Francesco Clemente Giuseppe Sparanero (born 23 November 1941), better known by his stage name Franco Nero, is an Italian actor. He is best known for his breakthrough role as the title character in Sergio Corbucci's Spaghetti Western film Django (1966), a role that he reprised in Nello Rossati's Django Strikes Again (1987).
Franco Nero, August 2008
|Born||Francesco Clemente Giuseppe Sparanero
23 November 1941
San Prospero Parmense, Parma, Italy
|Spouse(s)||Vanessa Redgrave (m. 2006)|
|Children||2; including Carlo Gabriel Nero|
Since then, he has performed leading and supporting roles in a wide variety of films, including The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966), Camelot (1967), The Day of the Owl (1968), The Mercenary (1968), Battle of Neretva (1969), Tristana (1970), Compañeros (1970), Confessions of a Police Captain (1971), Keoma (1976), Hitch-Hike (1977), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Enter the Ninja (1981), Die Hard 2 (1990), Letters to Juliet (2010) and John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017). He also played the narrator in the film Rasputin (2010), directed by Louis Nero, and voiced the character of Uncle Topolino in the animated film Cars 2 (2011) directed by John Lasseter and co-directed by Brad Lewis. In 2012, Nero made a cameo appearance in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained.
Francesco Clemente Giuseppe Sparanero was born in San Prospero Parmense (province of Parma, Emilia-Romagna), the son of a commissioner officer in the Carabinieri, originally from San Severo. He grew up in Bedonia and in Milan. He studied briefly at the Economy and Trade faculty of the local university, before leaving to study at the Piccolo Teatro di Milano.
Nero's first film role was a small part in Pelle viva (1962), and he had his first lead role in Sergio Corbucci's Django (1966) a spaghetti western and one of his best-known films. In 1966 from Django he went on to appear in eight more films released that year including Texas, Adios (1966) and Massacre Time.
In 1967, he appeared in Camelot as Lancelot, where he met his longtime romantic partner, and later on in life his wife, Vanessa Redgrave. Following this he appeared in the mafia film Il giorno della civetta opposite Claudia Cardinale released in 1968.
A lack of proficiency in English tended to limit these roles, although he also appeared in other English-language films including The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Enter the Ninja (1981) and Die Hard 2 (1990).
Although often typecast in films like Los amigos (1973) or Keoma (1976) he has attempted an impressive range of characters, such as Abel in John Huston's epic The Bible: In The Beginning (1966), the humiliated engineer out for revenge in Street Law, the gay lieutenant in Querelle (1982) and Serbian mediaeval hero in The Falcon (1983). He has appeared in over 150 films, and has written, produced and starred in one: Jonathan degli orsi (1993).
More recently, he starred in Hungarian director Koltay Gábor's Honfoglalás (Conquest) in 1996, in Li chiamarono... briganti! (1999) by Pasquale Squitieri and subsequently in Koltay's Sacra Corona (Holy Crown) in 2001.
In 2009 he played an eccentric author called "Mario Puzzo" in Mord ist mein Geschäft, Liebling ("Murder is my trade, darling", Italian title "Tesoro, sono un killer"). German critics found his performance was the best part of the film: "Having Franco Nero playing in this film is really a great joy - it is only regrettable that after his appearances there is still so much film left."
In 2010, Nero appeared in the film Letters to Juliet with Redgrave. In 2011 he appeared as a guest star on the season 13 premiere episode of Law and Order SVU. His character, although Italian, was based on Dominique Strauss-Kahn. In the same year, he received a star on the Italian Walk of Fame in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
In 2012, Nero made a cameo appearance in the film Django Unchained in one scene alongside Jamie Foxx, who stars as Django Freeman in the film. In the scene Nero plays the original Django, an Italian Mandingo Fighter manager. Nero's Django then questions Foxx's Django about how his name is spelled, and asks him to spell it, referencing a scene from Nero's role as Django in the original Django film. Upon learning that their names are spelled the same way, Nero's Django says "I know" to Foxx's Django.
His romantic involvement with British actress Vanessa Redgrave began in 1966 when they met on the set of Camelot. In 1969, they had a son, Carlo Gabriel Redgrave Sparanero (known professionally as Carlo Gabriel Nero), a screenwriter and director. After separating for many years, during which they both had relationships with other people, they reunited and married on 31 December 2006. Carlo Nero directed Redgrave in the cinematic adaptation of Wallace Shawn's play The Fever.
- I Knew Her Well (1965, directed by Antonio Pietrangeli)
- Wild, Wild Planet (1965, directed by Antonio Margheriti)
- Gli uomini dal passo pesante (1965, directed by Albert Band)
- War of the Planets (1966, directed by Antonio Margheriti)
- The Third Eye (1966, directed by Mino Guerrini)
- Massacre Time (1966, directed by Lucio Fulci)
- Tecnica di un omicidio (1966, directed by Franco Prosperi)
- The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966, directed by John Huston)
- Django (1966, directed by Sergio Corbucci)
- Texas, Adios (1966, directed by Ferdinando Baldi)
- Camelot (1967, directed by Joshua Logan)
- Man, Pride and Vengeance (1967, directed by Luigi Bazzoni)
- The Day of the Owl (1968, directed by Damiano Damiani)
- Sardinia Kidnapped (1968, directed by Gianfranco Mingozzi)
- The Mercenary (1968, directed by Sergio Corbucci)
- The Fifth Day of Peace (1969, directed by Giuliano Montaldo)
- Battle of Neretva (1969, directed by Veljko Bulajić)
- A Quiet Place in the Country (1969, directed by Elio Petri)
- Detective Belli (1969, directed by Romolo Guerrieri)
- Dropout (1970, directed by Tinto Brass)
- Compañeros (1970, directed by Sergio Corbucci)
- Tristana (1970, directed by Luis Buñuel)
- The Virgin and the Gypsy (1970, directed by Christopher Miles)
- The Case Is Closed, Forget It (1971, directed by Damiano Damiani)
- La vacanza (1971, directed by Tinto Brass)
- The Fifth Cord (1971, directed by Luigi Bazzoni)
- Long Live Your Death (1971, directed by Duccio Tessari)
- Confessions of a Police Captain (1971, directed by Damiano Damiani)
- The Assassination of Matteotti (1972, directed by Florestano Vancini)
- Pope Joan (1972, directed by Michael Anderson)
- The Monk (1972, directed by Ado Kyrou)
- Los Amigos (1973, directed by Paolo Cavara)
- Redneck (1973, directed by Silvio Narizzano)
- High Crime (1973, directed by Enzo G. Castellari)
- White Fang (1973, directed by Lucio Fulci)
- I guappi (1974, directed by Pasquale Squitieri)
- Street Law (1974, directed by Enzo G. Castellari)
- Challenge to White Fang (1974, directed by Lucio Fulci)
- Smiling Maniacs (1975, directed by Marcello Aliprandi)
- The Legend of Valentino (TV movie, 1975, directed by Melville Shavelson)
- The Flower in His Mouth (1975, directed by Luigi Zampa)
- Cry, Onion! (1975, directed by Enzo G. Castellari)
- How to Kill a Judge (1975, directed by Damiano Damiani)
- Last Days of Mussolini (1975, directed by Carlo Lizzani)
- Death Rite (1976, directed by Claude Chabrol)
- Keoma (1976, directed by Enzo G. Castellari)
- 21 Hours at Munich (TV movie, 1976, directed by William A. Graham)
- Victory March (1976, directed by Marco Bellocchio)
- Submission (1976, directed by Salvatore Samperi)
- Hitch-Hike (1977, directed by Pasquale Festa Campanile)
- Force 10 from Navarone (1978, directed by Guy Hamilton)
- The Pirate (TV miniseries, 1978, directed by Ken Annakin)
- Sahara Cross (1978, directed by Tonino Valerii)
- The Shark Hunter (1979, directed by Enzo G. Castellari)
- Mimi (1979, directed by Florestano Vancini)
- The Visitor (1979, directed by Giulio Paradisi)
- Le rose di Danzica (1979, directed by Alberto Bevilacqua)
- The Blue-Eyed Bandit (1980, directed by Alfredo Giannetti)
- Day of the Cobra (1980, directed by Enzo G. Castellari)
- The Man with Bogart's Face (1980, directed by Robert Day)
- The Salamander (1981, directed by Peter Zinner)
- Enter the Ninja (1981, directed by Menahem Golan)
- The Falcon (1981, directed by Vatroslav Mimica)
- Grog (1982, directed by Francesco Laudadio) as Nicola Fanelli
- Kamikaze 1989 (1982, directed by Wolf Gremm)
- Querelle (1982, directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
- Red Bells (1982, directed by Sergei Bondarchuk)
- Wagner (TV miniseries, 1983, directed by Tony Palmer)
- Red Bells II (1983, directed by Sergei Bondarchuk)
- The Last Days of Pompeii (TV miniseries, 1984, directed by Peter R. Hunt)
- André schafft sie alle (1985, directed by Peter Fratzscher)
- The Hitchhiker – Season 2, Episode 10: "Murderous Feelings" (1985, directed by Mai Zetterling)
- The Repenter (1985, directed by Pasquale Squitieri)
- Un marinaio e mezzo/Fight for Your Life (1985, directed by Tommaso Dazzi)
- The Repenter (1985, directed by Pasquale Squitieri)
- The Girl (1987, directed by Arne Mattsson)
- Il generale (TV miniseries, 1987, directed by Luigi Magni)
- Sweet Country (1987, directed by Michael Cacoyannis)
- Django 2 (1987, directed by Nello Rossati)
- Windmills of the Gods (TV miniseries, 1988, directed by Lee Philips)
- Grosso guaio a Cartagena (1988, directed by Tommaso Dazzi)
- Alien Terminator (1988, directed by Nello Rossati)
- Run for Your Life (1988, directed by Terence Young)
- Young Toscanini (1988, directed by Franco Zeffirelli)
- The Magistrate (TV movie, 1989)
- The Betrothed (TV miniseries, 1990)
- Die Hard 2 (1990, directed by Renny Harlin) as General Ramon Esperanza
- Breath of Life (1990, directed by Beppe Cino)
- Young Catherine (TV miniseries, 1991, directed by Michael Anderson)
- Brothers and Sisters (1992, directed by Pupi Avati)
- Jonathan of the Bears (1993, directed by Enzo G. Castellari)
- Der Fall Lucona (1993, directed by Jack Gold)
- The Dragon Ring (TV miniseries, 1994)
- Io e il re (1995, directed by Lucio Gaudino)
- Talk of Angels (1996, directed by Nick Hamm)
- The Conquest (1996)
- The Innocent Sleep (1996)
- The Return of Sandokan (TV miniseries, 1996, directed by Enzo G. Castellari)
- Painted Lady (TV movie, 1997)
- The Bible: David (TV movie, 1997)
- Desert of Fire (TV miniseries, 1997, directed by Enzo G. Castellari)
- Bella Mafia (TV movie, 1997, directed by David Greene)
- The Versace Murder (TV movie, 1998, directed by Menahem Golan)
- Megiddo: The Omega Code 2 (1999, directed by Brian Trenchard-Smith)
- Li chiamarono... briganti! (1999)
- Uninvited (1999)
- Mirka (2000)
- The Crusaders (TV movie, 2001)
- Chimera (2001, directed by Pappi Corsicato)
- Guardians of the Clouds (2004)
- Forever Blues (also director, 2005)
- Hans (2006)
- The Holy Family (2006, directed by Raffaele Mertes)
- Bathory (2008)
- The Rage (2008)
- Mord ist mein Geschäft, Liebling (2009)
- Palestrina - Prince of Music (2009, directed by Georg Brintrup)
- Letters to Juliet (2010, directed by Gary Winick)
- Augustine: The Decline of the Roman Empire (TV movie, 2010)
- Calibro 10 (2010)
- Cars 2 (2011) as Uncle Topolino (voice)
- Rasputin (2011)
- New Order (2012)
- Django Unchained (2012, directed by Quentin Tarantino)
- Cadences obstinées (2013, directed by Fanny Ardant)
- Mamula (2014)
- The Lost City of Z (2016)
- John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)
- The Time of Their Lives (2017)
- The Neighborhood (2017)
- The Broken Key (TBA)
- 1985 - Will Change The World/Cambierà (Lovers, LVNP 802, 7" - with his son Carlo)
- (in Italian) Franco Nero in MyMovies
- "Movies" – via www.nytimes.com.
- (in Italian) Franco Nero in CinemaItaliano.info
- (in Italian) Franco Nero Archived 21 July 2012 at Archive.is in Cinemastore Italy
- (in Italian) Francoo Nero Biography in Hollywood.com
- Ann Pearce. "He Lost His Guenevere, Vanessa Redgrave, but Franco Nero Found His Camelot Back in Italy". People.
- Redazione online (5 December 2011). "San Severo, cittadinanza a Franco Nero". Corriere del Mezzogiorno. Retrieved 17 April 2013.
- Paolo Russo (16 November 2014). ""Io, Django e Fassbinder" Franco Nero, che grande attore". La Repubblica. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
- Franco Nero Interview from 1Kult.com (English subtitled)
- "Dass Franco Nero in diesem Film mitspielt, macht wirklich großen Spaß – schade nur, dass nach seinen Auftritten noch so viel Film übrig ist." Oliver Baumgarten. "Mord ist mein Geschäft, liebling". Filmzentrale. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- Yuen, Jenny (September 5, 2011). "Italian Walk of Fame honours stars".
- System. "Franco Nero legge 'Il Pugile' di Gabriele Tinti". www.beniculturali.it.
- "Franco Nero Reads 'Songs Of Stone' By Gabriele Tinti".
- "Vanessa Redgrave speaks about marriage to second 'husband' for the first time". Telegraph. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
- "Nymph". 1 May 2014 – via www.imdb.com.