Marcello Mastroianni – Famous Italian Actor

Marcello Mastroianni

Marcello Mastroianni is an actor-epoch of Italian cinema. His image: passionate macho, insecure intellectuals, simple people. His most famous film partners, icons of cinema – Sophia Loren, Catherine Deneuve.

We tell you about the biography, filmography and interesting facts about the life of the great Italian actor:


Marcello Mastroianni was born on September 28, 1924 in the village of Fontana Liri, located high in the Apennine mountains. His parents were Ottorino Mastroianni and Ida Irolle. The family later moved to Turin, where his younger brother Rougiero Mastroianni was born, who also became an actor.

Childhood and youth

His childhood and youth were at the time of Nazi regeme – for a short period of time he had to work in one of the camps, but soon escaped.

The youth of Marcello Mastroianni

The family lived in extreme poverty, sharing one room for four, and there was never enough food. Workaholism inherited from his Jewish mother and inexhaustible optimism inherited from his father saved Marcello during that hard times.

The future actor graduated from trade school and later studied construction and architecture at the University of Rome. Here he met Giulietta Masina, they were playing partners in student performances.

The beginning of Mastroianni's acting career

But Marcello Mastroianni did not consider acting his future profession, he was a diligent student and dreamed of a career as an architect. Leaving in poverty, architecture was very promising for future profits, so that choice was quite reasonable.

The creative path

However, Marcello’s dreams of architecture ended up when, Luchino Visconti a director, first saw him on the stage of the student theater. Mastroianni couldn’t believe that he looks and acts somehow extraordinary. The future idol of millions considered himself to be an ordinary guy: 176 cm in height, with a shapeless nose, puffy lips, and thin arms. But even acting in a student performance he knew already what to do to depict the hero he is acting. He accepted Visconti’s offer, and became an actor in the theater troupe “Eliseo.” But real fame was still far away.

"Days of Love" (1954) - Marina Vlady and Marcello Mastroianni

At first, Mastroianni played roles of “ordinary guys”, playing himself.

The best movie of that period is “Days of Love,” where his partner was a fifteen-year-old Russian actress Marina Vlady. Marcelo, at that time, was in his 23 and was fascinated by the young girl. Marina Vlady was not a beauty, but she knew how to attract men. But, Marina had other plans.

"White Nights" (1957) - Mastroianni and Maria Schell

A significant work of the early period of Mastroianni was the film “White Nights” (Le Notti Bianche) by Luchino Visconti.  Filmed by Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel. Here the actor first played a true melancholic intellectual.

His performance was highly appreciated by Federico Fellini, and so began their fruitful cooperation. It all began with the film “La Dolce Vita,” after which Marchi, as the director called him, became his second “I,” which was especially highlighted in the film “Eight and a Half”.

Mastroianni’s third favorite director was Vittorio de Sica. In his movies Mastroiani played with Sophia Loren.

The films “Marriage Italian Style” (Matrimonio all’italiana) and “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” bribed the critics and the audience a deep sincerity and passion, and are rightly considered an international masterpiece.

“The Italian Lover.”

Marcello Mastroianni’s relationship with women is another story. The glory of the hero-lover embarrassed him immensely, for him affairs weren’t a way to become famous but a natural way of life. The actor did not have the habit of spreading the details of the intimate life. For that his numerous lovers have been particularly grateful to him. None of them he treated badly.

Even Flora Carabella, his lawful wife, whose feelings had long since faded, invariably received flowers from him on every anniversary of their wedding. “The Italian Lover” was credited with a passionate relationship with Sophia Loren, which both denied. They knew how to play passion on the screen, but it was a consequence of their talent, temperament, and professional compatibility.

Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve

The biography of Mastroianni is full of love affairs with a variety of beauties, but the main love of his life came to him only at fifty. His partner in the movie “It only happens to others” becomes Catherine Deneuve. Secrecy and cold beauty attracted aging donzhuana experiencing a break with an American Faye Dunaway. The affair was in full secrecy. The truth came out when Catherine moved into Marcello’s wagon Marcello on pretense of the absence of hot water in hers.

Henceforth Mastroianni lived in two cities: Rome and Paris. A year later, a daughter was born – Chiara Charlotte (Chiarra Charlotte Mastroianni). Happy father had no limits, he ran around Paris, shouting that he had a daughter, and treating passersby with champagne. Marcello Mastroianni already had children, including the legitimate daughter Barbara, but Chiara became his favorite one.

Daughter Chiara was born Catherine Deneuve out of wedlock

The relationship with Catherine was not easy. The actor, for the first time in his life, wanted stability, has repeatedly made her a proposal, persuaded Flora to divorce. But never heard “yes”. Catherine Deneuve was relentless opponent of marriage. She has generously paid attention to their children, Chiara and Christian (her son by Roger Vadim) have always been surrounded by care, but there was no room for Mastroianni in her life. Faithful Flora was always ready to take the prodigal spouse, and he went back to her. Often he would secretly fly to Paris to see Catherine and his daughter, at least from afar.

His last love was the director Anna Maria Tato. They lived in Paris, Mastroianni was already ill with pancreatic cancer, but continued to play. He died on December 19, 1996. Next to him at this time were his two favorite women – Catherine and Chiara.


Sweet Life (La Dolche Vita)

The first joint work of Federico Fellini and Marcello Mastroianni brought world fame to both. The Italian actor’s role as a refined intellectual, disappointed in life, was firmly entrenched, and the expression “sweet life” became commonplace.

Divorzio All’Italiana (Divorzio Italiana)

A violent crime drama, with Mastroianni as the murderer of his wife.

The Night (La notte)

Michelangelo Antonioni’s cult film. The protagonist, a fashionable Milanese writer, experiences a crisis in his relationship with his wife. A movie with explicit scenes and incessant high-pitched dialogues. Awarded the Golden Bear at the Berlin Festival (1961).

Yesterday, today, tomorrow (Leri, oggi, domani)

"Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" (1963) - Mastroianni and Sophia Loren

Three remarkable film novellas written by giants of the 20th century – Eduardo de Filippo, Alberto Moravia, Cesare Zavattini. All three, along with Mastroianni, feature Sophia Loren. The film is full of humor and deep thoughts.

Marriage in Italian (Matrimonio All’Italiana)

One of the best melodramas of world cinematography won millions of hearts. Tangled relationships, secrets, children from different fathers – soap opera techniques look touching and sublime here. The film won a Golden Globe Award.

Sunflowers (Girasoli)

Marcello Mastroianni - "Sunflowers"

A joint Soviet-Italian drama with Sophia Loren and Ludmila Savelyeva. Mastroianni is habitually torn between his two beloved women, this time among Russian landscapes.

It Only Happens to Others (Ça n’arrive qu’aux autres)

A Nadine Trintignant film with Catherine Deneuve. The movie is about parents who lose their daughter and meaning of further existence.

La Grande Abbuffata

A social drama with elements of grotesque directed by Marc Ferreri. The main characters come together to kill themselves by gluttony.

Black Eyes

A film by Nikita Mikhalkov based on Chekhov’s “The Lady with the Dog”. It was awarded the Cannes Film Festival Prize for Best Male Lead.

Interesting Facts

Marcello Mastroianni and Federico Fellini

  1. Mastroianni’s favorite dish was beans in oil. Catherine, who hated cooking, for his sake has mastered more than thirty ways of cooking. The actor believed that Ciara and beans in oil – the best proof of her love.
  2. Already sick with cancer, Mastroianni, his whole life silent about his love affairs, suddenly decided to speak out. The result was a seven-hour monologue, recorded on tape by Anna Maria Tato. The scandal erupted a year after his death, none of the ladies of the “Italian lover” did not want to make public the details of his private life. Flora, Catherine Deneuve, Chiara and Mastroianni’s agent Giovanna Kau accused his last lover of wanting to make money on the actor’s name.
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