Pier Angeli

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Pier Angeli
Pier Angeli 1957.jpg
Featured in the American fan magazine Modern Screen, 1957
Anna Maria Pierangeli

(1932-06-19)19 June 1932
Died10 September 1971(1971-09-10) (aged 39)
Cause of deathBarbiturate overdose
Resting placeCimitière des Bulvis in Rueil Malmaison, France
Years active1950–1971
(m. 1954; div. 1958)

(m. 1962; div. 1969)
RelativesMarisa Pavan (sister)

Pier Angeli (19 June 1932 – 10 September 1971),[1] also credited under her birth name, Anna Maria Pierangeli, was an Italian television and film actress. Her American motion picture debut was in the starring role of the film Teresa (1951), for which she won a Golden Globe Award for Young Star of the Year - Actress.

Early life and career[edit]

Born Anna Maria Pierangeli to Enrichetta (née Romiti) and Luigi Pierangeli in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.[1] Her twin sister is the actress Marisa Pavan.

Angeli made her film debut with Vittorio De Sica in Domani è troppo tardi (1950) after being spotted by director Léonide Moguy and De Sica.[1] MGM launched her in Teresa (1951), her first American film, which also saw the film debuts of Rod Steiger and John Ericson. Reviews for this performance compared her to Greta Garbo, and she won the New Star of the Year–Actress Golden Globe. Under contract to MGM throughout the 1950s, she appeared in a series of films, including The Light Touch with Stewart Granger. Plans for a film of Romeo and Juliet with her and Marlon Brando fell through when a British-Italian production was announced.

While filming The Story of Three Loves (1953), Angeli began a relationship with costar Kirk Douglas. She next appeared in Sombrero, in which she replaced an indisposed Ava Gardner, then Flame and the Flesh (1954). After discovering Leslie Caron, another European ingénue, MGM lent Angeli to other studios. She went to Warner Bros. for both The Silver Chalice (1954), which marked the debut of Paul Newman, and Oh No, Mam'zelle (Mam'zelle Nitouche), also 1954). For Paramount, she was in contention for the role of Anna Magnani's daughter in The Rose Tattoo (1955), but the role went to Marisa Pavan, her twin sister. MGM lent her to Columbia for Port Afrique (1956). She returned to MGM for Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) as Paul Newman's long-suffering wife (Angeli's former lover, James Dean, was to play the starring role, which went to Newman after Dean's death). She then appeared in The Vintage (1957) and finished her MGM contract in Merry Andrew (1958).

During the 1960s and until 1970, Angeli lived and worked in Britain and Europe, and was often screen-credited under her birth name, Anna Maria Pierangeli. Her performance in The Angry Silence (1960) was nominated for a Best Foreign Actress BAFTA, and she was reunited with Stewart Granger for Sodom and Gomorrah (1963), in which she played Lot's wife. She had a brief role in the war epic Battle of the Bulge (1965). Angeli worked in Israel, and was top-billed, for Every Bastard a King (1968), about events during the Arab-Israeli Six-Day War the previous year.

Personal life and death[edit]

Armando Trovajoli and Pier Angeli on their wedding day, London, 14 February 1962

According to Kirk Douglas' autobiography, he and Angeli were engaged in the 1950s after meeting on the set of the film The Story of Three Loves (1953).[2] Angeli also had a passionate romantic relationship with James Dean. Much against her will, she was forced to break it off because her mother was not happy with their relationship as Dean was not Catholic.[citation needed]

Angeli was married to singer and actor Vic Damone from 1954 to 1958.[3] It was reported that Dean had watched the wedding from across the road on his motorcycle, even gunning the engine during the ceremony, although Dean later denied doing anything so "dumb".[citation needed] During their marriage, they appeared as guests on the June 17, 1956 episode of What's My Line?.[4] She had one son with Vic Damone; their divorce was followed by highly publicized court battles for the custody of their only child, son Perry (1955–2014).

Angeli next married Italian composer Armando Trovajoli in 1962 with whom she had another son, Howard, in 1963. She and Trovajoli separated in 1969.[5]

In 1971, Angeli made her last film. Titled "Octaman", it was considered the worst film of her career.[citation needed]

On September 10, 1971, at the age of 39, Angeli was found dead of a barbiturate overdose at her home in Beverly Hills. On the day of her death, Angeli had been given an injection of Compazine by her doctor.[why?] Death due to anaphylaxis has been suggested; however, it is not supported by the findings of her autopsy.[1][6][7] She is interred in the Cimetière des Bulvis in Rueil-Malmaison, Hauts-de-Seine, France.

Portrayals in popular culture[edit]

Angeli was portrayed by Valentina Cervi in the 2001 TV movie James Dean, which depicted her relationship with Dean. In 2015, she was portrayed by Alessandra Mastronardi in the James Dean biopic Life.


Year Title Role Notes
1950 Domani è troppo tardi Mirella English title: Tomorrow Is Too Late
1951 Tomorrow Is Another Day Luisa
1951 Teresa Teresa Russo
1952 The Light Touch Anna Vasarri
1952 The Devil Makes Three Wilhelmina (Willie) Lehrt
1952 The Million Dollar Nickel Herself Short subject
1953 The Story of Three Loves Nina Burkhardt (segment "Equilibrium")
1953 Sombrero Eufemia Calderon
1954 Mam'zelle Nitouche Denise de Flavigny / Nitouche Alternative titles: Oh No, Mam'zelle
1954 Flame and the Flesh Lisa
1954 The Silver Chalice Deborra
1956 Meet Me in Las Vegas Herself Cameo, Uncredited
1956 Somebody Up There Likes Me Norma
1956 Port Afrique Ynez
1957 The Vintage Lucienne
1958 Merry Andrew Selena Gallini
1959 SOS Pacific Teresa Alternative title: S.O.S. Pacific
1960 The Angry Silence Anna Curtis
1960 Estoril y sus fiestas Herself Short subject
1961 L'ammutinamento Polly English title: White Slave Ship
Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1962 The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah Ildith Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1962 I moschettieri del mare Consuelo / Gracia English title: Musketeers of the Sea
1964 Banco à Bangkok pour OSS 117 Lila Sinn English titles: Panic in Bangkok
Shadow of Evil
1965 Berlino – Appuntamento per le spie Paula Krauss English title: Berlin, Appointment for the Spies
1965 Battle of the Bulge Louise
1966 Missione mortale Molo 83 Hélène Blanchard English title: M.M.M. 83
1966 Per mille dollari al giorno Betty Benson English title: For One Thousand Dollars Per Day
Credited as Annamaria Pierangeli
1966 Caccia ai violenti Ann Peterson English title: One Step to Hell
1968 Red Roses for the Fuhrer Marie English title: Red Roses for the Führer
Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1968 Kol Mamzer Melech Eileen English title: Every Bastard a King
1969 Cry Chicago Bambi Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1969 Addio, Alexandra Alexandra Alternative title: Love Me, Love My Wife
Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1970 Nelle pieghe della carne Falesse / Ester English title: In the Folds of the Flesh
Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1970 Quell'amore particolare Cecilia Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1971 Octaman Susan Lowry (final film role)
Year Title Role Notes
1958 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Bernadette Soubirous 1 episode

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Title of work Result
1951 Nastro d'Argento Best Actress (Migliore Attrice) Domani è troppo tardi Won
1952 Golden Globe Award New Star Of The Year Actress Teresa Won
1955 Golden Globe Award World Film Favorite – Female Nominated
1961 BAFTA Awards Best Foreign Actress The Angry Silence Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d Allen, Jane (28 October 2002). Pier Angeli: A Fragile Life. McFarland & Company. p. 6, 16, 17, Appendix:Drugs. ISBN 978-0786413928.
  2. ^ Douglas, Kirk (1989). The Ragman's Son: An Autobiography. G.K. Hall. pp. 35, 174, 187, 202. ISBN 0-8161-4795-7.
  3. ^ Donnelley, Paul (2003). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries. Omnibus. p. 55. ISBN 0-7119-9512-5.
  4. ^ What's My Line? - Arthur Murray; Pier Angeli & Vic Damone; Paul Winchell (panel) (Jun 17, 1956)
  5. ^ Vivarelli, Nick (3 March 2013). "Italo Composer Armando Trovajoli Dies at 95". Variety.com. Variety Media LLC. Retrieved 6 July 2021.
  6. ^ Crivello, Kirk (1988). Fallen Angels: The Lives and Untimely Deaths of Fourteen Hollywood Beauties. Citadel Press. pp. 277. ISBN 0-8065-1096-X.
  7. ^ Frascella, Lawrence; Weisel, Al (2005). Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause. Simon and Schuster. p. 180. ISBN 0-7432-9118-2.

External links[edit]