Tao Ruspoli

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Tao Ruspoli
Tao Ruspoli self portrait.jpg
Ruspoli's self portrait
Born (1975-11-07) 7 November 1975 (age 45)
CitizenshipItaly and United States
OccupationFilmmaker, musician, photographer
(m. 2003; div. 2011)

Prince[1] Tao Ruspoli (/ˈrʊspli/; born 7 November 1975) is an Italian-American filmmaker, photographer, and musician.

Left to right: Tao Ruspoli, Mark Wrathall and Iain Thomson, 2013

Early life[edit]

Ruspoli was born in Bangkok, Thailand, and raised in Rome, Italy, and Los Angeles, California, United States. He is the second son of occasional actor and aristocrat Prince Alessandro Ruspoli, 9th Prince of Cerveteri and Austrian-American actress Debra Berger.[2] He is the older brother of Bartolomeo Ruspoli (born 6 October 1978 in Rome), second husband of oil heiress Aileen Getty. His half-siblings include Francesco Ruspoli, 10th Prince of Cerveteri, Princess Melusine Ruspoli, and Prince Theodoro Ruspoli.[citation needed]

He graduated with a degree in philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley in 1998.[3]


Ruspoli's feature narrative début, Fix, was one of 10 feature films to screen in competition at the 2008 Slamdance Film Festival and soon afterward at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, where Ruspoli was awarded the Heineken Red Star Award for "most innovative and progressive filmmaker". Fix also won the Festival Award for Best Film at the 2008 Brooklyn Film Festival, Vail Film Festival and the 2008 Twin Rivers Media Festival, as well as other prizes at several international festivals.[citation needed]

His most well-known documentaries are Being in the World, an exploration of the real world implications of the philosophical work of Martin Heidegger, and Monogamish starring Dan Savage, Esther Perel and Christopher Ryan. His other films include Just Say Know, a personal discussion of his family's drug addictions, and Flamenco: A Personal Journey, a feature-length documentary about the flamenco way of life as it is lived by Gypsies in the south of Spain. He has directed a number of other short documentaries, including El Cable (also about flamenco), and This Film Needs No Title: A Portrait of Raymond Smullyan, a portrait of the logician, mathematician and concert pianist Raymond Smullyan).[citation needed]

In 2000, Ruspoli founded LAFCO, the Los Angeles Filmmakers Cooperative, which is a bohemian collective of filmmakers and musicians who work out of a converted school bus. Through LAFCO, Ruspoli has produced several films. His producing credits include the feature film Camjackers, which he also acted in and co-edited. Camjackers won the editing award at the 44th Ann Arbor Film Festival.[citation needed]

Tao is an accomplished flamenco guitar player and co-founder of the Bombay Beach Biennale.[citation needed] As of 2021, Tao has been busy raising sixteen baby porcupines, which he calls his “Lil Spikey Boyz” and hopes to one day to train them to line dance.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Ruspoli married actress Olivia Wilde on 7 June 2003 in Washington, Virginia.[5] On 8 February 2011, they announced that they were separating.[6] Wilde filed for divorce in Los Angeles County Superior Court on 3 March 2011, citing "irreconcilable differences".[7] The divorce was finalized on 29 September 2011. Wilde did not seek spousal support, and the pair reached a private agreement on property division.[8]

Since 2009, he has lived and worked in Venice, Los Angeles, as a photographer and filmmaker.[3]


  • Just Say Know (2002) Director, Cinematographer and Film editor
  • This Film Needs No Title: A Portrait of Raymond Smullyan (2004) Director, Cinematographer and Film editor
  • El Cable (2004) Director, Cinematographer, Editor and Film producer
  • Flamenco: A Personal Journey (2005) Director, Cinematographer and Film producer
  • Camjackers (2006) Whack Filmmaker No. 1 and also Film editor and Executive Producer
  • Fix (2008) Writer, Cinematographer, director, and Actor (as Milo)
  • Behind the Wheel (film)|Behind the Wheel (2008) Film director
  • Being in the World (2009) Film director
  • Monogamish (film)|Monogamish (2017) Film director



  1. ^ Note: « The nobiliary tradition and the former nobiliary law system in Italy did not allow a child born out of wedlock to inherit a noble title or a legal status of nobility, even on the basis of a paternal recognition. On this ancestral principle, only the legitimate descendants, so of noble birth, could inherit this status and the affiliated title(s), otherwise the(se) title(s) and/or noble status cannot be claimed and, logically, be transmitted. » (Cf. the titles and courtesy titles of the Nobility of Italy).
  2. ^ "Obituaries: Prince Dado Ruspoli". The Daily Telegraph. 15 January 2005. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b West, Kevin (April 2009). "Celluloid Prince". W magazine. Archived from the original on 21 March 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Tao Ruspoli Lately". News of the World. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  5. ^ Rizzo, Monica (12 November 2007). "Olivia Wilde". People Magazine. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  6. ^ Jordan, Julie (8 February 2011). "Olivia Wilde Separates from Husband Tao Ruspoli". People Magazine. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  7. ^ Gopalan, Nisha (11 March 2011). "Olivia Wilde Divorces Tao Ruspoli". People Magazine. Retrieved 21 March 2017.
  8. ^ Fleeman, Mike (3 October 2011). "Olivia Wilde Divorce Finalized". People Magazine. Retrieved 21 March 2017.

External links[edit]