Cino Tortorella

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Felice Tortorella
Tortorella 1968.jpg
Born (1927-06-27)27 June 1927
Ventimiglia, Italy
Died 23 March 2017(2017-03-23) (aged 89)
Milan, Italy
Occupation Television host

Felice "Cino" Tortorella[1] (27 June 1927 – 23 March 2017),[2][3][4] was an Italian television presenter, best known for creating and conducting the Zecchino d'Oro[5] festival of children's songs.

Zecchino d'Oro and Topo Gigio[edit]

Cino (hypocorism of Felice) Tortorella was born in Ventimiglia, Italy. Tortorella began his career in 1956 with a comedy entitled Zurlì, Mago Lipperlì ("Zurlì, the Magician at that moment").

Three years later, he inaugurated the Zecchino d'Oro (The Golden Coin) festival, in which he played the role of Mago Zurlì until 1972. He also created several other shows on RAI TV and private Italian networks such as Antenna 3 Lombardia, where in the late '70s and first '80s he was the most important TV director.

During his shows, Tortorella often conversed with the puppet Topo Gigio, an anthropomorfic mouse created by Maria Perego and dubbed by Peppino Mazzullo. While a popular attraction in Italy, exposure via The Ed Sullivan Show made them famous around the world.


In 2002, Tortorella's name was written into the Guinness book as of the person having been conducting the same program (Zecchino d'Oro) for the longest ever time in the world.[6][7]