- Category : Actor
- Type : MGP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Maya 2
Lino Ventura (14 July 1919 – 22 October 1987) was an Italian actor who starred in French movies.
Life and career
Born as Angiolino Giuseppe Pasquale Ventura in Parma, Italy to Giovanni Ventura and Luisa Borrini, "Lino" dropped out of school at the age of eight and later took on a variety of jobs. At one point Ventura was pursuing a prizefighting and professional wrestling career but had to end it because of an injury.
In 1953, totally by happenstance, one of his friends mentioned him to Jacques Becker who was looking for an Italian actor to play opposite Jean Gabin in a gangster movie called Touchez pas au grisbi. Becker offered him on the spot the role of Angelo, that Ventura refused at first but then accepted. He has such a presence in the movie that the whole profession took notice.
Ventura started to build up an acting career in similar hard-boiled gangster movies, often playing beside his friend Jean Gabin. A couple of his most famous roles include the portrait of corrupt police chief Tiger Brown in 1963's The Threepenny Opera and mob boss Vito Genovese in The Valachi Papers.
Although he was Italian, he only made a handful of films in his native language, among them The Last Judgement (Il giudizio universale, 1961), Illustrious Corpses (Cadaveri eccellenti, 1976) and Cento Giorni a Palermo (1983), long used to seeing him dubbed into Italian from the original French release.
Ventura remained active until the year before his death from a heart attack in 1987 at the age of 68. Having a handicapped daughter himself, he created a charitable foundation, Perce-Neige (Snowdrop), in 1966, which supports handicapped people.
Throughout his career, he was one of the most popular actors of French cinema. He spoke French without any accent (if not a Parisian one, in the beginning) and spoke Italian with a slight French accent, having arrived in France at the age of 7 years. Forcibly incorporated into the Italian army during World War II, he deserted to remain faithful to the principles of France. But, although his wife and four children were French, he never wanted to give up Italian citizenship, out of respect for his parents. Despite this, he was ranked 23rd of the 100 greatest Frenchmen, 17 years after his death.