Francesco Clemente Giuseppe Sparanero (born 23 November 1941), known professionally as Franco Nero, is an Italian actor, producer, and director. His breakthrough role was as the title character in the Spaghetti Western film Django (1966), which made him a pop culture icon and launched an international career that includes over 200 leading and supporting roles in a wide variety of films and television programmes.
Francesco Clemente Giuseppe Sparanero
23 November 1941
|Occupation||Actor, producer, director|
|Children||Carlo Gabriel Nero|
His best-known films include 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), The Fifth Cord (1971), High Crime (1973), Street Law (1974), Keoma (1976), Force 10 from Navarone (1978), Enter the Ninja (1981), Die Hard 2 (1990), Letters to Juliet (2010), Cars 2 (2011) , and John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017). Nero is noted for having worked in many of the popular Italian "genre trends" during the 1960s and 1970s, including poliziotteschi, gialli, and Spaghetti Westerns.
Nero is also known for his ties to the Redgrave family, and has had a long-standing relationship with Vanessa Redgrave, which began during the filming of Camelot. They were married in 2006, and are the parents of the actor Carlo Gabriel Nero.
Francesco Clemente Giuseppe Sparanero was born in San Prospero Parmense (Parma, Emilia-Romagna), the son of a commissioned officer in the Carabinieri. His parents were originally from San Severo (Foggia, Apulia). 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. Nero, playing the original Django, 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 English 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.
In December 1987, a paternity suit was filed against him by Mauricia Mena, who claimed that he was the father of her son Franquito.
|1965||I Knew Her Well||Italo|
|The Tramplers||Charley Garvey|
|Wild, Wild Planet||Lt. Jake Jacowitz|
|1966||War of the Planets|
|Hired Killer||Tony Lo Bello|
|Massacre Time||Tom Corbett|
|The Third Eye||Mino Alberti|
|Texas, Adios||Sheriff Burt Sullivan|
|The Bible: In the Beginning...||Abel||First American film|
|1967||Man, Pride and Vengeance||Don José|
|Camelot||Lancelot du Lac||Singing voice by Gene Merlino|
|1968||The Day of the Owl||Capt. Claudio Bellodi||David di Donatello Award for Best Actor|
|The Mercenary||Sergei "Polack" Kowalski|
|A Quiet Place in the Country||Leonardo Ferri|
|1969||The Fifth Day of Peace||Ensign Bruno Grauber|
|Detective Belli||Detective Stefano Belli|
|Battle of Neretva||Capt. Michele Riva|
|The Virgin and the Gypsy||The Gypsy||Nominated—Golden Laurel Award for Star of Tomorrow, Male|
|1971||The Case Is Closed, Forget It||Vanzi|
|Confessions of a Police Captain||Deputy D.A. Traini||Italian Golden Globe Award for Best Actor|
|The Fifth Cord||Andrea Bild||Television film|
|Long Live Your Death||Dmitri Vassilovich Orlowsky|
|1972||Pope Joan||Louis II of Italy|
|Deaf Smith & Johnny Ears||Johnny Ears|
|The Assassination of Matteotti||Giacomo Matteotti|
|High Crime||Vice Commissioner Alessandro Nelli|
|White Fang||Jason Scott|
|I guappi||Nicola Bellizzi|
|1974||Last Days of Mussolini||Walter "Valerio" Audisio|
|Street Law||Carlo Antonelli|
|Challenge to White Fang||Jason Scott|
|1975||Smiling Maniacs||Judge Roberto Dani|
|How to Kill a Judge||Giacomo Solaris|
|Cry, Onion!||Onion Stark|
|The Legend of Valentino||Rudolph Valentino|
|The Flower in His Mouth||Professor Michele Belcore|
|1976||Victory March||Capt. Asciutto|
|21 Hours at Munich||Luttif Afif||Television film|
|1977||Sahara Cross||Jean Bellard|
|1978||Force 10 from Navarone||Captain Nicolai Lescovar \ Colonel von Ingorslebon|
|The Pirate||"sheikh Baydr Al-Fay the Pirate"||Television miniseries|
|1979||The Visitor||Jesus Christ||Uncredited|
|Le rose di Danzica||General Konrad van Der Berg|
|The Shark Hunter||Mike DiDonato|
|1980||The Man with Bogart's Face||Hakim|
|The Blue-Eyed Bandit||Renzo Dominici|
|Day of the Cobra||Larry Stanzani|
|1981||The Salamander||Carabinieri Colonel Dante Matucci|
|The Falcon||Strahinja Banović|
|Enter the Ninja||Cole|
|1982||Red Bells||John Reed|
|1983||Red Bells II||John Reed|
|1984||The Last Days of Pompeii||Arbaces|
|Die Försterbuben||Andreas Boehme||Television film|
|1985||Andre Handles Them All||André|
|Un marinaio e mezzo||Nick|
|The Hitchhiker||Dr. Peter Milne||Television series;
|The Repenter||Judge Falco|
|Il generale||Giuseppe Garibaldi||Television miniseries|
|The Girl||Johan Berg|
|Django Strikes Again||Django|
|Grosso guaio a Cartagena||Francis|
|1988||Windmills of the Gods||"dictator of Romania Alexandru Ionescu"||Television miniseries|
|Top Line||Ted Angelo|
|Young Toscanini||Claudio Toscanini|
|Run for Your Life||Comissare|
|1989||The Magistrate||Paolo Pizzi||Television miniseries|
|1990||The Betrothed||Friar Cristoforo|
|Die Hard 2||General Ramon Esperanza|
|Breath of Life||Gesulado|
|1991||Young Catherine||Count Mikhail Vorontsov||Television miniseries|
|Amelia Lópes O'Neill||Fernando|
|1992||Brothers and Sisters||Franco|
|Crimson Dawn||Paul Herzog||Television film|
|Zoloto||Gabriele da Poppi|
|1993||Azzurro profondo||Luca Morinari|
|Der Fall Lucona||Enzo Lombardo|
|Jonathan of the Bears||Jonathan Kowalski|
|Das Babylon Komplott||Chris Lang||Television film|
|1994||The Dragon Ring||The Dragon King||Television miniseries|
|1995||Io e il re||Major Ferri|
|1996||The Innocent Sleep||Adolfo Cavani|
|The Return of Sandokan||Yogi Azim||Television miniseries|
|1997||Il tocco – La sfida||Jesus Barro|
|Desert of Fire||Marcel Duvivier||Television miniseries|
|Painted Lady||Robert Tassi|
|Bella Mafia||Mario Domino||Television film|
|1998||Il tesoro di Damasco||Andrea|
|The Versace Murder||Gianni Versace|
|Talk of Angels||Dr. Vicente Areavaga|
|Winds of Passion||Michele Giangrande|
|St. Paul||Gamaliel||Television miniseries|
|Sacra Corona||Bishop Gellért|
|The Sleeping Wife||Marco|
|Megiddo: The Omega Code 2||General Michelangelo Francini|
|The Crusaders||Ibn-Azul||Television miniseries|
|2002||Fumata blanca||Cardinal Tura|
|Die achte Todsünde: Toskana-Karussell||Giuseppe Mantaldo||Television film|
|2003||Liebe, Lügen, Leidenschaften||Pietro Bellini||Television miniseries|
|Guardians of the Clouds||Il Padre|
|2005||Forever Blues||Luca||Also directorial debut|
|Summer Solstice||Lorenzo||Television miniseries|
|Amore e libertà – Masaniello||Vicerè D'Arcos|
|The Holy Family||Zechariah||Television film|
|Der Fürst und das Mädchen||Count Massimo di Romano||Television series;
|2008||Márió, a varázsló||Mario|
|Bathory: Countess of Blood||King Mathias II of Hungary|
|Il sangue e la rosa||Umberto Mancini||Television series;
|Mein Herz in Chile||Carlos Sanchez||Television film|
|A Night at the Grand Hotel||Ferran Moreno|
|Rosamunde Pilcher's Four Seasons||Max Freeman||Television miniseries|
|2009||Mord ist mein Geschäft, Liebling||Enrico Puzzo|
|Palestrina - Prince of Music||Domenico Ferrabosco|
|2010||Augustine: The Decline of the Roman Empire||Augustine of Hippo||Television miniseries|
|Angelus Hiroshimae||The Hunter|
|Letters to Juliet||Lorenzo Bartolini|
|New Order||Dr. Cornelius Van Morgen|
|Cars 2||Uncle Topolino|
|Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Roberto Distasio||Television series;
|A Memória que me Contam||Paolo|
|Django Unchained||Amerigo Vessepi||Prequel to Django (1966)|
|The Woods||Enzo Philipo|
|Dante's Inferno: An Animated Epic||Circles Introduction||Italian version only|
|Love Island||Marquis Polesini|
|Figli di Maam||Herod|
|2016||Il Ragazzo della Giudecca||Salvatore|
|The Lost City of Z||Baron de Gondoriz|
|John Wick: Chapter 2||Julius|
|Der Mann aus dem Eis||Ditob||Stone Age thriller with Rhaetian dialogue.|
|The Time of Their Lives||Alberto|
|2017–18||Delicious||Joe Benelli||Television series;4 episodes|
|2018||The Broken Key||Hiram Abif|
|Red Land - Rosso Istria||Professor Ambrosin|
|2019||The Collini Case||Fabrizio Collini|
|Christmas In Rome||Luigi Forlinghetti||Hallmark|
|2020||Recon||Angelo||WWII Thriller, Release date 10 November 2020|
|2021||Off the Rails||Giovanni||Completed|
2022 ‘’ The Man from Rome (2022 film) The Man from Rome’’ The Pope
- 1985 – Will Change The World/Cambierà (Lovers, LVNP 802, 7" – with his son Carlo)
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- (in Italian) Franco Nero in MyMovies
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- (in Italian) Franco Nero Archived 21 July 2012 at archive.today 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.
- Fusco, Maria Pia (22 January 2012). "Franco Nero straniero in patria". la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- O'Neill, Phelim (26 May 2011). "Franco Nero: No escaping Django". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Paolo Russo (16 November 2014). ""Io, Django e Fassbinder" Franco Nero, che grande attore". La Repubblica. Retrieved 6 July 2016.
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- Roberts, Laura (11 June 2010). "Vanessa Redgrave speaks about marriage to second 'husband' for the first time". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Lambert, Victoria (9 March 2017). "Franco Nero: 'As you get older, you want a quiet woman – not one who yells'". The Telegraph. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- La Magna, Franco (19 November 2019). "Dalla mafia arcaica de "Il giorno della civetta" all'apocalittico "Cadaveri eccellenti"". La Sicilia (in Italian). Retrieved 19 November 2019.
- Pulici, Davide (26 November 2015). "Intervista a Franco Nero: buon compleanno!". Nocturno (in Italian). Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Franco Nero Interview from 1Kult.com Archived 30 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine (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.
- Alexander, Bryan (13 May 2010). "Letters to Juliet's Vanessa Redgrave". Time. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- King, Susan (14 May 2010). "Vanessa Redgrave knows love delayed". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Stanhope, Kate (11 August 2011). "Exclusive: International Film Star Takes on Dominique Strauss-Kahn for Law & Order: SVU". TV Guide. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Yuen, Jenny (5 September 2011). "Italian Walk of Fame honours stars".
- Corliss, Richard (12 December 2012). "Django Unchained: Tarantino Frees the Slaves". Time. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- System. "Franco Nero legge 'Il Pugile' di Gabriele Tinti". www.beniculturali.it.
- "Franco Nero Reads 'Songs of Stone' By Gabriele Tinti".
- N'Duka, Amanda (20 December 2019). "Rachel True, Sean Gunn Join 'Agnes'; Sherilyn Fenn, Franco Nero Topline 'Immortalist'; Cameron Douglas, Elisabeth Röhm In 'The Runner'". Deadline. Retrieved 22 December 2019.
- "Vanessa Redgrave speaks about marriage to second 'husband' for the first time". The Telegraph. 11 June 2010. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
- Rorke, Robert (10 June 2007). "MAGICAL REDGRAVE". New York Post. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- "Jack O'Brian's Mainland". Honolulu Star-Bulletin. Honolulu, Hawaii. 11 February 1970. p. 49.
- Jack O'Brian (8 September 1975). Goldie and Vanessa's Oldie. Lebanon Daily News
- Page Six (9 January 1986). Kiss & Tell. New Straits Times.
- "Guión". 1987.
- Lambert, Victoria (23 June 2017). "Original Django Franco Nero talks Vanessa Redgrave and playing the romantic lead at age 74". Stuff. Retrieved 9 May 2018.
- Middlekauff, Tracey (2009). "Fighting AIDS in Memory of Her Father". People. Archived from the original on 7 May 2009. Retrieved 21 March 2009.
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