Italian Actor Giuliano Gemma Dies at 75

Giuliano Gemma - H 2013
Getty Images

Giuliano Gemma - H 2013

The screen veteran worked with directors from Luchino Visconti to Woody Allen, but was known for his roles in spaghetti westerns.

ROME -- Giuliano Gemma, a versatile Italian veteran of more than 100 acting roles ranging from Luchino Visconti's 1963 classic The Leopard (Il gattopardo), to spaghetti westerns, to Woody Allen's To Rome With Love, died late Tuesday in an auto accident near Rome.

The Rome-born Gemma was 75, and still active in the industry, including many television roles in recent years. He was set to play one of the key parts in Miguel Cruz Carretero's period romantic drama Deauville, which just entered pre-production. His last silver screen role was in last year's To Rome With Love, where he had a small role as a hotel manager.

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To Italians, he was best known for his roles in spaghetti westerns, which emerged from his portrayal of one of Antonio Garibaldi's generals in The Leopard. On the set he met fellow actor Terence Hill, who introduced him to the then burgeoning spaghetti western genre. He made more than a dozen of the popular cowboy films including For a few Extra Dollars, The Return of Ringo, and Blood for a Silver Dollar, usually using the stage name Montgomery Wood.

In recent years he became popular on the film festival circuit, as the subject of tributes and recipient of honorary awards in Karlovy Vary, Italy's Globi d"Oro (the country's version of the Golden Globes), the Capri-Hollywood Film Fest, the Nastri d'Agento (Silver Ribbons) awards, and the Giffoni Film Festival.

Italian newspapers reported Gemma was involved in a car accident in Cerveteri, a small town about 25 miles northwest of Rome. Gemma was the only fatality in the accident in which a man and his young son remain in critical condition. Details of the accident were not immediately known.

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