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Vittorio de Sica - JPop.com
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Vittorio de Sica

Vittorio de Sica

Vittorio de Sica


Vittorio De Sica (7 July 1901 – 13 November 1974) was an Italian director and actor, a leading figure in the neorealist movement. Four of the films he directed won Academy Awards: Sciuscià and Bicycle Thieves were awarded honorary Oscars, while Ieri, oggi, domani and Il giardino dei Finzi Contini won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Indeed, the great critical success of Sciuscià (the first foreign film to be so recognized by the Academy Read more on Last.fm
Vittorio De Sica (7 July 1901 – 13 November 1974) was an Italian director and actor, a leading figure in the neorealist movement. Four of the films he directed won Academy Awards: Sciuscià and Bicycle Thieves were awarded honorary Oscars, while Ieri, oggi, domani and Il giardino dei Finzi Contini won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Indeed, the great critical success of Sciuscià (the first foreign film to be so recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) and Bicycle Thieves helped establish the permanent Best Foreign Film Oscar. These two films generally are considered part of the canon of classic cinema. Bicycle Thieves was cited by Turner Classic Movies as one of the 15 most influential films in cinema history. De Sica was also nominated for the 1957 Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for playing Major Rinaldi in American director Charles Vidor's 1957 adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, a movie that was panned by critics and proved a box office flop.

De Sica's acting was considered the highlight of the film. Born into poverty in Sora, Lazio (1901), he began his career as a theatre actor in the early 1920s and joined Tatiana Pavlova's theatre company in 1923. In 1933 he founded his own company with his wife Giuditta Rissone and Sergio Tofano. The company performed mostly light comedies, but they also staged plays by Beaumarchais and worked with famous directors like Luchino Visconti. His meeting with Cesare Zavattini was a very important event: together they created some of the most celebrated films of the neorealistic age, like Sciuscià (Shoeshine) and Bicycle Thieves (released as The Bicycle Thief in America), both of which De Sica directed. De Sica appeared in the British television series The Four Just Men (1959). His passion for gambling was well known. Because of it, he often lost large sums of money and accepted work that might not otherwise have interested him.

He never kept his gambling a secret from anyone; in fact, he projected it on characters in his own movies, like Count Max (which he acted in but did not direct) and The Gold of Naples. In 1937 he married Giuditta Rissone, whom he met ten years before and who gave birth to their daughter, Emi. In 1942, on the set of Un garibaldino al convento, he met Spanish actress Maria Mercader (sister of Ramon Mercader, Trotsky's assassin), with whom he started a relationship. He was a Roman Catholic. After divorcing Rissone in France in 1954, he married Mercader in 1959, again in Mexico, but this union was not considered valid under Italian law. In 1968 he obtained French citizenship and married Mercader in Paris. Meanwhile he had already had two sons with her: Manuel, in 1949, a musician, and Christian, in 1951, who would follow his father's path as an actor and director. Although divorced, De Sica never parted from his first family.

He led a double family life, with double celebrations on holidays. It is said that, at Christmas and on New Year's Eve, he used to put back the clocks by two hours in Mercader's house so that he could make a toast at midnight with both families. His first wife agreed to keep up the facade of a marriage so as not to leave her daughter without a father. Vittorio De Sica died at 73 after a surgery at the Neuilly-sur-Seine hospital in Paris. Read more on Last.fm.

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