Nicoletta Machiavelli, Beautiful Star of Spaghetti Westerns, Dies at 71

NAVAJO JOE 1966 still - Nicoletta Machiavelli - SQ 2015
Everett Collection

The Italian actress appeared opposite Burt Reynolds in 'Navajo Joe' and as a gun-toting woman seeking revenge in 'Garter Colt.'

Nicoletta Machiavelli, the Italian actress who appeared in several spaghetti Westerns, including 1966’s Navajo Joe starring Burt Reynolds, died Sunday in Seattle after a short illness, her friend reported. She was 71.

In 1965, the dark-haired beauty was signed to a contract by producer Dino de Laurentiis and played a Native American maid in Navajo Joe, from the Italian filmmaker’s production company.

Machiavelli later appeared in other spaghetti Westerns like The Hills Run Red (1966) with Dan Duryea, A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die (1968), Garter Colt (1968) — in which she received top billing, rare for a woman in a Western — Hate Thy Neighbor (1968) and No Room to Die (1969).

Machiavelli also was seen in the Buck Henry-scripted sex fantasy Candy (1968) and in the comedy Those Daring Young Men in Their Jaunty Jalopies (1969), and she starred opposite David McCallum, who played a German soldier, in the World War II drama The Ravine (1969).

Machiavelli also worked alongside Marcello Mastroianni and Oliver Reed in the comedy Dirty Weekend (1973) and with Alain Delon in Someone Is Bleeding (1974).

“I wasn’t a good actress,” she said in a 2009 interview. “I was just pretty. I liked being outdoors, but I hated it when they dressed me up or put makeup on me. And I hated the idea that these people were making money off me.”

A direct descendant of the Renaissance philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli, she was born near Modena, Italy, and studied painting at the prestigious Florence Academy of Fine Arts.

She left acting in the early 1980s and eventually moved to Seattle, where she taught Italian at the University of Washington and Bellevue College and worked as a tour guide for French and Italian folks visiting the U.S.

Survivors include her son, Nirjo, who confirmed his mother’s death on Facebook.

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