In 1955, he was born in Milan. Rosa, his mother, was from Como (a city in Northern Italy), and Matteo, his father, was from Puglia (the “heel” of the Italian peninsula). He grew raised in Milan’s suburban district. His mother worked as a wardrobe maid at the “Derby,” a well-known theater that hosted many of Italy’s most prominent comedians. Diego’s uncle owned the property, which he had frequented since he was a youngster. He began his career as a light technician, then as the “terruncello,” the person who resides in the north of Italy but has a Southerner accent.
He began his career as a comedian at the end of the 1970s, but it wasn’t until the 1980s that he truly found success with blockbuster Italian comedies. His first serious part was in Pupi Avati‘s 1985 film “Regalo di Natale,” which established him as a really brilliant actor. In 1985, he met Gabriele Salvatores, who directed him in a number of significant films (e.g. the Academy Award winner Mediterraneo). His work demonstrates his versatility as an actor. He recently appeared in the Italian television series “Il giudice Mastrangelo,” in which he plays a judge from Milan who returns to his native Puglia to investigate mysteries and crimes. His whole career seemed to pay homage to his Northern and Southern roots.
Featured image: Milan Derby Club: Diego Abatantuono, Ernst Thole, Enzo Jannacci, Mauro Di Francesco, Giorgio Porcaro, Massimo Boldi and Giorgio Faletti