Gabriele Ferzetti, the Playboy in Michelangelo Antonioni’s 'L’Avventura,' Dies at 90

Gabriele Ferzetti in L'avventura 1960 - SQ 2015
Janus Films/Photofest

The Italian actor starred in more than 160 stage, screen and TV productions.

Gabriele Ferzetti, the Italian stage, screen and television star whose career spanned seven decades, died in Rome on Wednesday. He was 90.

With more than 160 credits to his name, Ferzetti was best known for his critically acclaimed role as the oversexed playboy in Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960).

Ferzetti also starred in Antonioni’s 1955 film Girlfriends. Among his other most famous features were Mario Soldati’s The Provinciale (1953) and Elio Petri’s To Each His Own (1967).

His career crossed over into Hollywood in 1966 with the role of Lot in John Huston’s The Bible and as Morton the railroad baron in Sergio Leone’s Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).

Ferzetti also is remembered internationally for playing an organized crime boss in James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), the only time George Lazenby played 007. Ferzetti was sought out by Bond producers to play the character Marc Ange-Draco, but due to his heavy Italian accent, his speaking parts were dubbed. 

Ferzetti also appeared in Liliana Cavani’s The Night Porter (1974) and most recently Luca Guadagnino’s 2009 film I Am Love

Born March 17, 1925, Ferzetti began acting in the 1940s before coming to prominence in the 1950s when he played Puccini in two films, Puccini (1953) and Casa Ricordi (1954). He then took on co-starring roles alongside actors including Elsa Martinelli (1956's Donatella) and Marcello Mastroianni (1958's Girls for the Summer).

As well as cinema, Ferzetti had prominent TV roles including parts on such Italian series as Dossier Mata Hari, I Vecchi e I Giovani and, more recently, Une Famille Formidable.