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Cesare Danova in trailer for "Chamber of Horrors" (1969)
1 March 1926
|Died||19 March 1992
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Spouse(s)||Pamela Matthews (1955-1963) (divorced) 2 children
Patricia Chandler(1977-1992) (his death)
Cesare Danova (March 1, 1926 – March 19, 1992) was an Italo-American television and screen actor.
Life and career
Born as Cesare Deitinger in Bergamo, Italy to an Austrian father and an Italian mother; he adopted Danova as his stage name after becoming an actor in Rome at the end of World War II. He immigrated to the United States in the 1950s to make the film Don Giovanni (Don Juan) in 1955. He was contracted to MGM in 1956.
Other appearances include The Man Who Understood Women. He tested for a part in Ben Hur, but his big break was the role of Apollodorus, Cleopatra's personal servant in the 1963 film, Cleopatra directed by Joseph Mankiewicz and starring Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Rex Harrison. The original script called for a major role for Danova, who was to form a trio of Cleopatra's lovers alongside Harrison's Caesar and Burton's Marc Antony. Though a number of scenes featuring Taylor and Danova were shot, the script was revised and the role truncated as the Burton-Taylor affair made tabloid headlines. What remained was little more than a cameo. The following year he starred as Count Elmo Mancini in Viva Las Vegas as Elvis Presley's rival for both Ann-Margret and the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
In 1967, Danova had another break with the TV series, Garrison's Gorillas, in which he played the role of Actor. Clearly inspired by the hit film, The Dirty Dozen and the hit TV series Mission: Impossible, the series had an ensemble cast but, unfortunately, only ran for 26 episodes. Two of his best roles were as the neighborhood mafia Don, Giovanni Cappa, in Martin Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973) and as the corrupt town mayor, Carmine DePasto, in National Lampoon's Animal House (1978). He appeared in three episodes of The Rifleman, and regularly appeared as a guest star on numerous television series, including Honey West, Daniel Boone, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, Murder, She Wrote, Airwolf, Maude, Night Gallery, Falcon Crest, Hart to Hart, Mission: Impossible (1988–90), and his final television appearance in 1992 as Father DiMarco on In the Heat of the Night.
Danova died of a heart attack in 1992, aged 66, at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences headquarters in Los Angeles while attending a meeting of the Foreign Language Film committee. His mausoleum is in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery.
Danova was married twice and had two sons, Marco and Fabrizio, by his first wife, Pamela.
Danova is a cousin of American poet, editor, publisher and translator Frank Judge and Italian artist Sergio Deitinger, who lives in Rome and paints under the name DeiTinger.