18 April 1927|
(now Rhodes, Greece)
|Died||19 February 2009
Lionello was born in Rhodes (then a possession of Italy), to Calabrian parents, and grew up in Reggio Calabria. It began his career as a theatre actor, and is considered amongst the founders of Italian cabaret. In 1953 he entered the Musical Theatrical Company of RAI (Italian state TV) and the following year he debuted in television with Marziano Filippo, a boys' show. He had found success as an entertainer on Italian TV in the 1970s and 1980s.
Actors he dubbed include Charlie Chaplin, Groucho Marx, Dick Van Dyke, Peter Sellers, Gene Wilder, Michel Serrault, Gérard Depardieu and, in almost all his movies, Woody Allen. In the 1960s he was one of the founders of the Bagaglino comic theatre and TV company.
Lionello died on 19 February 2009 in Rome after a long illness. He was 81. Allen declared about him:
Oreste Lionello for years made me a better actor than I was in fact. We met personally and he always seemed a very pleasant man.
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