Ugo Tognazzi Poster


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Overview (4)

Born in Cremona, Lombardy, Italy
Died in Rome, Lazio, Italy  (cerebral hemorrhage)
Birth NameOttavio Tognazzi
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Despite his many superb performances accumulated over a four-decade stretch (and I do mean many), this virile, mustachioed, stocky-framed Italian character star will be forever cherished if only for his one classic comedy role, that of slightly mincing gay cabaret owner Renato Baldi in La Cage aux Folles (1978), one of the biggest cross-over foreign hits to ever land on American soil. Born in Cremona, Italy, on March 23, 1922, by the time he was a teen he was a bookkeeper for a salami factory and performed in local amateur theatricals on the sly. Appearing on the stage, he finally found an entry into films at age 28 in 1950. He built a solid resume in primarily Neopolitan features and became a middle-aged European star the following decade. Turning in a number of powerhouse character studies, he excelled as bon vivants, adulterous husbands and other suave gents in farcical comedy and saucy, sardonic romps, particularly those of director/writer Marco Ferreri, yet demonstrated remarkable range when it came to portraying world-weary protagonists in political drama or grim satire. For Ferreri alone he appeared in the award-winning The Conjugal Bed (1963) [The Conjugal Bed]; Controsesso (1964) [Countersex]; Marcia nuziale (1966) [The Wedding March]; L'udienza (1972) [The Audience] and the masterful La grande bouffe (1973), among others.

For whatever reason, he decided to take a chance and co-star with the wonderful Michel Serrault in an image-shattering part in 1978. What he did was experience the most popular role of his career as one-half of an aging homosexual couple who operate a drag club. "La Cage Aux Folles" went on to spawn two sequels and an American remake. Tognazzi won several acting honors over the course of his long career and, in 1981, capped it off with the Cannes Film Festival award for his trenchant performance in Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man (1981) [Tragedy of a Ridiculous Man], the tale of a near-bankrupt factory owner who attempts to use the kidnapping of his son (played by his real-life eldest son Ricky Tognazzi) to his financial advantage. Although he directed a handful of his own films, some of them explicitly sexual in nature, he achieved his true brilliance in the works of other famed European directors, notably Ferrari, Bertolucci, Risi, Molinaro and Monicelli. Tognazzi was also the father of actor Gianmarco Tognazzi and director Maria Sole Tognazzi, and had another son, producer/writer Thomas Robsahm, via a relationship with actress Margrete Robsahm. In 1972, at age 50, Tognazzi wed actress Franca Bettoia, who survives him. He died of a brain hemorrhage in 1990 at age 68.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Franca Bettoia (19 August 1972 - 27 October 1990) (his death) (2 children)
Margrete Robsahm (1963 - ?) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (10)

Formed a successful comical duo with Raimondo Vianello for the new-born Italian television in the 1950s.
Spent his youth in various localities as his father was a traveler clerk for an insurance company.
Is buried in the Cimitero Monumentale in Velletri, Italy.
Was also a respected gourmet and cook in Italy.
At the end of the 70s, the satirical magazine "Il Male" published the astonishing article of the arrest of Ugo Tognazzi as the leader of terroristic group "Red Brigades". In the photos, two policemen were taking an angry Tognazzi out of his house. But it was only a joke organized by the staff of the magazine with the help of the actor.
Father of actor/director Ricky Tognazzi with Pat O'Hara, producer/director Thomas Robsahm with Margrete Robsahm, actor Gianmarco Tognazzi and director Maria Sole Tognazzi with Franca Bettoia.
Father-in-law of Simona Izzo and Valeria Pintore. Grandfather of Sarah Tognazzi (Ricky's daughter), Andrea Viola and Tommaso Ugo (Gianmarco's children), Mia Maria, Abel, Anton and Milla (Thomas's children).
Joined the army of the Italian Social Republic of Salò. After the end of the war, he spent a few months in prison for collaborating with the fascist regime.
Former father-in-law of Flavia Toso (Ricky's first wife).
Former brother-in-law of Fred Robsahm and Agostina Belli.

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