When the spaghetti western was born in the early 1960s, some of the Italian lead actors disguised their names under American-sounding ones (though nobody was fooled). Among those competing successfully with bona fide Yanks such as Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef were Terence Hill (born Mario Girotti), Bud Spencer (Carlo Pedersoli) and Montgomery Wood, a temporary pseudonym taken by Giuliano Gemma, who has died in a car accident aged 75.
The strikingly handsome Gemma was one of the brightest stars of the once deprecated, now revered, genre. After five years in sword-and-sandal epics (also known as peplum films), usually supporting muscle men, Gemma made a name for himself (even if, initially, it wasn't his own) in two westerns directed by Duccio Tessari: A Pistol for Ringo (1965) and The Return of Ringo (1965). Their big box-office success granted Gemma stardom and