Rizzello was born in London of Italian parents. His father was a tailor. He attended the London Oratory School and did not want to follow his father's profession. He enlisted in the army in 1944, and was demobbed in 1948. He was a good baritone singer and had to choose between music and drawing; he chose the latter. He attended the Royal College of Art winning both the Drawing Prize and Travelling Scholarship in Sculpture. This led to study in Italy, sculpture in Rome for two years, and he was awarded the Prix de Rome 1951 for Sculpture. He began his career making wax heads for Madame Tussauds.
He served an unprecedented term of two 5-year periods as President of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. His public statuary includes Dancer with Ribbon in Oxford Street, London (the Plaza, the old Bourne & Hollingsworth). His David Lloyd George stands in Cathays Park, Cardiff, and other portrait busts include Nelson Mandela.
He married Sheila Maguire in 1950; she died in 2002. They had one daughter, who survived them.
- Tait, Simon (28 October 2004). "Obituary: Michael Rizzello Sculptor and designer of coins for the Royal Mint". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "Garden of England Sculpture". The Sculpture Website. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "Statue of David Lloyd George". Public Monuments and Sculpture Association. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- David Buckman (2004-10-08). "Michael Rizzello; sculptor & coin designer". London: The Independent. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
- "Michael Rizzello Sculpture Exhibition Opens At Mall Galleries". Creativematch. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- "Michael Rizzello (obituary)". The Telegraph. 8 October 2004. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
- Rizzello's Dancer with Ribbon, photo of in blogpost
- Michael Rizzello, Coin Designer at World of Coins. Includes portrait of Rizzello and images of several of his coin designs.
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