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|Born||Angiolino Giuseppe Pasquale Ventura|
14 July 1919
Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
|Died||22 October 1987 (aged 68)|
Saint-Cloud, Hauts-de-Seine, France
(m. 1942; his death 1987)
Angiolino Giuseppe Pasquale Ventura (14 July 1919 – 22 October 1987) was an Italian actor who starred mainly in French films. Raised by his Italian mother in Paris, after a first career as a professional wrestler was ended by injury he was offered a part as a gang boss in the Jacques Becker film Touchez pas au grisbi (1954) and rapidly became one of France's favourite film actors, playing opposite many other stars and working with other leading directors such as Louis Malle, Claude Sautet, and Claude Miller. Usually portraying a tough man, either a criminal or a cop, he also featured as a leader of the Resistance in the Jean-Pierre Melville directed Army of Shadows (L'armée des ombres, 1969). Having a daughter born handicapped, he and his wife founded a charity Perce-Neige (Snowdrop) which aids disabled children and their parents. Though he never renounced his Italian citizenship, he was voted 23rd in a poll for the 100 greatest Frenchmen.
Life and career
Born in Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy to Giovanni Ventura and Luisa Borrini, who moved to France soon thereafter, Lino dropped out of school at the age of eight and later took on a variety of jobs. At one point Ventura was pursuing a prizefighting and professional wrestling career but had to end it because of an injury.
In 1953, by chance, one of his friends mentioned him to Jacques Becker who was looking for an Italian actor to play opposite Jean Gabin in a gangster movie called Touchez pas au grisbi (1954). Becker offered him on the spot the role of Angelo, which Ventura refused at first but then accepted. He had such a presence in the film that the whole profession took notice. The film was a big success.
Although he remained an Italian citizen throughout his life and long used to seeing himself dubbed into Italian from the original French release, he only made a handful of films in his native language, among them The Last Judgement (Il giudizio universale, 1961), Illustrious Corpses (Cadaveri eccellenti, 1976) and Cento Giorni a Palermo (1983).
Ventura remained active until the year before his death from a heart attack in 1987 at the age of 68. Having a disabled daughter himself, he created a charitable foundation, Perce-Neige (Snowdrop) in 1966, which supports handicapped people.
Throughout his career, he was one of the most popular actors of French cinema. He spoke French without any accent (excepting a Parisian one at the beginning of his career) and spoke Italian with a slight French accent, having arrived in France at the age of seven. Forcibly conscripted into the Italian army during the Second World War, he deserted to remain faithful to the principles of France. But, although his wife and four children were French, he never wanted to give up Italian citizenship, out of respect for his parents. Despite this, he was ranked 23rd of the 100 greatest Frenchmen, 17 years after his death.
Somewhat paradoxically, Ventura attributed his great success to his limited range as an actor; and often said "If I can not believe in a character, or if something does not ring true, I can not act it."
In a 1980 interview he said that the previous year "I began to realize how incredibly lucky I had been since the age of 9, how much I had been loved by so many people. When I act, I am doing what I love, and I am paid for it. So I put myself in the service of the film, never the film in service to me." He mentioned he turned down several roles - a part in Apocalypse Now (cut from the final film), a role in a Robert Aldrich film and the part played by Francois Truffaut in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
He said, "The story is everything. My good friend Jean Gabin told me 25 years ago there are three important things in movies: the story, the story and the story."
"I have limitations," he said. "I have no training; I could not do the classics. What I can do is myself. And I like best not to talk at all... I study the script, and then try to become the character. That is very mysterious, how that happens. I cannot explain it. There are so many mysteries in cinema, the way everything must interlock, that when you think of it all, you never want to make a film."
- "Vidéo Ina - Extrait interview Ventura, vidéo Extrait interview Ventura, vidéo Economie et société Vie sociale - Archives vidéos Economie et société Vie sociale". Ina.fr. 1987-10-24. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "Lino VENTURA : Biographie de Lino VENTURA". JeSuisMort.com. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- "Les 100 plus grands Français de tous les temps". In-nocence.org. Retrieved 2012-03-12.
- FESTIVAL OF FESTIVALS Lino Ventura is one star who thanks his lucky stars Scott, Jay. The Globe and Mail 12 Sep 1980: P.15.
- Durant, Philippe (1989): Lino Ventura. Bergisch Gladbach: Lübbe. ISBN 3-404-61142-X
- Durieux, Gilles (2001): Lino Ventura. Paris: Flammarion. ISBN 2-08-068113-3
- Giovanni, José (2002): Mes Grandes Gueules. Fayard. ISBN 2-213-61262-5
- Ventura, Clélia (2003): Lino ou la Gourmandise de la Vie. Paris: Robert Laffont. ISBN 2-221-09884-6
- Ventura, Odette (1992): Lino. Paris: Robert Laffont. ISBN 2-7242-7179-3 (see also: External Links)
- Ventura, Odette (1993): Lino. Weinheim; Berlin: Beltz Quadriga. ISBN 3-88679-217-X
- Ventura, Odette (1997): Lino. Paris: Robert Laffont. ISBN 2-221-08646-5
- Ventura, Odette (1997): Lino. Guanda "Biblioteca della Pilotta". ISBN
- Zurhorst, Meinolf / Just, Lothar (1984). Lino Ventura: Seine Filme – Sein Leben. München: Heyne. ISBN 3-453-86065-9
- Lino Ventura on IMDb
- http://tontonsflingueurs.actifforum.com/ French Site Lino Ventura
- Les Premières Rencontres Nationales – Art, Culture et Handicap – Bourges du 19 au 21 octobre 2003
- Rencontres – Art, Culture et Handicap – Lundi 20 octobre à Bourges
- Lino Ventura Foundation
- Box office figures for Lino Ventura films at Box Office Story
- Lino Ventura at Find a Grave