Ugo Tognazzi

Ugo Tognazzi (23 March 1922 – 27 October 1990) was an Italian actor, director, and screenwriter.[1]

Ugo Tognazzi
Magnifico cornuto - Ugo Tognazzi cropped.png
Tognazzi in The Magnificent Cuckold (1964)
Born(1922-03-23)23 March 1922
Died27 October 1990(1990-10-27) (aged 68)
Occupation(s)Actor, director, screenwriter
Years active1950–1990
Height1.70 m (5 ft 7 in)
Political partyRadical Party
SpouseFranca Bettoia (1972–1990)

Early lifeEdit

Tognazzi was born in Cremona, in northern Italy but spent his youth in various localities as his father was a travelling clerk for an insurance company.

After his return to his native city in 1936, he worked in a cured meats production plant where he achieved the position of accountant. During World War II, he was inducted into the Army and returned home after the Armistice of 8 September 1943, and joined the Brigate Nere for a while. His passion for theater and acting dates from his early years, and also during the conflict he organized shows for his fellow soldiers. In 1945, he moved to Milan, where he was enrolled in the theatrical company led by Wanda Osiris. A few years later, he formed his own successful musical revue company.


In 1950, Tognazzi made his cinematic debut in I cadetti di Guascogna directed by Mario Mattoli. The following year, he met Raimondo Vianello, with whom he formed a successful comedy duo for the new-born RAI TV (1954–1960).[1] Their shows, sometimes containing satirical material, were among the first to be censored on Italian television.

After the successful role in The Fascist (Il Federale) (1961), directed by Luciano Salce, Tognazzi became one of the most renowned characters of the so-called Commedia all'Italiana (Italian comedy style). He worked with all the main directors of Italian cinema, including Mario Monicelli (Amici miei), Marco Ferreri (La grande abbuffata), Carlo Lizzani (La vita agra), Dino Risi, Pier Paolo Pasolini (Pigsty), Ettore Scola, Alberto Lattuada, Nanni Loy, Pupi Avati and others. Tognazzi also directed some of his films, including the 1967 film Il fischio al naso. The film was entered into the 17th Berlin International Film Festival.[2]

He was a well-known actor in Italy, and starred in several important international films, which brought him fame in other parts of the world.

Roger Vadim cast Tognazzi as Mark Hand, the Catchman, in Barbarella (1968). He rescues Barbarella (Jane Fonda) from the biting dolls she encounters, and after her rescue, he requests payment by asking her to make love with him (the "old-fashioned" way, not the psycho-cardiopathic way of their future).

In 1981, he won the Best Male Actor Award at the Cannes Film Festival for Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci.[3] While he worked primarily in Italian cinema, Tognazzi is perhaps best remembered for his role as Renato Baldi, the gay owner of a St. Tropez nightclub, in the 1978 French comedy La Cage aux Folles which became the highest grossing foreign film ever released in the U.S.

Personal lifeEdit

Ugo Tognazzi died of a brain hemorrhage in Rome in 1990, although there were rumors that his chronic depression led to suicide.[1] He is buried in the cemetery of Velletri.

His sons Ricky Tognazzi (b. 1955) and Gianmarco Tognazzi (b. 1967) are actors. Another son, Thomas Robsahm (b. 1964), is a Norwegian film director and film producer. His daughter, Maria Sole Tognazzi (b. 1971), is also a film director.





  1. ^ a b c "Ugo Tognazzi, 68, a Comic Actor Who Starred in 'Cage aux Folles'". The New York Times. Associated Press. 29 October 1990. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  2. ^ " Awards for The Seventh Floor". Retrieved 27 February 2010.
  3. ^ "Ugo Tognazzi Tragedies of a Ridiculous Man" (Press release). Museum of Modern Art. 5 December 2018.

External linksEdit