Gigi Proietti was one of the most appreciated comic actors in our country. Gifted with a unique charisma that has allowed him to establish himself not only in the theater, but also in the cinema and on television. Born as a cabaret artist, he already achieved enormous success in the sixties, before entering the circle of the best Italian theater actors by right.
- The beginnings
- The success of the great Gigi Proietti
- The death
- Film Gigi Proietti
Gigi Proietti was born in Rome on November 2, 1940, son of Romano Proietti and housewife Giovanna Ceci, and lived the first months of his life in a house in via di sant’Eligio in Rome.
After graduating from the “Augusto” State High School in Rome, Gigi Proietti approaches the theater during his university studies (he studied Law). One of the first relevant experiences takes place thanks to the teachings of Giancarlo Cobelli: he made his debut in 1963 at the Arlecchino in Rome, with the Can-Can of the Italians (directed by Cobelli himself).
It will be the beginning of a very intense theatrical career: in the space of a few years, in fact, he devoted himself in a very relevant way to the theater.
First he remains engaged in “ La Caserma delle Fate ”, then he plays in Aristophanes’s “ Birds ”, then in Romulus the Great with Mario Scaccia. With Paolo Stoppa he plays in ” The merchant of Venice “, an opera by Shakespeare. Slowly he manages to cultivate his passion for music and even for dubbing. Seen as one of the most promising young theater actors on the Italian scene, he is chosen for his very particular vocal timbre: he will be able to be chosen for dubbing in very important films such as Camelot, Who is afraid of Virginia Wolf, Lenny, Rocky, Casanova , Casino, up to even successful animated cartoons, such as Aladdinof Walt Disney (where he voiced the genie of the lamp).
The success of the great Gigi Proietti
It didn’t take Proietti a long time to be appreciated, especially with regards to his theatrical works. Between 1968 and 1969 he became director, at a very young age, of the Teatro Stabile dell’Aquila, where he worked as a protagonist in Alberto Moravia’s Dio Kurt . It is a very complex text that is particularly sought after for its dialectical depth. Thanks to this work, which he took on several tours, Gigi manages to get several prizes, including the Saint Vincent prize.
At the same time, he begins to work in the cinema: he manages to act in films of considerable importance, such as Brancaleone alle Crociate by Mario Monicelli, in the company of Vittorio Gassmann and Bubu di Montparnasse, by Bolognini. In 1973 he acted, however, together with Monica Vitti, in La Tosca by Luigi Magni, where he played Cavaradossi.
Probably the greatest success , which will make him make the real turning point, will arrive in 1976, thanks to the show that has become a real cult ” A me gli glicchi please “. It was staged at the Tenda Theater in Rome.
The work is revived over the years, up to 2000, and records a real record of attendance (about 500,000 in total). From there began a series of very important activities such as Cirano, The Seven Kings of Rome, Caro Petrolini and others. In particular, shortly after the success of that unique show, he manages to become the artistic director of the very important Brancaccio Theater in Rome. During the period he also devoted himself a lot to directing the works that were then included in the schedule.
But not only cinema and theater, because Gigi Proietti also dedicates himself to some television experiences (in particular between the end of the sixties and the beginning of the seventies). To remember and the drama The Pickwick Circle , directed by Ugo Gregoretti.
At the end of the seventies he conceived the workshop of scenic exercises, where various actors made their appearance who then established themselves at national level: among these, we remember Enrico Brignano, Giorgio Tirabassi, Flavio Insinna, Gabriele Cirilli, Francesca Reggiani and many others .
As mentioned, the Roman actor also achieves great notoriety and success in the cinema , thanks to several films that have remained in the collective imagination. In particular, we recall The property is no longer a theft , by Elio Petri (1973); The legacy of Ferramonti, from 1976, where he plays alongside a great Anthony Quinn and Casotto (1977) with Ugo Tognazzi and a very young Jodie Foster.
The Roman actor works with internationally renowned directors, such as Sidney Lumet, Altman and Kotcheff, although the main film success is linked to Steno’s comedy, Febbre Da Cavallo (1976). Here, Proietti played Mandrake’s character , Bruno Fioretti, an inveterate gambler who in fact never manages to win a bet.
It is a comedy that at first did not collect a very significant success, indeed it was also quite targeted by film critics, but it is re-appreciated over the years and today it is considered a real cult , a small comic and famous masterpiece. Italian comedy .
Despite the great success, especially over the years, Proietti’s career in the cinema has not taken off as one might think. Instead, the television career takes off. Already in the nineties, he began to work in some highly sought-after TV series, such as A son in the middle, Italian Restaurant, Maresciallo Rocca. The success of this TV series was truly exceptional: with the last episode, the record of 16 million spectators was reached. At the end of the nineties he then worked on another TV series, L’avvocato Porta . But not only. He also devoted himself to poetry, with the works of Trilussa, Belli and Petrolini and composed several sonnets which were then published over the years.
He continues his television career with success, even becoming a judge in a talent show, “The track”, conducted by Flavio Insinna, and also participating in the fifth edition of Tale e what show , hosted by Carlo Conti, also here as a judge.
In 2018 he works as a storyteller in the cultural program “Ulysses-the pleasure of discovery”.
One of the latest works of great importance was certainly the return to the cinema with Pinocchio by Matteo Garrone , where he plays the character of Mangiafuoco very well.
Gigi Proietti dies at the age of eighty on November 2, 2020, on his birthday.
If we mention his private life, the actor was romantically linked to Sagitta Alter, with whom he never married, but with whom he formed a bond that lasted almost sixty years. He leaves two daughters, Susanna and Carlotta, who are also actresses.
Film Gigi Proietti
What are the films in which Gigi Proietti has participated? Let’s see them here, in alphabetical order:
- If you will allow us to talk about women, directed by Ettore Scola (1964) – uncredited
- The pleasant nights, directed by Armando Crispino and Luciano Lucignani (1966)
- The Bersagliere Girl, by Alessandro Blasetti (1967)
- The Unleashed, by Franco Indovina (1967)
- L’urlo, by Tinto Brass (1968)
- The matriarch, directed by Pasquale Festa Campanile (1968)
- A Rather Complicated Girl, by Damiano Damiani (1969)
- The Appointment, by Sidney Lumet (1969)
- Brancaleone at the Crusades, directed by Mario Monicelli (1970)
- Dropout, directed by Tinto Brass (1970)
- Bubu, directed by Mauro Bolognini (1971)
- Mortadella, directed by Mario Monicelli (1971)
- Orders Are Orders, directed by Franco Giraldi (1972)
- Meo Patacca, directed by Marcello Ciorciolini (1972)
- The Tosca, directed by Luigi Magni (1973)
- Property is no longer a theft, directed by Elio Petri (1973)
- Faro da padre, directed by Alberto Lattuada (1974)
- It Is Better to Make Love Well, directed by Pasquale Festa Campanile (1975)
- Bordella, directed by Pupi Avati (1976)
- Papa and maman and Ma do not marry us, episodes from Who says woman says woman, directed by Tonino Cervi (1976)
- The Ferramonti inheritance, directed by Mauro Bolognini (1976)
- Horse Fever, by Steno (1976)
- Languid kisses… perfidious caresses, directed by Alfredo Angeli (1976)
- Casotto, directed by Sergio Citti (1977)
- A Wedding, by Robert Altman (1978)
- Someone is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe (Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?), Directed by Ted Kotcheff (1978)
- Two Pieces of Bread, directed by Sergio Citti (1979)
- I don’t know you anymore, love, directed by Sergio Corbucci (1980)
- From father to son, directed by Alessandro and Vittorio Gassman (1982)
- “FF.SS.” – That is: “… what did you bring me to do above Posillipo if you don’t love me anymore?”, Directed by Renzo Arbore (1983)
- Cause Me, by Steno (1985)
- A Thousand Blue Bubbles, directed by Leone Pompucci (1993) – vocals
- Eloise, the daughter of D’Artagnan (La fille de d’Artagnan), directed by Bertrand Tavernier (1994)
- Dirty Cloths, by Mario Monicelli (1999)
- Who is afraid ?, directed by Guido Manuli (2000) – vocals, uncredited
- Horse fever – La mandrakata, directed by Carlo Vanzina (2002)
- Le jokes, by Carlo Vanzina (2004)
- A summer at the sea, directed by Carlo Vanzina (2008)
- A Summer in the Caribbean, by Carlo Vanzina (2009)
- Life is a Wonderful Thing, directed by Carlo Vanzina (2010)
- All to the sea, directed by Matteo Cerami (2011)
- Erry Sfotter and the age of retirement, episode of Box Office 3D – The film of films, directed by Ezio Greggio (2011)
- Stars, short film, directed by Yann Renzi (2012) – vocals
- Guess who’s coming at Christmas ?, directed by Fausto Brizzi (2013)
- But tu di che sign 6?, Directed by Neri Parenti (2014)
- The award, directed by Alessandro Gassmann (2017)
- Pinocchio, directed by Matteo Garrone (2019)
- I am Santa Claus, directed by Edoardo Falcone (2020) – posthumously