1 May 1927
Casalecchio di Reno, Italy
|Died||31 July 2004
Rome, Latium, Italy
Laura Betti (1 May 1927 – 31 July 2004) was an Italian actress known particularly for her work with directors Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Bernardo Bertolucci. She had a long friendship with Pasolini and made a documentary about him in 2001. Betti became famous for portraying bizarre, grotesque, eccentric, instable or maniacal roles, like Regina in Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900, Anna the medium in Twitch of the death nerve, Giovanna la pazza in Woman buried alive, hysterical Rita Zigai in Sbatti il mostro in prima pagina and Therese in Private Vices, Public Virtues. Particularly notes her roles as Emilia, the servant, in Pier Paolo Pasolini's Teorema and Mildred, the protagonist's wife-ghost in Mario Bava's Hatchet for the honeymoon.
Born Laura Trombetti in Bologna, she grew up to be interested in singing. She first worked professionally in the arts as a jazz singer and moved to Rome. She adopted the surname "Betti" at this time.
Betti made her film debut in Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita (1960). In 1963, she became a close friend of the poet and movie director Pier Paolo Pasolini. Under his direction, she proved a wonderful talent and played in seven of his films, including La ricotta (1963), Teorema (Theorem, 1968), his 1972 version of The Canterbury Tales, in which she played the Wife of Bath; and his controversial Salo (1975) ("120 Days of Sodom").
In 1976, Betti portrayed a cruel and eroto-maniacal fascist in Bernardo Bertolucci's Novecento (1900). She also played Miss Blandish in his Last Tango in Paris (1972), though her scenes were deleted.
From the 1960s, Betti dedicated much of her time to literature and politics. She became the muse for a number of leading political and literary figures in Italy and came to personify the revolutionary and Marxist era of 1970s Italy. In 2001 she had a role in Catherine Breillat's A ma soeur "Fat Girl".
In 2001, she made a documentary about Pasolini, Pier Paolo Pasolini e la ragione di un sogno. She also donated her papers related to their long friendship to the archives in Rome.
- La Dolce Vita (1960), directed by Federico Fellini
- The Witches (1967), produced by Dino De Laurentiis
- Teorema (1968), for her role as Emilia, the servant, Betti won the Volpi Cup in the same year.
- Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970), directed by Mario Bava
- A Man Called Sledge (1970), directed by Vic Morrow
- Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971), directed by Mario Bava
- The Canterbury Tales (1972), directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini
- Sonny and Jed (1972), directed by Sergio Corbucci
- Woman Buried Alive (1973), directed by Aldo Lado
- Allonsanfàn (1974), directed by Paolo and Vittorio Taviani
- Drama of the Rich (1974), directed by Mauro Bolognini
- The Last Day of School Before Christmas (1975), directed by Gian Vittorio Baldi
- Private Vices, Public Pleasures (1976), directed by Miklòs Jancsò
- 1900 (1976), directed by Bernardo Bertolucci
- Le Gang (1977), directed by Jacques Deray
- Il gabbiano (1977), directed by Marco Bellocchio
- At Night All Cats Are Crazy (1977), directed by Gérard Zingg
- Butterfly on the Shoulder (1978), directed by Jacques Deray
- Lovers and Liars (1979), directed by Mario Monicelli
- La Certosa di Parma (1982), directed by Mauro Bolognini
- Klassenverhältnisse (1984), directed by Straub-Huillet
- Mamma Ebe (1985), directed by Carlo Lizzani
- All the Fault of Paradise (1985), directed by Francesco Nuti
- Sweets from a Stranger (1987), directed by Franco Ferrini
- The Camels (1988), directed by Giuseppe Bertolucci
- The Great Pumpkin (1993), directed by Francesca Archibugi
- Mario, Maria and Mario (1993), directed by Ettore Scola
- The Rebel (1993), directed by Aurelio Grimaldi
- We Free Kings (1996), directed by Sergio Citti
- Marianna Ucrìa (1997), directed by Roberto Faenza
- An Air So Pure (1997), directed by Yves Angelo
- The Protagonists (1999), directed by Luca Guadagnino
- Fat Girl (2000), directed by Catherine Breillat
- Happiness Costs Nothing (2003), directed by Mimmo Calopresti
- Household Accounts (2003), directed by Tonino Cervi
- Raul: Straight to Kill (2004), directed by Andrea Bolognini
- 1960 - Laura Betti con l'orchestra di Piero Umiliani (Jolly, LPJ 5020)
- 1961 - Ballata dell'uomo ricco/Ballata del pover'uomo (Jolly, J 20128)
- 1961 - Venere tascabile/Seguendo la flotta (Jolly, J 20135)
- 1961 - Quattro canzoni con Laura Betti (Jolly, EPJ 3000)
- 1961 - Laura Betti con l'orchestra di Piero Umiliani (Jolly, EPJ 3005; tracce: Macrì Teresa detta Pazzia/Valzer della toppa/Cocco di mamma)
- 1961 - Laura Betti con l'orchestra di Piero Umiliani (Jolly, EPJ 3006; tracce: Venere tascabile/Vera signora/E invece no/Non so spiegarmelo)
- 1962 - Laura Betti (Orphée, 150.019; tracce: Je me jette/La parade du suicide/Je hais Rome/La belle Léontine)
- 1963 - Laura Betti canta Kurt Weill (Dischi Ricordi, SMRL 6032)
- 1965 - Ordine e disordine (I dischi del sole, DS 40; tracce: Ai brigoli di Casalecchio/M'hai scocciata, Johnny/Monologo della buca/Solitudine/Lamento del nord)
- 1968 - Potentissima signora
- Obituary: "Laura Betti", BBC, 1 August 2004