MASSIMO TROISI Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Massimo Troisi                                                                         
Born: 19 February 1953                                                                       
Died: 4 June 1994                                                                           
Massimo Troisi (February 19, 1953 - June 4, 1994) was an Italian Academy Award-nominated     
actor, film director and poet. He is best known for the 1994 film Il Postino.               
Troisi was born into a large family in San Giorgio a Cremano, a town near Naples.           
His father was a train engineer. Some of his family experiences were later told             
in his first movies. After high school, Troisi wrote some poems inspired by his             
favourite author, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and, in 1969, started to play in a small             
local theatre together with some childhood friends (including Lello Arena and               
Enzo De Caro). The early death of his mother condemned Troisi to a harsh period             
of activity, which is said to have had a role in the development of his heart               
problems. (In 1976 he had to visit the United States for a heart transplant, the             
expenses for which were paid with the help of his friends.)                                 
Troisi started his artistic career as a cabaret showman in 1972, as a member of             
the comic trio called "I Saraceni" ("The Saracens") and, later, "La Smorfia" (from           
the name of the "book of the numbers" traditionally used in Naples for Lotto and             
tombola, but also meaning "the face", as in "to make a face"). His mates were De             
Caro and Arena. They gained national fame on the radio and increased it                     
consistently from 1977 onwards eventually becoming TV stars with the shows Non               
Stop, La sberla (1978) and Luna Park (1979). Troisi soon gained the status of               
leader of the trio. He was noted for his use of facial mimicry and of apparently             
confused speech—in these he drew inspiration from such famous figures of                   
Neapolitan comedy as Totò, Eduardo and Peppino De Filippo.                                 
Troisi wrote, directed and played his first film, Ricomincio da tre ("I Start               
Over from Three") in 1983. He achieved wide success and critical praise,                     
imposing himself as one of the most talented new Italian directors of 1980s.                 
Like the second movie, Ricomincio da tre is centered on the troublesome love                 
life of a Neapolitan character, partly inspired by Troisi's youth, as well as               
featuring Lello Arena. Scusate il ritardo, similar to the preceding one, was                 
released in 1983.                                                                           
Troisi starred opposite Roberto Benigni in Non ci resta che piangere (1985), in             
which they play two friends who are accidentally transported back in time to the             
15th century; there they meet Leonardo da Vinci and, upon realising which age               
they are in, travel to Spain to try to stop Christopher Columbus from                       
discovering the Americas.                                                                   
After some small acting roles, in 1987 Troisi directed Le vie del Signore sono               
finite, set during the Fascist era. The movie won a Silver Ribbon for best                   
screenplay. In the following years, he starred alongside Marcello Mastroianni,               
in Ettore Scola's Splendor (1988), Che ora è? (1989) and Il viaggio di Capitan             
Fracassa (1990). His last movie as director (also as screenwriter and actor) was             
Pensavo fosse amore, invece era un calesse (1991), again centering on the every             
day difficulties of love between a man and a woman (portrayed by Francesca Neri).           
Troisi came to international fame through the success of Il Postino, directed by             
Michael Radford. Troisi, who was only 41 years old, died in 1994 of a massive               
heart attack in his sister's house in Ostia (Rome) just twelve hours after the               
main filming on Il Postino had finished. It was reported that he postponed                   
surgery to complete the film.                                                               
He was posthumously nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role,             
becoming only the fourth actor (after James Dean, Peter Finch, and Spencer Tracy)           
to be so honoured.                                                                           
A good personal friend of the musician and singer Pino Daniele (who wrote most               
of the soundtracks for his movies), he wrote lyrics for his music or adapted his             
poetry for it. Eduardo De Filippo, father of Neapolitan theatre of the 20th                 
century, said of him that he was a comic actor of the future, but with his roots             
in the past.