gassman as Brancaleone da NorciaHis productions include most of the famous authors of 20th century, with repeated returns to the classics of Shakespeare, Dostoevskij and the Greeks.
He also founded a theatre school in Florence, which formed many of the more talented actors of the current generations. In cinema he worked frequently both in Italy and abroad. With his natural charisma and his fluency in English he scored a number of roles in Hollywood; it was during an early stint there that he met and married Shelley Winters, whom he divorced to return to Italy. But, despite his success in films, Gassman never left theatre. In the later part of his career, he added poetry to his repertoire, helping to bring to Italy foreign works. Gassman the actor, married "only" actresses: Nora Ricci (with whom he had Paola, an actress and wife of Ugo Pagliai); Shelley Winters (mother of his daughter Vittoria); Juliette Maynel (who gave him Alessandro, also an actor), and Diletta D'Andrea who gave him his younger son Jacopo. Gassman was a man of intense emotions and intellectual honesty; his notable sense of humour and self-irony, brought him in the 1990s to take part in the popular TV show Tunnel in which he very formally and 'seriously' recited documents such as the gas invoice, the telephone bill and similar trivial texts like washing instructions for a woollen sweater or cookies' ingredients. He rendered them with the same professional skill that made him famous while reciting Dante's Commedia. Generally acclaimed as an actor, Gassman was also discussed as a man, due to his private life - his divorces (a noted scandal in 1950s and 60s), his initial atheism (later he gained a certain personalistic faith).
Also, in his public appearances on the media he often gave original or unconventional comments, sometimes with the clear intention of disturbing the moderated cultural positions; he also gained many enemies in the world of art for similarly frank judgments. In his late years he was a victim of depression. He died of a heart attack in his Roman home. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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