Renzo Cesana

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Renzo Cesana
Born (1907-10-30)October 30, 1907
Rome, Italy
Died November 8, 1970(1970-11-08) (aged 63)
Hollywood, California, United States
Cause of death lung cancer
Occupation Actor

Renzo Cesana (30 October 1907, Rome – 8 November 1970, Hollywood, California)[1][2] was an actor, writer, composer, and songwriter most famed for his title role on the American television show The Continental. He was also known as Renato Cesana.

Biography[edit]

Cesana was the grandson of Gian Cesana, publisher of one of Rome's largest daily newspapers.[3] He emigrated to America as a screenwriter in 1929, to adapt Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer "talkies" for Italian audiences.[4][5] After a failed attempt at becoming a film star, he appeared on radio in San Francisco, then became the U.S. advertising director for a prominent Italian wine, eventually opening his own advertising agency.[6] He returned to Italy to co-write and appear in childhood friend Roberto Rossellini's film Stromboli (1950), then returned to America in 1949 to begin a film and television acting career in Hollywood.[7]

In an era when advertisers and advertising agencies played major roles in program creation and sponsorship, Cesana created The Continental as a radio program that he produced, wrote, and starred in for a Los Angeles station in 1951, where it directly followed The Lonesome Gal, in which a female disk jockey talked soothingly to male listeners. After a brief and unsuccessful run, Cesana convinced a local television station to broadcast a video version of The Continental, which was picked up by the CBS television network in 1952.

The program led to a recording contract with Capitol Records, in which the non-singer Cesana would recite the lyrics of romantic songs to a musical accompaniment. For instance, "Walk The Lonesome Night" was a big hit in which Cesana recited the lyrics along with a piano and a theater organ. It was released on the "Ultra-Lounge Vol. 7: The Crime Scene" as an extra track; but it received massive success when it was originally released.

Further reading[edit]

  • "Renzo Cesana", Biography Index. Volume 2. New York: H.W. Wilson Co., 1953.
  • "Renzo Cesana", The ASCAP Biographical Dictionary. Third edition. New York: American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, 1966.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Social Security Death Index.
  2. ^ Ancestry.com. California Death Index, 1940-1997 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2000.
  3. ^ Mark Barron, "They're Asking Continental to Be Wed", The Washington Post, August 9, 1953, p. L5.
  4. ^ Passenger list, S.S. "Vulcania", Port of New York, 19 February 1929.
  5. ^ U.S. Census, 1 April 1930, State of California, County of Los Angeles, enumeration district 1253, p. 14A, family 396.
  6. ^ Mary Desjardins and Mark Williams, "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" In: Susan Merrill Squier (ed.), Communities of the Air, Duke University Press, 2003, p. 272. ISBN 978-0-8223-3095-0.
  7. ^ Passenger list, S.S. Queen Elizabeth, Port of New York, 21 November 1949.

External links[edit]