Angiolino Giuseppe Pasquale Ventura
14 July 1919
|Died||22 October 1987 (aged 68)|
Angiolino Giuseppe Pasquale Ventura (14 July 1919 – 22 October 1987) was an Italian actor who grew up in France and starred in many French films. Born in Italy, he was raised in Paris by his Italian mother. 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 great stars such as Bourvil, Jean Gabin, Alain Delon, Claude Rich, Bernard Blier, Jacques Brel, Michel Serrault, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and working with other leading directors such as Louis Malle, Claude Sautet, Claude Miller, and the great script writer Michel Audiard. 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). After one of his four children, a daughter, was 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 disabled 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. 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 cannot believe in a character, or if something does not ring true, I cannot 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 François 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."
|1954||Touchez pas au grisbi||Angelo Fraiser||Jacques Becker||with Jean Gabin and Jeanne Moreau|
|1955||Razzia sur la chnouf||Roger "the Catalan“||Henri Decoin||with Jean Gabin|
|1956||Law of the Streets||Mario||Ralph Habib||with Jean-Louis Trintignant and Raymond Pellegrin|
|Crime and Punishment||Gustave Messonnier||Georges Lampin||with Jean Gabin and Marina Vlady|
|1957||Burning Fuse||Legentil||Henri Decoin||with Raymond Pellegrin and Peter van Eyck|
|Action immédiate||Bérès||Maurice Labro||with Henri Vidal and Barbara Laage|
|Speaking of Murder||Pepito||Gilles Grangier||with Jean Gabin and Annie Girardot|
|L'Étrange Monsieur Steve||Denis||Raymond Bailly||with Jeanne Moreau and Philippe Lemaire|
|Three Days to Live||Lino Ferrari||Gilles Grangier||with Daniel Gélin and Jeanne Moreau|
|Ces dames préfèrent le mambo||Paulo||Bernard Borderie||with Eddie Constantine|
|1958||Maigret Sets a Trap||Inspector Torrence||Jean Delannoy||with Jean Gabin and Annie Girardot|
|Elevator to the Gallows||Inspector Cherrier||Louis Malle||with Jeanne Moreau and Maurice Ronet|
|The Lovers of Montparnasse||Morel||Jacques Becker||with Gérard Philipe, Anouk Aimée and Lilli Palmer|
|The Mask of the Gorilla||Géo Paquet||Bernard Borderie||with Charles Vanel and Bella Darvi|
|1959||Le fauve est lâché||Paul Lamiani||Maurice Labro||with Estella Blain and Paul Frankeur|
|Marie-Octobre||Carlo Bernardi||Julien Duvivier||with Danielle Darrieux|
|Sursis pour un Vivant||Borcher||Victor Merenda||with Henri Vidal and Dawn Addams|
|Douze heures d'horloge||Albert Fourbieux||Géza Radványi||with Eva Bartok, Hannes Messemer and Gert Fröbe|
|Un témoin dans la ville||Ancelin||Édouard Molinaro||with Franco Fabrizzi and Sandra Milo|
|125, rue Montmartre||Pascal||Gilles Grangier||with Andréa Parisy|
|Way of Youth||Tiercelin||Michel Boisrond||with Françoise Arnoul, Bourvil and Alain Delon|
|1960||Classe tous risques||Abel Davos||Claude Sautet||with Sandra Milo and Jean-Paul Belmondo|
|Mistress of the World||Biamonte||William Dieterle||with Martha Hyer and Carlos Thompson|
|1961||Girl in the Window||Federico||Luciano Emmer||with Marina Vlady|
|Un taxi pour Tobrouk||Theo Dumas||Denys de La Patellière||with Charles Aznavour and Hardy Krüger|
|The Last Judgment||Giovanna's father||Vittorio De Sica||with Jack Palance and Ernest Borgnine|
|Black City||A gangster||Duilio Coletti||with Ernest Borgnine and Keenan Wynn|
|The Lions Are Loose||André Challenberg||Henri Verneuil||with Jean-Claude Brialy and Claudia Cardinale|
|1962||Emile's Boat||Émile Bouet||Denys de La Patellière||with Annie Girardot, Michel Simon and Pierre Brasseur|
|Girl on the Road||the driver||Jacqueline Audry||with Agathe Aems and Gilbert Bécaud|
|The Devil and the Ten Commandments||Garigny||Julien Duvivier||with Charles Aznavour and Louis de Funès||(episode "Homicide point ne seras")|
|Carmen di Trastevere||Vincenzo||Carmine Gallone||with Giovanna Ralli and Dante di Paolo|
|1963||Die Dreigroschenoper||Tiger Brown||Wolfgang Staudte||with Curd Jürgens, Hildegard Knef and Gert Fröbe|
|Les Tontons flingueurs||Fernand Naudin||Georges Lautner||with Sabine Sinjen and Horst Frank|
|1964||Greed in the Sun||Hervé Marec||Henri Verneuil||with Jean-Paul Belmondo and Gert Fröbe|
|Weeping for a Bandit||El Lutos||Carlos Saura||with Francisco Rabal and Lea Massari|
|Le Monocle Rit Jaune||Elie's Client||Georges Lautner||with Paul Meurisse||cameo appearance, Uncredited|
|The Great Spy Chase||Francis Lagneau||Georges Lautner||with Bernard Blier and Mireille Darc|
|1965||The Dictator's Guns||Capt. Jacques Cournot||Claude Sautet||with Sylva Koscina and Leo Gordon|
|La Métamorphose des cloportes||Alphonse Maréchal||Pierre Granier-Deferre||with Irina Demick, Pierre Brasseur and Charles Aznavour|
|The Wise Guys||Laurent||Robert Enrico||with Bourvil and Marie Dubois|
|1966||Ne nous fâchons pas||Antoine Beretto||Georges Lautner||with Jean Lefebvre and Mireille Darc|
|To Skin a Spy||Pascal Fabre||Jacques Deray||with Jean Servais and Marilu Tolo|
|Le Deuxième Souffle||Gustave Minda||Jean-Pierre Melville||with Paul Meurisse and Raymond Pellegrin|
|1967||The Last Adventure||Roland||Robert Enrico||with Alain Delon and Joanna Shimkus|
|1968||Le Rapace||Rital||José Giovanni||with Rosa Furman and Xavier Marc|
|1969||Army of Shadows||Philippe Gerbier||Jean-Pierre Melville||with Simone Signoret|
|Le Clan des Siciliens||Inspector Le Goff||Henri Verneuil||with Jean Gabin, Alain Delon and Irina Demick|
|1970||Last Known Address||Chief inspector Marceau Leonetti||José Giovanni||with Marlène Jobert|
|1971||Fantasia Among the Squares||Sagamore Noonan||Gérard Pirès||with Mireille Darc and Jean Yanne|
|Boulevard du Rhum||Cornelius von Zeelinga||Robert Enrico||with Brigitte Bardot and Guy Marchand|
|1972||The Valachi Papers||Vito Genovese||Terence Young||with Charles Bronson and Jill Ireland|
|L'aventure, c'est l'aventure||Lino Massaro||Claude Lelouch||with Jacques Brel, Charles Denner and Charles Gérard|
|1973||Le Silencieux||Clément Tibère||Claude Pinoteau||with Lea Massari|
|La Raison du Plus Fou||Le deuxième motard||François Reichenbach||with Raymond Devos and Alice Sapritch||cameo appearance, Uncredited|
|La bonne année||Simon||Claude Lelouch||with Françoise Fabian|
|Far West||the prisoner||Jacques Brel||with Gabriel Jabbour and Danièle Evenou|
|L'Emmerdeur||Ralf Milan||Edouard Molinaro||with Jacques Brel|
|1974||Three Tough Guys||Father Charlie||Duccio Tessari||with Isaac Hayes and Fred Williamson|
|La Gifle||Jean Douléan||Claude Pinoteau||with Annie Girardot and Isabelle Adjani|
|1975||La Cage||Julien||Pierre Granier-Deferre||with Ingrid Thulin|
|The French Detective||Inspector Verjeat||Pierre Granier-Deferre||with Patrick Dewaere and Françoise Brion|
|1976||Illustrious Corpses||Inspector Amerigo Rogas||Francesco Rosi||with Fernando Rey and Max von Sydow|
|1978||The Medusa Touch||Detective-inspector Brunel||Jack Gold||with Richard Burton and Lee Remick|
|Butterfly on the Shoulder||Roland Fériaud||Jacques Deray||with Claudine Auger and Paul Crauchet|
|1979||Jigsaw (L'Homme en colère)||Romain Dupre||Claude Pinoteau||with Angie Dickinson and Donald Pleasence|
|1980||Les Seducteurs||François Quérole||Edouard Molinaro||with Catherine Salviat||(segment "The French Method")|
|1981||Garde à vue||Inspector Antoine Gallien||Claude Miller||with Michel Serrault and Romy Schneider|
|1982||Espion, lève-toi||Sébastien Grenier||Yves Boisset||with Michel Piccoli and Bruno Cremer|
|Les Misérables||Jean Valjean||Robert Hossein||with Michel Bouquet|
|1983||The Ruffian||Aldo||José Giovanni||with Bernard Giraudeau and Claudia Cardinale|
|1984||One Hundred Days in Palermo||General Carlo Dalla Chiesa||Giuseppe Ferrara||with Lino Troisi|
|La Septième Cible||Bastien Grimaldi||Claude Pinoteau||with Lea Massari|
|La jonque chinoise||Claude Bernard-Aubert|
|1986||Sword of Gideon||Papa||Michael Anderson||with Rod Steiger and Michael York||TV movie|
|1987||La Rumba||Un caïd||Roger Hanin||with Roger Hanin, Michel Piccoli and Corinne Touzet||cameo appearance, Uncredited, (final film role)|
- "Vidéo Ina - Extrait interview Ventura, vidéo Extrait interview Ventura, vidéo Economie et société Vie sociale - Archives vidéos Economie et société Vie sociale". Ina.fr. 24 October 1987. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- "Lino VENTURA : Biographie de Lino VENTURA". JeSuisMort.com. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- "Les 100 plus grands Français de tous les temps". In-nocence.org. Retrieved 12 March 2012.
- 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 at 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