Italy Mourns the Death of Dino De Laurentiis
Tributes roll in from around the country, Sofia Loren tells Italian television that she feels 'intense pain' at the loss.
ROME – Italy Thursday mourned the passing of famed film producer Dino De Laurentiis, who died at the age of 91 at his home in Beverly Hills.
Though De Laurentiis was born near the southern Italian city of Naples, he hadn’t lived full time in Italy since the 1960s when he moved to Los Angeles after the failure of an ambitious plan to create a rival to Rome’s storied Cinecitta Studios called DinoCitta. Still, he maintained close ties to Italy, and his comments about the Italian film industry and his visits to his country of birth were always news.
Despite an ongoing political crisis that could lead to the collapse of the government, many television news programs led with the news of De Laurentiis’ death on Thursday, while online news outlets hurried to report the developments. Italian headlines included Naples daily Il Mattino, which ran a headline lamenting the passing of “favorite son De Laurentiis” and state broadcaster RAI News 24, which, on its website, simply said “Addio a Dino.”
Several print outlets promised special tributes to the producer in their weekend editions.
Aurelio De Laurentiis, Dino’s nephew and himself a film producer, called his uncle “a giant” who “was a witness to the rebirth of Italy after the second world war and [who] told that story through film, making him of the architects of the Golden era of Italian film.”
Tributes from other sources rolled in all day. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who controls the Mediaset broadcast giant and the Medusa film production house, was away from Italy at the Group of 20 summit in Korea and so he did not comment. But homages came from other sources across the political spectrum, ranging from parliamentary speaker Gianfranco Fini to opposition leader Walter Veltroni, who, while mayor of Rome, founded the Rome Film Festival.
Condolences from actors and directors who had worked with De Laurentiis arrived from all corners. Among them, Sofia Loren, who knew De Laurentiis from the start of her career in the 1950s, and whose late husband, film director Carlo Ponti, worked with De Laurentiis on more than a dozen occasions.
“I feel an intense pain at the loss of Dino De Laurentiis,” Loren told Italian television.