Dino De Laurentiis left home at age 17 to enrol in film school, supporting himself as an actor, extra, propman, or any other job he could get in the film industry. His persistence paid off, and by the time he reached his 20th birthday he already had one produced film under his belt. After serving in the Italian army during World War II, De Laurentiis went back into film production, and in 1946 scored a critical and commercial international hit with Bitter Rice (1949) ("Bitter Rice"). He later married its star, Silvana Mangano. De Laurentiis eventually formed a partnership with producer Carlo Ponti, and the team had a string of hits, including several by director Federico Fellini. After the partnership dissolved, De Laurentiis embarked on a plan to build his own studio facilities, which would enable him to make the kind of massive spectacles he wanted to make. The studio complex, called Dinocitta', eventually was forced to close down due to a combination of hard times in the Italian film industry and a string of flops by De Laurentiis himself. De Laurentiis eventually sold the property to the Italian government and moved his base of production to the United States. He again opened up a film production complex in Wilmington, North Carolina, called DEG Studios, but was eventually forced by economic conditions to sell that, too. De Laurentiis has had some critical successes since his move to the U.S. (Ragtime (1981)), but most of his U.S. productions have been critically lambasted, although several have been commercial successes.