Roberto Benigni biography
Date of Birth: October 27, 1952
Born in Misericordia, Italy, Roberto Benigni learned to improvise songs and poems while in his teens. Although his early ambitions were to become either a priest or an accountant, he instead became part of Rome's underground theater in the late 1960s. His onscreen debut came in the film Berlinguer ti voglio bene (1977), which he co-wrote. Soon after, he landed his own TV series, which propelled him to stardom in his native country and gained him notice in the international film industry. In 1986 he made his first English language film, Down By Law (1986), filmed in Louisiana. Back in Italy, he joined an all-star international cast in his second English-language film, Night On Earth (1991). His first big box office success in Italy was Johnny Stecchino (1991), about a good-hearted, innocent man who is mistaken for a mobster called Johnny the Toothpick. The film became the highest-grossing feature to date in Italian history. In 1993, he landed his first starring role in an English-language feature film when he replaced the late Peter Sellers as Inspector Jacques Clouseau in Son of the Pink Panther (1993). However, Sellers proved to be a tough act to follow, and Benigni received a nomination for "Worst New Star" by the Razzie Awards.
Five years later, Roberto Benigni received worldwide acclaim for his film, life is beautiful (1998). Benigni directed, co-wrote and starred in the comedy, set in a concentration camp. The film won a multitude of awards around the world, including an Academy Award® for Best Foreign Language Film and the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Benigni himself won both an Academy Award® and a BAFTA award for his performance in the film. Known for his excitability and effusiveness, the star was overcome by joy at the Academy Awards when he learned he had won, and jumped across the backs of chairs on his way to the stage to accept the award in broken English, using all the English words he knew whether they made sense or not, but endearing himself to the American public. He became the second actor in Oscar® history to direct himself in a Academy Award-winning performance (the first was Laurence Olivier) and the first actor to win a Best Actor Oscar for a non-English speaking role. He has continued to star in both Italian and English films, his most recent being Woody Allen's comedy To Rome With Love (2012).
Benigni is married to actress Nicoletta Braschi, and they have appeared together in many films.
Roberto Benigni Filmography