Franco Nero Poster


Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (12)  | Personal Quotes (7)

Overview (4)

Born in San Prospero Parmense, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
Birth NameFrancesco Clemente Giuseppe Sparanero
Nickname Django
Height 5' 11¼" (1.81 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Blue-eyed and well-built Italian actor in international cinema, Franco Nero, was a painting photographer when he was discovered as an actor by director John Huston. He has since appeared in more than 200 movies around the world, working with Europe's top directors, such as Luis Buñuel, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Claude Chabrol, Sergey Bondarchuk, Michael Cacoyannis, Elio Petri, Marco Bellocchio, Enzo G. Castellari, among many others.

Nero was born in Parma (Northern Italy), in the family of a strict police sergeant. His inclination for acting had already become obvious in his teenage years, when he began organizing and participating in student plays. After a short stint at a leading theater school, he moved to Rome, where he joined a small group of friends for the purpose of making documentaries. Still unsure of his ultimate vocation, he worked various jobs on the crew. He studied economics and trade in Milan University, and appeared in popular Italian photo-novels. This gave him a chance to gain a little role in Carlo Lizzani's La Celestina P... R... (1965).

A year later, the handsome face of Nero was noticed by Huston, who chose him for the role of "Abel" in The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966) (aka La Bibbia). But success came after he got the role of the lonely gunfighter, dragging a coffin, in one of the best spaghetti-westerns; Sergio Corbucci's Django (1966). Nero then filmed a few other westerns of that style as Ferdinando Baldi's Texas, Adios (1966) and Lucio Fulci's The Brute and the Beast (1966).

In 1967, Joshua Logan cast him in the film version of the musical Camelot (1967) (Warner Bros.), opposite Vanessa Redgrave, for which he was nominated for a Golden Globe award. During filming of Camelot, he met actress Vanessa Redgrave, who become his long-time partner (they married decades later). He played with Catherine Deneuve in Luis Buñuel's Tristana (1970) and was directed by Sergey Bondarchuk in the war drama The Battle of Neretva (1969). Later, director Bondarchuk cast Nero for the role of famous American reporter "John Reed" in two-part "Krasnye kolokola II" (1982). In the late 60s and during the 70s, Nero played many different roles, but most of them connected with political and criminal genre, which criticized the Italian justice system.

In the early 80s, Nero was chosen for the role of the white ninja, "Cole", in Enter the Ninja (1981) and in 1990 as terrorist "Gen. Esperanza", opposite Bruce Willis, in Renny Harlin's Die Hard 2 (1990). He has also payed the roles of leading national heroes, such as "Garibaldi" (Italy), "Arpad" (Hungary), and "Banovic Strahinja" (Yugoslavia). In the USA, he has been in successful mini-series, such as "The Pirate" (Warner Bros), "The Last Days of Pompeii" (CBS), "Young Catherine" (TNT), "Bella Mafia" (CBS), "The Painted Lady", "Saint Augustine", and movies such as "The Legend of Valentino", "21 Hours to Munich", "Force 10 from Navarone", "Enter the Ninja", "The Versace Murder", and Letters to Juliet (2010).

He worked with the top European directors from Carlo Lizzani, Damiano Damiani, Luigi Zampa, Luis Buñuel, Elio Petri, Michael Cacoyannis, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Claude Chabrol, 'Vatroslav Mimica', Marco Bellocchio, etc. At the beginning of the 80s, he also began producing, writing and directing. Between films, he participates in various theatrical events.

Apart from his cinematographic work, Nero also works for charitable organizations. Over the last 45 years, he has been a benefactor of the Don Bosco orphanage in Tivoli. He has received many awards and, in 1992 for his artistic merits, a knighthood of the Italian Republic was bestowed on him by the President of Italy. In 2011, he was honored by Brunel University of London with the honorary degree of doctor of Letters honoris causa and, in Toronto, with a star on the Walk of Fame.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tzvetislav Samardjiev and Srdjan Mitrovic

Spouse (1)

Vanessa Redgrave (31 December 2006 - present) ( 1 child)

Trivia (12)

Father, with Vanessa Redgrave, of Carlo Gabriel Nero. Grandfather of Raphael (b. 1995) and Lilli (b. 2004).
His luggage always includes a suitcase filled with medicines.
Gave away Natasha Richardson at her wedding to Liam Neeson.
Stepfather of Joely Richardson and the late Natasha Richardson.
Son-in-law of Sir Michael Redgrave and Rachel Kempson. Brother-in-law of Lynn Redgrave and Corin Redgrave.
Father-in-law of Jennifer Wiltsie.
His appearance with wife-to-be Vanessa Redgrave in Uninvited (1999), marked the only time the couple were directed by their only son Carlo Gabriel Nero.
A popular (though incorrect) urban legend in Europe is that Sergio Corbucci discovered Nero for the leading role of Django (1966) while the latter was working the pumps at a gas station. Nero had, in fact, appeared in several films (though never in a leading role) before he was cast.
In December 1987, a 26-year-old Colombian woman named Mauricia Mena filed a paternity suit against Nero claiming the actor was the father of her three-week old son. Nero admitted being friends with Mena, a cook with the family where he was staying in Cartagena while filming Django Strikes Again (1987), but denied they had a sexual relationship.
Dated Catherine Deneuve, Goldie Hawn and Ursula Andress in the seventies.
The February 6, 1985, issue of Variety announced the film "Ombre sul ponte" (English title "Shadow on the Bridge") would begin filming in March 1985, with director Ruggero Deodato, starring Franco Nero, Patrick Wayne, Lisa Blount, and Eli Wallach. No evidence the film was ever made or released.
His singing in Camelot was dubbed by Gene Merlino of the group The Mellomen.

Personal Quotes (7)

[interview in Toronto Globe and Mail, 11/12/1982] I would speak to Vanessa's [Vanessa Redgrave] father [Sir Michael Redgrave], or Laurence Olivier or John Gielgud, and they told me that, at a certain point, I had to make a choice. I could be a star and maybe make lots of money, or I could change roles all the time and have a more interesting--and longer--career. People will criticize you, they said, but if you keep changing, you'll win in the end.
on 11/27/1978] I was working as a set photographer on [Dino De Laurentiis'] The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966). Director John Huston had seen a photo of me and said, "That's the face I want".
[to L.A. Times columnist Roderick Mann] If you're a big Hollywood star, you make one movie a year at the most. I can make five in Europe.
[on his two-month stint at acting school] They wanted to *teach* me to act. But to act is natural. It is ten percent acting and ninety percent being smart.
I am the busiest actor. Why? Because an actor either decides he wants to be a star and play the same role over and over, or be an actor and change all the time.
[to Tomas Milian after being asked why he was wearing heavy make-up for Companeros (1970)] You know why? Because when I am very old, when I am fifty, the audience will always see me in the same way. I will look like I never aged because I'm going to be an actor forever.
[on the cultural impact of Django (1966)] I had no idea it would turn out to be so special. It wasn't just a success; it was a phenomenon. Everywhere I go people shout "Django" at me. Even today, as I am working in Brazil, kids call me Django. In Japan, they won't even put my name on movie posters, they put "Django". In Germany, they call all my movies "Django"; I did a great movie about the Sicilian mafia [Mafia (1968)] and they called it "Django in the Mafia". [The Shark Hunter (1979)] they called "Django Django". They say: "Well, it's your problem."

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