Open main menu

Rossana Podestà, born Carla Dora Podestà (20 June 1934 – 10 December 2013) was a Libyan-born Italian actress,[2] who worked mainly in Italy from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Rossana Podestà
Podestà in Le ragazze di San Frediano (1954)
Carla Podestà

(1934-06-20)20 June 1934
Died10 December 2013(2013-12-10) (aged 79)
Rome, Italy
Years active1950–1985
Spouse(s)Marco Vicario (1953-1976) (divorced) (2 children)
Partner(s)Walter Bonatti (1981-2011) (his death)
ChildrenStefano Vicario
Francesco Vicario[1]
Rossana Podestà in 1965
Rossana Podestà in 1956


Podestà was born in Tripoli in the Italian colony of Libya. She spent her first years there, moving to Rome after World War II. At sixteen she was discovered by director Léonide Moguy during the preparation of the cast for the film Domani è un altro giorno; this inaugurated a career in which she participated in sixty films, in Italy and abroad.

In Italy, she resided in Dubino (Sondrio province). She married and then divorced movie producer Marco Vicario. From 1980 she lived with the famous mountain climber, explorer and journalist Walter Bonatti; he died on 13 September 2011. Bonatti, aged 81, died alone at a private clinic where the hospital management would not allow his partner of more than 30 years to spend the last minutes of his life together because the two were not married. On 10 December 2013, Podestà died in Rome, aged 79.[3]

Acting careerEdit

Podestà's most memorable role was as Helen in Helen of Troy, produced by Robert Wise in 1956. She could not speak English so she learned her lines by rote with a voice coach. The movie gave Podestà international exposure, and she performed alongside a young Brigitte Bardot. Thanks to her starring in the Mexican film Rossana, she became very popular in Latin America.

Podestà also starred in the movie Ulisse (1955), directed by Mario Camerini, and in the sixties and seventies she acted in some romantic movies, including Paolo il caldo and Il prete sposato which led to a double page of five half naked pictures in the US Playboy of March 1966. Under the headline "Trio Con Brio" featuring European actresses, she appeared alongside Christiane Schmidtmer (from Germany) and Shirley Ann Field (from the UK).

Her last performance was in Secrets Secrets (1985), directed by Giuseppe Bertolucci. She died on 10 December 2013 and is survived by two children.

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ "Rossana Podestà: 'Helen of Troy' & Sex Comedy Actress Dies".
  2. ^ "Morta Rossana Podestà – Photostory Spettacolo". Retrieved 11 December 2013.
  3. ^ "Actress Rossana Podestà dies". Gazzetta del Sud. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2019.

External linksEdit