More Roberto Benigni Bios & Profiles
Biography #2 (for Pinocchio)Roberto Benigni wrote, directed and starred in Life Is Beautiful, a fable about the power of love and imagination set against World War II Europe, which won seven Oscar nominations and two Academy Awards including the Best Actor award for Benigni and Best Foreign Film. Before that, Benigni was known around the world for his Chaplinesque comedies, characterized by his high spirits, unbridled invention and unique style of slapstick humor.
Benigni was born to a family of farmers in Misericordia, Tuscany and grew up poor. Unable to attend school, his first job was working in a circus as the magician's assistant. In 1972 he moved to Rome where he made his theatrical debut in a play directed by Giuseppe Bertolucci. He then gained fame in Italy in his own popular TV series and made his feature debut in I Love You Berlinger, also directed by Giuseppe Bertolucci. Benigni went on to star in many of the biggest box-office hits in Italy's history. In 1990, he starred in Federico Fellini's Voice of the Moon and it was then that Fellini told Benigni he envisioned him starring in a new version of the classic fairy tale PINOCCHIO.
American filmgoers saw Benigni star with Walter Matthau in Little Devils, which Benigni wrote, directed and costarred in. He also gave memorable performances in Jim Jarmusch's offbeat comedies Down By Law and Night on Earth as well as appearing Wim Wenders' Faraway, So Close. In 1991, Benigni won international acclaim in Johnny Stecchino, a comic gangster caper which he also co-wrote and directed. He then was cast by Blake Edwards as the son of Inspector Clouseau in Son of the Pink Panther before returning to Italy to make The Monster, which he again wrote, directed and starred in. He was last seen starring in Claude Zidi's adventure Asterix and Obelix Take on Caesar, based on the children's comic book, with Gerard Depardieu.
Bio courtesy Miramax for "Pinocchio" (01-Jan-2003)