Ġemma Portelli

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Ġemma Portelli (Valletta, 30 September 1932[1] – Valletta, 21 February 2008[2]) was a Maltese actress.

Life & Career[edit]

Portelli's interest in drama started at a young age, when she would set up her own stage and produce her own plays to entertain other children.[3]

Her professional career took off in 1957, when she joined the Rediffusion show titled Radju Muskettieri together with fellow actors Charles Clews and Johnny Catania.[3] During the sixties she founded a production company together with her husband; the company, which was called The Bluebirds, produced and presented a children's programme.[3]

In the late seventies, Portelli starred in the first Maltese language television series F'Baħar Wieħed (1976)[3][4]. On this show, she played a character named Ġoma, an outspoken, gossiping but good-natured woman.[1][5] In an interview, writer and co-star of F'Baħar Wieħed, Lino Grech, once said that he wrote the part especially for her.[6]

Portelli is also known for presenting a series of Maltese comedy shows titled Fuq Tlieta Toqgħod il-Borma (1980).[3]

Portelli also played major roles at the Royal Opera House in Valletta (now known as It-Teatru Rjal[7]), including Ġesù ta' Nazzarett, Is-Salib tal-Fidda and It-Tieġ ta' Karmena Abdilla.[3]

After the death of her husband, Paul Portelli, on 29 January 2001, her health began to decline.[5] In spite of health issues, she took part in what would be her final production – a Maltese television series titled Ta' Ħorrox Borrox.[5]


In the year 2000, Portelli was awarded the Medal for Service to the Republic (Midalja Ġieħ ir-Repubblika) while in 2007 she was awarded the Charles Arrigo Lifetime Achievement Award during the Malta Television Awards.[3]

Portelli died on 22 February 2008 at the age of 75, with the funeral being held at St Joseph Parish Church in Msida on 24 February 2008.[3]

Selected Filmography[edit]

  • Radju Muskettieri (1957)
  • F'Baħar Wieħed (1976)
  • Fuq Tlieta Toqgħod il-Borma (1980)


  1. ^ a b "WATCH: Tenth anniversary of Gemma Portelli's death". TVM. February 21, 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  2. ^ Portelli, Ġemma (February 22, 2008). "Announcements / Obituary". Times of Malta. Retrieved June 17, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h Żammit, Rosanne (February 23, 2008). "Ġemma Portelli dies aged 75". Times of Malta. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
  4. ^ Curmi, Miriam (2018). "'F'Bahar Wiehed': riflessi fuq is-socjetà Maltija". University of Malta. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ a b c Tanti, Gino (21 February 2018). "BIL-FILMAT: Insellmu lil Ġoma, lil Jennifer, lil Lonza u lil Filumen". Xarabank. Retrieved 26 March 2019.
  6. ^ De Bono, Karol (May–June 2011). "Jiena Ġoma ta' Pinu l-Pastizzar". Xehda Għasel. May/June 2011: 4 – via ISSUU.
  7. ^ Morana, Martin. "FROM ROYAL OPERA HOUSE TO PJAZZA TEATRU RJAL". culture.gov.mt. Retrieved 25 March 2019.