Adolfo Celi

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Adolfo Celi
Emilio Largo.jpg
Adolfo Celi in Thunderball (1965).
Born (1922-07-27)27 July 1922
Curcuraci, Messina, Sicily, Italy
Died 19 February 1986(1986-02-19) (aged 63)
Siena, Tuscany, Italy
Cause of death
Heart attack
Nationality Italian
Occupation Actor
Years active 1946–1985
Spouse(s) Tônia Carrero (1951-1962) (divorced)
Marília Branco (1963-?) (divorced)
Veronica Lazar (1966-1986) (his death) 2 children

Adolfo Celi (Italian pronunciation: [aˈdɔlfo ˈtʃɛli]; 27 July 1922 –19 February 1986) was an Italian film actor and director.[1] Born in Curcuraci, Messina, Sicily, Celi appeared in nearly 100 movies, specializing in international villains. Although a prominent actor in Italian cinema and famed for many roles, he is best remembered internationally for his portrayal of Emilio Largo in the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball.[2] Celi later spoofed his Thunderball role in the film OK Connery (aka Operation Double 007) opposite Sean Connery's brother, Neil Connery.[3]

Life and career[edit]

Celi became a film actor in postwar Italy. He left the Italian film industry when he emigrated to Brazil where he co-founded the Teatro Brasileiro de Comédia along with the Brazilian stage greats Paulo Autran and Tônia Carrero in São Paulo[4] He was successful as a stage actor in Argentina and Brazil. He directed three films in South America in the 1950s, including the Brazilian hit Tico-Tico no Fubá in 1952.

Celi began a new popular career when he played the villain in Philippe de Broca's That Man from Rio, selected by DeBroca on location in Rio de Janeiro. The popularity of the film led him to be cast as camp commandant Battaglia opposite Frank Sinatra and Trevor Howard's Allied POWs in the 1965 World War II escape drama Von Ryan's Express. This led him to his most well known role as Largo in Thunderball. He is also known to international audiences as Ralph Valmont, one of the villans in the Mario Bava action thriller Danger: Diabolik. Celi appeared as a protagonist in some Italian comedies including Amici Miei and Brancaleone alle Crociate.

In addition to his native Italian, Celi was fluent in several languages, including English, Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese, but his thick Sicilian accent meant that he was usually dubbed when he appeared in English language films. For example, Robert Rietti provided his voice in both Thunderball and That Man from Rio.[citation needed] However, he was not dubbed in the 1981 BBC serial The Borgias, in which Celi played Rodrigo Borgia. Despite his strong Sicilian accent, his vocal parts were not dubbed and he was criticised for being hard to follow for British audiences, although his characterisation was popular.[citation needed]

Personal life and death[edit]

Celi was married three times. He died of a heart attack in Siena in 1986. His daughter by Veronica Lazar, Alessandra Celi, is an actress.

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]