Massimo Troisi

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Massimo Troisi (19 February 1953 – 4 June 1994) was an Italian actor, film director, and poet. He is best known for his role as Mario Ruoppolo in the 1994 film Il Postino.

Contents

Early years and TV star

Troisi was born into a large family in San Giorgio a Cremano, a town near Naples. His father was a train engineer. Some of his family experiences were later told in his first movies. After high school, Troisi wrote some poems inspired by his favourite author, Pier Paolo Pasolini, and, in 1969, started to play in a small local theatre together with some childhood friends (including Lello Arena and Enzo Decaro). The early death of his mother condemned Troisi to a harsh period of activity, which is said to have had a role in the development of his increasingly serious heart problems which were brought on during his teenage years from bouts of rheumatic fever. (In 1976 he had to visit the United States for a heart valve operation, the expenses for which were paid with the help of his friends.)

Troisi started his artistic career as a cabaret showman in 1972, as a member of the comic trio called "I Saraceni" ("The Saracens") and, later, "La Smorfia" (from the name of the "book of the numbers" traditionally used in Naples for lottery and tombola, but also meaning "the face", as in "to make a face"). His mates were De Caro and Arena. They gained national fame on the radio and increased it consistently from 1977 onwards eventually becoming TV stars with the shows Non Stop, La sberla (1978) and Luna Park (1979). Troisi soon gained the status of leader of the trio. He was noted for his use of facial mimicry and of apparently confused speech—in these he drew inspiration from such famous figures of Neapolitan comedy as Totò, Eduardo, and Peppino De Filippo.

Cinema

Troisi wrote, directed, and starred in his first film, Ricomincio da tre ("I Start Over from Three") in 1981. He achieved wide success and critical praise, establishing himself as one of the most talented new Italian directors of the 1980s. Like his second movie, Ricomincio da tre is centered on the troublesome love life of a Neapolitan character, partly inspired by Troisi's youth, as well as featuring Lello Arena. Scusate il ritardo, similar to the preceding one, was released in 1983.

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