Dino De Laurentiis

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Dino De Laurentiis
Dino De Laurentiis
De Laurentiis in 2009
Birthday/Birthplace Agostino De Laurentiis
(1919-08-08)8 August 1919
Torre Annunziata, Campania, Italy
Deceased 10 November 2010(2010-11-10)
Beverly Hills, California
Resting place Cimitero Comunale Torre Annunziata
Profession(s) film producer
Active Years 1938–2010
Wife/Husband Silvana Mangano
(m.1949-div.1988; 4 children)
Martha Schumacher
(m.1990–2010; his death, 2 children)

Agostino “Dino” De Laurentiis (Torre Annunziata, Naples, Italy, August 8, 1919 – Los Angeles, United States, November 11, 2010) was an Italian film producer, internationally recognized for the many successful films in its history.

Some of Italian production have reached the rank of cult film, such as Arroz amargo (1946), La strada (1954) and Las noches de Cabiria (1956), and others created with international teams have been great successes, like Guerra y Paz (1956), Barrabás (1962), Barbarella (1968), Serpico (1973), Conan el Bárbaro (1982), Velvet Blue (1986) and several films of the saga about Hannibal Lecter.

Dino_De_Laurentiis’s Biography

Dino De Laurentis was born in Torre Annunziata, a few kilometers from Naples, and grew up selling the spaghetti produced by his father.

Beginnings in Italy

He left home at seventeen to study film at the Experimental Cinematography Center in Rome, studies that were interrupted by the Second World War. In 1946 he founded his own company: Dino de Laurentiis Cinematográfica.

At the beginning of this year he produced Giuseppe De Santis Bitter Rice (1946), which marked the release of Silvana Mangano. Other notable films were La strada (1954) and Las noches de Cabiria (1954), both by Federico Fellini. He often worked in cooperation with producer Carlo Ponti, husband of Sophia Loren.

In 1949 he married Silvana Mangano, with whom he had four children, remaining married until shortly before her death in December 1989 in Madrid.

In the 1960s he produced two ambitious biblical films: Barabbas (1962) by Richard Fleischer, and The Bible (1966) by John Huston, both with a mixed cast of Italian actors and Hollywood stars. He built his own film studios, but they financially went bankrupt in the next decade. However, De Laurentiis continued to produce more commercial films, such as an imitation of James Bond’s character (Bésame y no mates (1966) – Don tutte le donne del mondo … (Operazione Paradiso)), a spaghetti western with Burt Reynolds (Navajo Joe, 1966), Anzio with Robert Mitchum (1968, set in World War II) and an adaptation of the comic Barbarella (1968) with a young Jane Fonda, Ugo Tognazzi and John Phillip Law.

In the United States

In 1972 the Italian legislation on cinema introduced a detrimental change for Dino De Laurentiis: public subsidies would be reserved for films with entirely national capital. De Laurentiis, who mainly produced films in English and in co-production for the global market, opted to settle in the United States, where he founded the firm De Laurentiis Entertaining Group (DEG) based in Wilmington (North Carolina). This town quickly became one of the most active film and television production centers in the country.

During this period De Laurentiis made a large number of successful and acclaimed films, including: The Scientific Cardplayer (1972) by Luigi Comencini, with Joseph Cotten, Bette Davis, Alberto Sordi and Silvana Mangano; Serpico (1973) with Al Pacino; Desire to Murder (1974), Mandingo (1975) by Richard Fleischer, with James Mason, Perry King and Susan George; The Three Days of the Condor (1975), The Egg of the Serpent (1977) by Ingmar Bergman and Ragtime (1981) by Milos Forman, which was one of the last works of the veteran James Cagney.

The name De Laurentiis became popular with his more commercial productions, which made his signature synonymous with fun: the King Kong version of 1976 with Jessica Lange; Orca, the killer whale (1977) with Richard Harris, Charlotte Rampling and the appearance of a young Bo Derek; The challenge of the white buffalo (1977) with Charles Bronson and Kim Novak; Hurricane (1979) with Mia Farrow and Jason Robards; the version of Flash Gordon of 1980 (with stars like Timothy Dalton, Max von Sydow and Ornella Muti, and music of the group Queen); Conan the Bárbaro (1982), a film that launched Arnold Schwarzenegger to stardom; and Halloween II (sequel to the 1978 film by John Carpenter). He also produced more risky projects, by David Lynch, such as Dune (1984), which resulted in a commercial failure, and Velvet Blue (1986).

De Laurentiis also made several adaptations of works by Stephen King, including Eyes of Fire (1984), The Dead Zone (1985), The Eyes of the Cat (1985) and Silver Bullet. In 1992, The Army of Darkness or Army of Darkness was produced jointly by De Laurentiis, Robert Tapert and the star of the film, Bruce Campbell. He also produced the criticized Maximum Overdrive of 1986, King’s first feature as director, in which, by the passage of a comet, the world was left for eight days under the control of the machines. This tape then became a cult movie because of the appearance of the Western Star truck with the head of the Green Goblin and the excellent music of AC / DC.

The saga about Hannibal Lecter

De Laurentiis also produced the first film featuring Hannibal Lecter’s character written by Thomas Harris: Manhunter (Michael Mann, 1986). Perhaps due to its discreet commercial result, he gave up producing the sequel written by the same author, The Silence of the Lambs, a decision he would later regret deeply due to the commercial success and the Oscars that the version directed by Jonathan Demme won. He did produce the two later films about Lecter: Hannibal (2001) and The Red Dragon (2002). The latter was really a prequel, as a new version of Manhunter, a film that De Laurentiis considered unsuccessful. He also produced Hannibal Rising (2007), another prequel that goes back to the childhood of Lecter to narrate how he became a murderer.

Last years

In his last stage, De Laurentiis preferred to produce adaptations of successful books, probably according to his commercial good eye. But he was wrong to try to emulate the success of Basic Instinct with the erotic thriller Body of Evidence, with Willem Dafoe and Madonna; this production was a resounding failure of box office and criticism.

Better results had other productions like Riot on board (1984) with Mel Gibson and Anthony Hopkins; 37 desperate hours (Desperate Hours, 1990) by Michael Cimino; Illegally Yours by Peter Bogdanovich and the sci-fi comedy Earth Girls Are Easy (1987), starring Geena Davis and Jim Carrey.

Since his first film, L’ultimo combattimento (1940), De Laurentiis has produced almost 150 films.

The film producer died on November 10, 2010 at his home in Beverly Hills, California, of natural causes at his advanced age (91 years).

More Facts about Dino De Laurentiis

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