Who Is Vittorio De Sica?

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In the immediate post-war years, the Italian film actor and director Vittorio De Sica created the most important masterpieces of Neorealismo, which – like his Oscar-winning film “Bike Thieves” – have become an integral part of international film history. The Italian actor couple Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni also owe their discovery to his successful directorial work, and Vittorio De Sica played a decisive role in their international fame…

Vittorio De Sica was born on July 7, 1901 to a bank clerk in Sora, Italy.

After Vittorio De Sica’s father was transferred to Naples, the son grew up in the port city on Vesuvius. From 1915 he appeared there as an amateur actor in theatrical performances that were organized for the injured soldiers in the military hospital. After a commercial apprenticeship, De Sica studied economics in Rome and Florence. In 1918 he debuted as a film actor in the film “Il processo Clémenceau”. In 1923 he began working for various companies as a theater actor. Eventually, ten years later, he started his own acting company.

By 1949, De Sica had appeared in around 120 comedies and revues. After supporting roles in films from 1926 and 1928, De Sica starred in a talkie for the first time in 1931. The following year he was featured as the lead in “Gli uomini, che mascalzoni!” known to a larger film audience for the first time. In the 1930s, De Sica played a total of around 30 film roles. From 1939 De Sica began to write screenplays and also to direct himself. In 1941, the director gave the Roman actress Anna Magnani the opportunity for her first success in his film “Teresa Venerdì”.

De Sica himself first attracted the attention of critics and audiences as a director in 1943 with the film “I bambini ci guardano”, which opened the cycle of his children’s films. In the immediate post-war years, De Sica appeared in numerous films, both in front of and behind the camera. He played about a dozen film roles and, as a director, created the masterpieces of Italian neorealism that are now considered milestones in international film history: “Sciuscià” (1946), “Ladri di biciclette” (1948), “Miracolo a Milano” (1951) and “Umberto D.”(1952). De Sica received an Oscar for the “bicycle thieves”.

In 1954 he began a fruitful collaboration with the Neapolitan actress Sophia Loren, who had her first film success with her role in “L`oro di Napoli”. His film “Il tetto” from 1956 received an award in Cannes. In 1960, the director helped Sophia Loren achieve her greatest international success in “La ciociara”. In addition to numerous film roles of his own, De Sica subsequently directed many films whose undisputed success was based not least on the skilful interaction of the actor couple Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni. The films “Ieri, oggi e domani” (1963), “Matrimonio all`italiana” (1964) and “I girasoli” (1969) deserve special mention in this regard.

In 1966, De Sica divorced his first wife, Giuditta Rissone, to marry actress Maria Mercador-Forcada, with whom he had two sons. The following year, De Sica received the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for the film “Il giardino dei Finzi Contini” from 1970. The director experienced the Paris premiere of his last film “Il viaggio”, for which Sophia Loren received an actor’s award, in the autumn of 1974 while he was seriously ill.

Vittorio De Sica died shortly thereafter on November 13, 1974 of lung cancer in Paris.


1939 – Scarlet roses

1940 – Maddalena zero in conduct

1941 – Teresa Friday

1942 – A Garibaldian at the convent

1943 – Children look at us

1944 – The gate of heaven

1946 – Sciuscià

1948 – Bicycle thieves

1949 – Christmas at camp 119

1950 – Mamma mia, what an impression!

1951 – Miracle in Milan

1952 – Umberto D.

1953 – Termini Station

1954 – The gold of Naples

1956 – Montecarlo

1956 – The roof

1957 – Bread, love and Andalusia

1960 – The Ciociara

1961 – The universal judgment

1963 – Yesterday, today and tomorrow

1964 – Italian wedding

1965 – A new world

1966 – Fox hunting

1967 – Seven times a woman

1968 – Lovers

1969 – The sunflowers

1970 – The garden of the Finzi Contini

1972 – We will call him Andrea

1973 – A short vacation

1974 – The journey

What was Vittorio De Sica known for?

Vittorio De Sica, (born July 7, 1902, Sora, Italy—died November 13, 1974, Paris, France), Italian film director and actor who was a major figure in the Italian Neorealist movement. During a prolific career that spanned 55 years, De Sica directed 35 films and acted in more than 150.

Where was Vittorio De Sica born?

He was born on 7 July 1901 in Sora, Lazio, the son of Neapolitan parents. His father was an officer of the Bank of Italy, and was transferred from Naples to Sora, Italy. De Sica began his career as a theatre actor in the early 1920s and joined Tatiana Pavlova’s theatre company in 1923.

How old is Vittorio De Sica?

73 years

How tall was Vittorio De Sica?

1.76 m

Who influenced Vittorio De Sica?

The influence of his tenure as actor cannot be overestimated in his directorial work, where the expressivity of the actor in carefully written roles was one of his foremost technical implements. In this vein De Sica has continually mentioned the influence on his work of Charlie Chaplin.

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