Silvana Mangano was one of the italian most famous, beautiful and sensual actresses of the post-war italian cinema.
Born in Rome, daughter of Sicilian railroad worker and an English mother from Croydon.
Trained as a dancer, Silvana Mangano was supporting herself as a model when, at 16, she won the Miss Rome beauty pageant. A year later, she became a contestant of Miss Italia. A rich edition which had among the contestants also the actress Lucia Bosé (who won the edition) and several other future stars of Italian cinema such as Gina Lollobrigida, Eleonora Rossi Drago and Gianna Maria Canale.
This led to a movie contract, and began to work as an extra in a few films like Il delitto di Giovanni Episcopo (The murder of Giovanni Episcopo, 1947) by Alberto Lattuada which also appears Gina Lollobrigida.
In the meantime, she followed an acting course where she met Marcello Mastroianni, her first love. A love story that didn’t last long in 1949 Silvana Mangano was chosen for “Bitter Rice” Giuseppe De Santis neo-realist masterpiece, where she met Dino De Laurentiis producer of the movie who later became her husband.
This sensual role gave her international fame. Although she attained stardom, Mangano was never completely comfortable in her role as a screen beauty. She said once: “I never liked myself, neither when I was a roundish girl, nor when I became a slender woman.”
Mangano remained a favorite star between the 1950s and 1970s, appearing in “Anna” (1951) and “The Tempest” (La tempesta, 1958) by Alberto Lattuada
, “The Gold of Naples” (L’oro di Napoli,) “Il Giudizio Universale” (The Universal Judgment 1961) both by Vittorio De Sica
, Ulysses” (Ulisse, 1954), by Mario Camerini, “Mambo” (1955) directed by Robert Rossen, “Men and wolves” (Uomini e lupi,1956) ”The process of Verona” (Il processo di Verona, 1963), directed by Carlo Lizzani
, “The Great War” (La grande Guerra, 1959), by Mario Monicelli, in “Oedipus Rex ” (Edipo re, 1967),”Theorem” (Teorema, 1968) and “The Decameron” (il Decameron, 1971) by Pier Paolo Pasolini
,”Death in Venice ” (Morte a Venezia,1971),”Ludwig” (1972) and “Conversation Piece” (Gruppo di famiglia in un interno, 1974) directed by Luchino Visconti and “The Scientific Cardplayer” (Lo Scopone scientifico, 1972) by Luigi Comencini.
After that, she withdrew from public view, although she emerged in 1983 to play the “Reverend Mother” in David Lynch’s science fiction epic “Dune” produced by Mangano’s daughter Raffaela and to star in “Oci Ciornie” (1987) by Nikita Mikhalkov.
She died in Madrid two years later only 59 years old.
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