Carmen Russo

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Carmen Russo
Carmen Russo cropped.jpg
Russo at the Versiliana Festival in 2008.
Carmela Carolina Fernanda Russo

(1959-10-03) October 3, 1959 (age 59)
OccupationFilm actor, singer
Years active1975–present
Spouse(s)Enzo Paolo Turchi [it] (1989–present)

Carmela Carolina Fernanda "Carmen" Russo[1] is an Italian dancer, actress, television personality and singer.

Russo started her career as a model in the mid-1970s participating in several beauty contests in Italy. She first came to the public's attention for her roles in the commedia erotica all'italiana, (sex comedy) genre, such as Mia moglie torna a scuola, Giovani, belle... probabilmente ricche and Paulo Roberto Cotechiño centravanti di sfondamento.

She subsequently established herself as a television star in the 1980s with the variety shows Drive In, Risatissima and Grand Hotel. In 2003 and 2006 she also participated in the Italian and Spanish version of the reality show Celebrity Survivor. She won in the Spanish version Supervivientes. In 2017 she also competed in Grande Fratello VIP 2, the italian version of Celebrity Big Brother. During her career she released also three unsuccessful studio albums, Stars on Donna, Le canzoni di "Drive in..." and Una notte italiana and she was also chosen many times as a model for Playmen magazine during the 1980s.

Early life[edit]

Russo was born in Genoa, on October 3, 1959. Her father Giovanni Russo was a Sicilian policeman, and her mother Emilian Giuseppina Gherardini, worked as a cashier at the cinema "Olimpia". After her parents' move to Pavullo nel Frignano, a town in the province of Modena, Emilia-Romagna and in 1969 her family return in Genoa, where she joined a dance academy. In 1973, she finished middle school and her parents entered her at the Istituto Tecnico per il Turismo, in Genoa, so that she does not give dance her full attention.[1] With sacrifices she followed the dance lesson of Wanda Nardi, the most important dance school of the time in Genoa[1] and she also began working as a model mannequin, for the department store Coin she do a poster advertising.


1974 - 1975: Beauty contests and night shows[edit]

In 1974, at the age of thirteen years, Russo won her first important beauty contests "Miss Liguria".[2][3] The previous year Russo also won the title of "Miss Emilia" held in Pavullo nel Frignano, but it was a qualification that had no value for the national contest.[1] By winning the victory of "Miss Liguria" Russo had the opportunity to participate in the election of "Miss Italia" but she was disqualified because was too young.[2][3][4]

1975 - 1979: Rome, film appearances and TV[edit]

Russo with Mention decided in 1975 to move in Rome, home of the major Italian film studios. The couple arrived in Rome and placed immediately in a tiny apartment very close to Cinecittà. With the tenacity and ambition that have always characterized Russo, every morning she did long queues to submit auditions for a part in a movie. Russo was immediately hired for a little part in the comedy movie Di che segno sei? with Adriano Celentano and Alberto Sordi.[5] With this film Russo leaves for a while the stage of night clubs of the province.

In 1977 she was hired by Federico Fellini for the film La città delle donne with Marcello Mastroianni.[3][5] In the movie she shows her breasts but was not credited. She then appeared in the crime movie Genova a mano armata as the cashier at the bar, and also made an appearance in Die linkshändige Frau (The Left-Handed Woman). The movie was a hit, especially in Germany and was entered into the 1978 Cannes Film Festival.[6]

Although Russo began her career as an actress, she continued to work as a showgirl in nightclubs and in 1978 Russo host with Ettore Andenna in the TV show "La bustarella" aired on Antenna 3 Lombardia. In the same year she also participated in "Portobello" with Enzo Tortora aired in Raiuno. Later Russo appeared in many others film and debuted in the theater supporting Walter Chiari in "Hai mai provato con l'acqua calda?".[3] With this play, Russo won the Premio De Curtis.[1] Due to the expansion of her career, she decided to settle permanently in Rome where there was also the home of the agency "Gymnasium".

1980 - 1983: Major roles, Playmen and music[edit]

During the summer of 1979 Russo appeared for the first time in the Italian magazine for men Playmen, at the age of nineteen. After she appeared again in the magazine in late 1980, in 1981 and two times in 1982 and 1984. She became also one of the highest paid nude models in Italy.

In 1980 she participated in the making of two films: Patrick vive ancora with Gianni Dei[7] and La settimana bianca. During the making of La settimana bianca in the summer of 1980 she met Gianfranco D'Angelo, who helped Russo to enter the world of television. In this year Russo also shot Le porno killers, her first role as a protagonist. In the film Russo played a bisexual killer. In the movie she was credited as Carmen Bizet.[7] 1981 is the year of the artistic breakthrough for Russo. She left Mention and ended the job as show girl in nightclubs. Russo's next films were starring roles in the sex comedies La maestra di sci and Mia moglie torna a scuola.

At the end of 1981 Russo signed with Fontana Records for the release of a single -only. Her first single, "Notte senza luna" was promoted on the Italian radios. In December 1981 Russo performs the B-side of the song "Stiamo insieme stasera" during the Italian TV show Blitz aired on Raiuno.[8] The performance was shot on the Italian destroyer Ardito (D 550). Russo also performs "Stuntman", an unreleased song.

The biennium 1982-1983 for Russo was very successful. During this year she starred in four films. Russo begins with Quella peste di Pierina with Marina Marfoglia and Oreste Lionello. A few months after turning Buona come il pane. It was subsequently chosen by Pierfrancesco Pingitore for the movie Il tifoso, l'arbitro e il calciatore with Pippo Franco, Alvaro Vitali, Marisa Merlini and Daniela Poggi and then for Giovani, belle... probabilmente ricche with Gianfranco D'Angelo, Nadia Cassini and Edwige Fenech. In early 1983, Russo also released her first full-length studio album Stars on Donna, released as Carmen. The album contains cover version of songs by Donna Summer and Giorgio Moroder.

1983 - 1986: Mediaset success and latest movies[edit]

Cover of Russo "Sì" single.

Brando Giordani and Emilio Ravel, journalists and authors, called Russo to participate in the program Colosseum, aired on Raidue. Later in 1983, Russo participated in the TV show "Drive In", where she played a sexy cashier. Russo was a primadonna in the show, where she sings dances and recites.

The theme of the show was originally sung by Cristina Moffa ("Zucchero, Zucchero"), later changed to the cover of Patty Pravo 1968 hit "La Bambola" singing by Russo. The closing credits music, "Chiammame Ambresso" written by Cristiano Malgioglio, were also sung by Russo. During the show Russo promoted her albums Stars on Donna and Le canzoni di "Drive In...". Le canzoni di "Drive In"...' contains selected track of songs performed by Russo in the show. From the album was also released one single "Mi scusi signorina". In 1984 Russo also took part for the commercial of the candys "Morositas".

In the same year at the height of popularity, she doesn't neglect the cinema and take part in "Ti spacco il muso, bimba" with Oreste Lionello and Sergio Vasta, "Paulo Roberto Cotechiño centravanti di sfondamento" with Franca Valeri, and finally run "Cuando calienta el sol... vamos alla playa" a sixties musical-comedy film set with Claudia Vegliante and Edoardo Vianello.

In 1985, Russo returned to television appearing in Risatissima and then in Grand Hotel on Canale 5. She also recorded the theme "Sì", an Italo disco song that had moderate success. In 1986, Russo hosted Un fantastico tragico venerdì with Lino Banfi and Massimo Boldi, which devoted Carmen as a star of classical ballet. Also for this show, she recorded the theme "Camomillati Venerdì".

1987 - 1993 : Marriage, return in Rai and Spanish TV[edit]

On June 26, 1987 Russo married the choreographer and dancer Vincenzo Paolo Turchi [it] in a small church in Cassano delle Murge. After a television shows pause in 1988, turning her last film to date "Rimini, Rimini - Un anno dopo " with Andrea Ronco and Eva Grimaldi. With this film Russo turned twenty-six films including six as the main role.

After, Turchi suggested to leave the private channels of Silvio Berlusconi and return to RAI. Russo participated in the TV musical "Io Jane, tu Tarzan" directed by Enzo Trapani. The show didn't achieve success despite the ballets were always elaborate. Due to the failure of her last program in 1990 Russo did only some appearance as a guest in several TV shows: "Buonasera con Tino Scotti", "Blitz", "Black- out", "Mixer", "Stasera niente di nuovo", "Playboy di mezzanotte", "Pop Corn", "A botta calda" and "Domenica in" which was a permanent guest in the 1990-1991 season.

Later in 1991 Russo decided to leave Italy and go to Spain to conduct "Vip Noche", for the Telecinco network, for sixty episodes.[9] The show had an unexpected success, with 41% of share every time.[9] Also in Telecinco Russo worked on two editions of the Sunday program "Batalla de las estrellas".[9] which Russo co-hosted with José Luis Moreno TVE for two years, as it aired at prime time on Saturdays.[9]


TV Works[edit]

  • 1978 La bustarella on Antenna 3 Lombardia
  • 1978 Portobello on Raiuno
  • 1979 Sam et Sally, episode "Bedelia"
  • 1983 Colosseum on Raidue
  • 1983 Drive In on Italia 1
  • 1985 Risatissima on Canale 5
  • 1986 Un fantastico tragico venerdì on Rete 4
  • 1986 Grand Hotel on Canale 5
  • 1989 Io Jane, tu Tarzan on Raiuno
  • 1990 Domenica in on Raiuno
  • 1991 Vip Noche on Telecinco
  • 1993 La batalla de las estrellas on Telecinco
  • 1994 Notte italiana on Italia 7
  • 2003 L'isola dei famosi on Raidue
  • 2006 Supervivientes on Telecinco
  • 2007 Buona domenica on Canale 5



  • 1983: Stars on Donna part one / Stars on Donna part two (Monkey Music Records Mr 31032)
  • 1983: Stars on Donna (Monkey Music Records Mr 31721)
  • 1984: Le canzoni di "Drive in..." (F1 Team 33318)
  • 1992: Una notte italiana (Canaveral QR 1000)
  • 1996: Macho Mambo EP/Mini album (Canaveral)


  • 1981: "Notte senza luna"
  • 1984: "Mi scusi, signorina"
  • 1985: "Sì"
  • 1985: "Mai, Mai, Mai"
  • 1986: "Camomillati Venerdì"
  • 1987: "Bravi, Settepiù"
  • 1989: "Io Jane tu Tarzan"
  • 1993: "Ciù Ciù Dance" EP (Real Sound RS5410)


  1. ^ a b c d e Lancia, Poppi, p. 320
  2. ^ a b TV interview, Gip - Lo show più buono che ci sia, All Music (October 11, 2008)
  3. ^ a b c d "Biography" (in Italian). Carmen Retrieved 2009-09-11.
  4. ^ Metz, Mondi, p. 112
  5. ^ a b Giordano, Aramu, p. 127
  6. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Left-Handed Woman". Retrieved 2009-09-06.
  7. ^ a b Federazione italiana cineforum, p. 93
  8. ^ Carmen Russo performing "Stuntman" and "Stiamo insieme stasera" on YouTube
  9. ^ a b c d "Carmen all'estero" (in Italian). Carmen Retrieved 2009-09-16.


  • Federazione italiana cineforum (1989). Cineforum, Volume 29, Numeri 281-290.
  • Giordano, Michele; Daniele Aramu (2000). La commedia erotica italiana: vent'anni di cinema sexy made in Italy. Gremese Editore. ISBN 88-8440-035-X.
  • Lancia, Enrico; Roberto Poppi (2003). Dizionario del cinema italiano. Gremese Editore. ISBN 88-7605-596-7.
  • Metz, Fioretta; Edmondo Mondi (1994). La più bella sei tu: modi e mode degli italiani attraverso 50 anni del concorso di Miss Italia. Edizioni dell'Ulisse.
  • Red, Sylver; Paul Blake (1983). Carmen Russo L'atomica del sesso. Forte Editore.

External links[edit]