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Silvana Mangano


Silvana Mangano was born in Rome, Italy on April 21, 1930 and tragically died at the young age of 59 in Madrid, Spain on December 16, 1989.

The Italian actress' earliest connection with film making occurred indirectly through her romantic relationship with Marcello Mastrioanni.

Trained as a dancer, Silvana was supporting her self as a model when, at 16, she won the Miss Rome beauty pageant. This led to a movie contract and although she began appearing in small film roles in 1947, it would take three years for her to ascend to international stardom.

Her first major role was as a vivacious young farm worker in Riso Amaro (Bitter Rice, 1949), by Italian director Giuseppe de Santis and produced by Dino de Laurentiis. Later that same year, she married de Laurentiis. He served as her manager until the two separated in 1983.

Mangano occasionally acted in films by American directors, such as Five Branded Women (1960), by director Martin Ritt, and Dune (1984) by director David Lynch and produced by Mangano's daughter Rafaella de Laurentiis. Her most notable films, however, were Italian productions, including L'Oro di Napoli (The Gold of Naples, 1954) and other films by director Vittorio de Sica; Edipo Re (Oedipus Rex, 1967), director Pier Paolo Pasolini; Morte a Venezia (Death in Venice, 1971), Ludwig (1973), and Gruppa di Famiglia in un Interno (Conversation Piece, 1974) by director Luchino Visconti.

Though she never scaled the heights of her contemporaries Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, Mangano remained a cinematic favorite into the 1970s.

Mangano and de Laurentiis had four children. Daughter Raffaela produced Mangano's next-to-last film Dune. Granddaughter Giada de Laurentiis (daughter of Veronica and husband Alex de Benedetti) is a culinary expert who has an ever expanding presence on the Food Network.


 Granddaughter Giada di Laurentiis

Silvana Mangano abandoned films in 1981 to mourn the plane-crash death of her son Federico, but briefly returned to the screen on two occasions before her own death from cancer at the age of 59.

I found this in 'The New York Times' in the Obituaries section dated 17 Dec 1989.  Silvana Mangano Obituary

Silvana Mangano, the Italian film actress who created a sensation as a passionately earthy peasant in ''Bitter Rice'' in 1948 and shaped increasingly compelling characterizations in later movies, died yesterday in Madrid. She was 59 years old and had been hospitalized in a coma for several days.

Representatives of the Luz Hospital in Madrid told The Associated Press that the actress had suffered a heart attack there during surgery for a tumor between her lungs. She had been suffering from cancer for several years.

Miss Mangano's three daughters, Veronica, Rafaella and Francesca, flew to Madrid to be with her, the Spanish National Radio reported. Federico, the actress's only son, died in a plane crash in 1981 while making a film in Alaska, prompting her to go into seclusion for several years.

Their father is Dino De Laurentiis, the producer whom Miss Mangano married in 1949 soon after the release of ''Bitter Rice,'' his first international success. They avoided publicity in their private lives and seemed happy, but they separated in 1983 and began divorce proceedings last year. Made 30 Films

Her roles included a sensitive prostitute in ''Gold of Naples'' (1954), a loveless movie goddess in ''The Witches'' (1967), a cool aristocrat in ''Death in Venice'' (1971) and the wealthy, rejected wife of Marcello Mastroianni in ''Dark Eyes'' (1987). Other films were ''Ulysses'' (as both Penelope and Circe, 1954), ''Barabbas'' (1961), ''Oedipus Rex'' (1967), ''Ludwig'' (1973) and ''Conversation Piece'' (1975). 

Miss Mangano was born in Rome on April 21, 1930, one of four children of Amedeo Mangano, a railroad employee, and an Englishwoman, the former Ivy Webb. She studied dancing, won the title Miss Rome 1946 in a beauty contest, modeled and got minor parts in several movies before gaining the leading role in ''Bitter Rice'' as a lustful rice harvester in the Po Valley. Contrast to Private Life

Bosley Crowther of The New York Times reflected international approval in hailing her as a sensation. He said she embodied ''Anna Magnani minus 15 years, Ingrid Bergman with a Latin disposition and Rita Hayworth plus 25 pounds.''

David Thomson, the film historian and critic, said in recalling ''Bitter Rice'' that its social comment ''was swamped by its popular elements, chief of which was Mangano, her skirts tucked up, standing in the rice fields and leaving no doubts in the viewer's mind.''

Miss Mangano's sensual film image contrasted with her private life, in which she wore conservative clothes and no makeup. In her maturity, she was a cool, sculptured, high-fashion beauty whose penchants included tennis, horseback riding and well-prepared food.

Besides her children, survivors include two sisters, Patrizia and Natasha.

The hospital gave no information regarding funeral or memorial services. The Spanish national news agency EFE quoted a family representative as saying Miss Mangano's body would be cremated today and the remains sent to New York to be placed next to those of her son.

Silvana Mangano in the film ''Dark Eyes'' (1987)

IMDb Bio for Silvana Mangano