Italian film icon Monica Vitti dies aged 90

3. Monica Vitti
Italian actress Monica Vitti acting in a scene of the film L’Eclipse (L’Eclisse) directed by Michelangelo Antonioni in 1962. (File photo: AFP)
ROME — Italian actress Monica Vitti, best known for her starring roles in films by Michelangelo Antonioni, has died aged 90, the culture ministry said Wednesday.اضافة اعلان

“Goodbye Monica Vitti, goodbye queen of Italian cinema. Today is a truly sad day, we have lost a great artist and a great Italian,” Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said in a statement.

Vitti shot to international fame with the 1960 drama “L’Avventura” (“The Adventure”) in which she plays a tormented woman who dallies with the lover of her missing friend.

Born in Rome on November 3, 1931, Vitti — real name Maria Luisa Ceciarelli — discovered her passion for the theatre during World War Two, when she entertained her family with puppets to relieve boredom.

“As the bombs fell, when we had to take refuge in the shelters, my little brother and I would improvise little plays to entertain those around us,” she later recounted.

After graduating from Rome’s National Academy of Dramatic Arts in 1953, she began her career in the theatre, revealing a natural comic talent.

Vitti — who stood out from Italian contemporaries such as Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida for her freckles and mane of blond hair — was eventually spotted by Antonioni, with whom she quickly developed an artistic and sentimental relationship.

“I was lucky enough to start my career with a man of great talent”, but who was also “spiritual, full of life and enthusiasm”, Vitti said in an interview on Italian television in 1982.

‘Wit, talent’

Working in dozens of films throughout the 60s and 70s, Vitti’s output slowed the following decade, although she collaborated again with Antonioni in 1980 for “The Mystery of Oberwald”.

Former Italian culture minister Walter Veltroni broke the news of Vitti’s death with a tweet. He said he had been asked to do so by Roberto Russo, Vitti’s husband, and expressed his “pain, affection and regret”.

The actress, who had been suffering from a degenerative disease, had withdrawn from public life in recent years.

Vitti’s death drew accolades across the spectrum of Italian society, with Prime Minister Mario Draghi saying Vitti “made Italian cinema shine around the world”.

“An actress of great wit and extraordinary talent, she conquered generations of Italians with her spirit, her bravura, her beauty,” Draghi said in a statement.

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