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Anna Magnani Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (23) | Personal Quotes (1)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 7 March 1908Rome, Lazio, Italy
Date of Death 26 September 1973Rome, Lazio, Italy  (pancreatic cancer)
Nicknames La Magnani
Nannarella
Height 5' 3" (1.6 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Anna Magnani was born in Rome, Italy (not in Egypt, as some biographies claim), on March 7, 1908. She was the illegitimate child of Marina Magnani and an unknown father, often said to be from Alexandria, Egypt, but whom Anna herself claimed was from the Calabria region of Italy although she never knew his name. Raised in poverty by her maternal grandmother in Rome after her mother left her, Anna worked her way through Rome's Academy of Dramatic Art by singing in cabarets and nightclubs, then began touring the countryside with small repertory companies. Although she had a small role in a silent film in the late 1920s, she was not known as a film actress until 1941's _Teresa Venerdì(1941)_, directed by Vittorio De Sica. Her breakthrough film was Roberto Rossellini's Rome, Open City (1945) (aka Open City), generally regarded as the first commercially successful Italian neo-realist film of the postwar years and the one that won her an international reputation. From then on, she didn't stop working in films and television, winning an Academy Award for her performance in the screen version of Tennessee Williams' The Rose Tattoo (1955), a part that was written for her by her close friend Williams. She worked with all of Italy's leading directors of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. She was renowned for her earthy, passionate, woman-of-the-soil roles. She and Rossellini were lovers for some years after Open City, until he began his infamous affair with Ingrid Bergman. Anna had one child out of wedlock by Italian actor Massimo Serato. The boy was later stricken with polio and Anna dedicated her life to caring for him. Her one marriage, to Italian director Goffredo Alessandrini in the mid-'30s, lasted only a short while and ended in an annulment. Her last film was Federico Fellini's Roma (1972). She died in Rome of a pancreatic tumor the next year.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Norman Powers <normpowers@worldnet.att.net>

Spouse (1)

Goffredo Alessandrini (1933 - 1950)

Trivia (23)

Tennessee Williams, after meeting her, said, "I never saw a more beautiful woman, enormous eyes, skin the color of Devonshire cream.".
Her beloved son Luca was the result of a brief affair with Italian matinée idol Massimo Serato.
Her friendship with Tennessee Williams was the subject of an Off-Broadway play in New York, Roman Nights, by Franco D'Alessandro, which starred Franca Barchiesi as Magnani and Roy Miller as Williams. A film adaptation is in the works.
Convinced that she would never win the Oscar for The Rose Tattoo (1955), she didn't attend the ceremony. The reporter who woke her out of a sound sleep in Rome to give her the news had a difficult time convincing her he wasn't kidding. "You're lying," Magnini supposedly said. "If this is a joke, I'll kill you!".
Grandmother of Italian actress Olivia Magnani.
Tennessee Williams wrote the role of Serafina in his play, The Rose Tattoo, for Anna, but her English skills were too limited to appear in the 1951 Broadway production. Instead, Maureen Stapleton played the role to great acclaim. Stapleton also would originate the role of Lady Torrance in Williams' Orpheus Descending, a role Magnani also would later play on film.
Is portrayed by Lina Sastri in Celluloid (1996)
Her Italian mother Marina was a seamstress. Her father was Egyptian. While she briefly lived in Egypt as an infant she was raised by her grandparents in Rome, where she was born.
Sent to a convent school at the age of 7 where she learned French. She also was brought up musically, had a deep singing voice and could play the piano and guitar.
Was extremely superstitious and claimed she was clairvoyant. She also smoked cigars.
Her 1933 marriage to director Goffredo Alessandrini ended in 1940 but it was until 1950 that the marriage was annulled.
Her son, Luca, the product of a torrid affair with actor Massimo Serato, was a victim of infantile polio and Anna sent him to a Swiss clinic for treatments. Although he could walk with braces, most of his life was spent in a wheelchair. She was awarded Italy's Golden Violet Award as an exemplary mother for her devotion.
Had an extremely tempestuous relationship with Roberto Rossellini beginning in 1944 and ended when he deserted her for Ingrid Bergman. She was known to have hurled crockery at him during their volatile times. In describing her, he reportedly stated that, "She was born carrying her liver in her teeth".
Tennessee Williams wrote his play "The Rose Tattoo" with Anna in mind. She was offered the lead but turned it down because she felt her command of the English language was not strong enough for the demanding role of Serafina Delle Rose. Maureen Stapleton was critically acclaimed for her stage role. Anna, however, did accept the screen version when it was offered and won the Oscar, Golden Globe and New York Film Critics awards, among others.
A well-known hypochondriac, she constantly kept a thermometer close by in order to check her temperature.
She was inconsolable after discovering she had pancreatic cancer. Her son Luca and director Roberto Rossellini, her one-time director and paramour, were at her beside at the time of her death in 1973. She was laid to rest in the Rossellini family vault.
She and Roberto Rossellini always remained friends.
Burt Lancaster considered Magnani the greatest actress he ever worked with.
Helen Mirren named Anna as her acting idol.
As Vittorio De Sica was very eager to work with her, he originally cast her as Cesira in Two Women (1960), with 25-year-old Sophia Loren playing her shy 13-year-old daughter, Rosetta. However Magnani felt that the age gap between Loren and her character was too big to be overlooked and suggested that she play Cesira instead, otherwise the film would have been unconvincing. Loren then went on to play Cesira (with 12-year-old Eleonora Brown in the role of Rosetta) and won an Academy Award for her performance.
Is one of 3 Italian actors to have won an Academy Award; the others are Sophia Loren and Roberto Benigni.
Is one of 14 Best Actress Oscar winners to have not accepted their Academy Award in person, Magnani's being for The Rose Tattoo (1955). The others are Katharine Hepburn, Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Judy Holliday, Vivien Leigh, Ingrid Bergman, Sophia Loren, Anne Bancroft, Patricia Neal, Elizabeth Taylor, Maggie Smith, Glenda Jackson and Ellen Burstyn.
Was the 44th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for The Rose Tattoo (1955) at The 28th Annual Academy Awards (1956) on March 21, 1956.

Personal Quotes (1)

Animals are good, better than humans really, animals do not betray you.

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