Raffaella Carrà: Embracing Freedom and Style in Italian Entertainment.
Raffaella Carrà, born as Raffaella Maria Roberta Pelloni on June 18, 1943, in Bologna, and passing away on July 5, 2021, in Rome, was a multi-talented Italian artist. Her career spanned various roles as a singer, dancer, actress, TV presenter, author, and radio host.
Hailed as “the queen of Italian television,” Carrà was celebrated as a pop culture icon in Europe and Latin America by both Italian and international critics. Between the 1970s and 1980s, she emerged as a pioneering figure in feminism and women’s sexual liberation within the Italian and Spanish TV and music industries. Furthermore, she was a vocal supporter of the LGBT community.
Over her illustrious career, Carrà released 25 studio albums across 37 countries, selling over 60 million records worldwide. She charted internationally with hits like “Tanti auguri,” “Rumore,” “Pedro,” “Fiesta,” “Ballo ballo,” and “A far l’amore comincia tu.” These songs were performed not only in Italian but also in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Greek, Russian, and Filipino.
She became a staple on television in Italy, Spain, and Latin America from the late 1960s. Her achievements include twelve Telegatti awards and two TP de Oro awards. After starting as an actress in Italy, she signed with 20th Century Fox in Hollywood and appeared in French and Spanish films, working alongside notable figures like Mario Monicelli, Marcello Mastroianni, Frank Sinatra, and Bill Cosby.
Following her death, Raffaella Carrà was posthumously honored with the Premio Sorriso Diverso Venezia at the 78th Venice International Film Festival for her contributions to the Italian music and entertainment industry.
Born in Bologna as the eldest daughter of Raffaele Pelloni, a wealthy owner of a farm, and Angela Iris Dell’Utri, who managed the Caffè Centrale in Bellaria along with Raffaella’s grandmother. Carrà also had a brother, Enzo (1945-2001), making her an aunt to two nieces. After her parents separated two years into their marriage, she spent much of her childhood between Bologna and Bellaria. At just eight years old, she moved to Rome to continue her studies, first at the National Academy of Dance and then at the Experimental Cinematography Center.
Carrà’s film career began early in the 1950s. At just eight years old, she appeared in Mario Bonnard’s melodrama “Tormento del passato” (1952), playing the character of Graziella. By the late 1950s, she had minor roles in three more films.
After graduating from the Experimental Cinematography Center in 1960, she acted in films like “La lunga notte del ’43” and “Il peccato degli anni verdi.” She also ventured into theater and radio around this time. Despite auditioning for “La ciociara” by Vittorio De Sica, she was not selected due to being considered too mature for the role. Her other notable film appearances include “5 marines per 100 ragazze” (1962), “L’ombra di Zorro” (1962), “I compagni” (1963), and “Il colonnello Von Ryan” (1965), where she worked with Frank Sinatra.
Pseudonym and Rise to Fame
In the early 1960s, the director Dante Guardamagna suggested the pseudonym Carrà to her, drawing a connection between her first name and the painter Raffaello Sanzio, and the surname of the painter Carlo Carrà. Initially struggling to find success as an actress, she shifted her focus to television and music in the 1970s, achieving international fame.
Her television breakthrough came in the 1969-1970 season with “Io, Agata e tu.” This was followed by her appearance alongside Corrado in “Canzonissima,” where she sparked controversy and fame with her performance of “Ma che musica maestro!” Her success continued with her re-appearance in “Canzonissima” in 1971, introducing hit singles and the iconic “Tuca tuca” dance. This same year marked her participation in the French TV series “Arsenio Lupin” and her collaboration with Mina in the highly successful show “Milleluci.”
Continued Success and International Recognition
Following the immense success of her show, Raffaella Carrà released the album “Milleluci,” primarily composed of cover songs. In the same year, she hosted her third “Canzonissima” solo, featuring a duet with Topo Gigio in the children’s song “Strapazzami di coccole.” She also released the album “Felicità tà tà,” which included the title track, the opening theme of her third “Canzonissima,” and one of her greatest hits, the disco-music track “Rumore.” The album achieved platinum status in Italy and was well-received internationally, earning several gold records.
Between 1975 and 1980, Carrà gained recognition in Spain, where her success led to a feature on TVE’s “La hora de Raffaella Carrà” (part of the “La hora de…” series). This exposure made her popular with the Spanish audience.
During these years, Carrà focused more on her singing career, achieving widespread acclaim in Spain, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Greece, and particularly in Latin American countries, becoming a true icon of Italian music worldwide. Her song “A far l’amore comincia tu,” especially its English version, reached number nine in the UK singles chart and garnered multiple gold and platinum records globally.
In 1976, she recorded the album “Forte forte forte,” released in 36 countries. It achieved multiple gold records in Spain, the UK, and Germany, and two platinum records in Italy, marking one of her most successful and high-quality musical works. The following year saw the release of “Fiesta,” an album with Eurodisco sounds, featuring “Fiesta,” one of her signature songs.
Returning to Italy in 1978 after extensive international tours, Carrà presented the Saturday evening variety show “Ma che sera,” where she sang and danced alongside Paolo Panelli, Bice Valori, Alighiero Noschese, and Giorgio Bracardi. The show’s opening song, “Tanti auguri,” celebrated free and carefree love, with its video shot in the Italia in Miniatura theme park in Rimini. The song became another international hit and was included in the album “Raffaella,” which also enjoyed significant success. However, the program faced controversy, being aired during the difficult and tragic days of Aldo Moro’s kidnapping.
In 1979, Carrà achieved another hit with the album “Applauso,” featuring contributions from Gianni Boncompagni and newcomers De Sanctis and Musso. The album ranked 75th among the best-selling albums of that year. Following her previous year’s success in Japan with “California,” Carrà represented Italy at the Tokyo Music Festival with “Drin Drin,” winning the silver award and finishing second.
In 1980, Carrà was on the set of the film “Barbara,” shot in Argentina and distributed in the South American market (but still unreleased in Italy). The same year, she recorded the album “Mi spendo tutto,” which included the hit “Pedro,” and “Ratatataplan,” inspired by the film of the same name by Maurizio Nichetti. In 1981, she presented “Millemilioni,” a pioneering international TV cooperation project, comprising five specials, each shot in a different capital: Buenos Aires, Mexico City, London, Rome, and Moscow. The show averaged around 10 million viewers.
In 1982, Carrà co-hosted “Fantastico 3” with Corrado, Gigi Sabani, and Renato Zero, attracting an average of 25 million viewers. She also performed the opening song, “Ballo ballo,” which sparked controversy for its alleged similarity to The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” The success of the show led to the release of the album “Raffaella Carrà 82,” arranged and composed by Franco Bracardi, Danilo Vaona, and others, including Gianni Boncompagni and Giancarlo Magalli. In 1982, she was the guest of honor at the Viña del Mar Festival in Chile.
In February 1983, following the success of “Fantastico 3,” Carrà was invited as a super guest to the Sanremo Music Festival 1983. She performed “Soli sulla luna” and “Ahi,” written by Valsiglio, Pace, and Depsa, specifically for the occasion and recorded in a rush, as she herself stated.
From 1983 to 1985, Carrà hosted “Pronto Raffaella?” on Rai 1, the first midday program by Rai, marking her definitive affirmation as a host. The show highlighted not just her talent as a soubrette but also her skills as an entertainer and host, capable of empathizing equally with celebrity guests and viewers participating in the program’s games. This collaboration with Gianni Boncompagni (who directed and co-authored the program with Giancarlo Magalli) competed directly with Corrado’s “Il pranzo è servito.” A key feature was the live audience interaction through various phone games, like the “bean game,” where contestants guessed the number of beans in a large glass jar. The show quickly achieved high viewership, averaging 4.5 million viewers and peaking at 9 million. The format was soon studied and replicated by television networks in Brazil, Argentina, Germany, and France. In this show, Carrà performed the themes “Fatalità” and “Qué dolor” in the first edition, and “Dolce far niente” and “Bolero” in the second.
Achievements and Controversies
The success of “Pronto Raffaella?” earned Raffaella Carrà the title of “European Female TV Personality” in 1984, awarded by the European TV Magazines Association. In the same year, she signed a lucrative two-year contract with the Scavolini kitchen company, becoming the face of their campaign with the slogan “the most loved by Italians.” However, her contract renewal with Rai in 1984 sparked a heated controversy involving then-Prime Minister Bettino Craxi, who labeled the two-year exclusive contract’s figure (6 billion lire) as “immoral and scandalous.” During these years, her successful albums included “Fatalità” (1983) and “Bolero” (1984). Between 1985 and 1986, Carrà worked as a correspondent for the weekly “Radiocorriere TV,” conducting interviews with political and entertainment figures in “Gli incontri di Raffaella.”
Television Career Highlights
In the 1985-1986 TV season, she hosted “Buonasera Raffaella,” a primetime version of “Pronto Raffaella?” The first ten episodes aired from Rome, while the last five were broadcast from the Rai Corporation studios in New York (now decommissioned), reaching audiences across North and South America via Rai International. Carrà interviewed and performed duets with notable guests such as Henry Kissinger, Joe Cocker, Riccardo Cocciante, Patty Pravo, Stevie Wonder, Ginger Rogers, and Sammy Davis Jr., singing themes like “Fidati!,” “Bellissimo,” and “Bacio.” All three themes were included in the album “Fidati!,” released in the same year. Despite its success, the show was mired in controversy over its high production costs, particularly for the episodes broadcast via satellite from the United States. However, its popularity led to appearances on major American talk shows, where she was interviewed by Johnny Carson, Ed Sullivan, and David Letterman.
The following season, she hosted “Domenica in,” performing both the opening theme “Curiosità” (one of the first Italian TV themes created using computer graphics) and the closing theme “Casa dolce casa.” During this show, Carrà reacted to a scandalous article by “Novella 2000,” threatening legal action against the magazine for accusing her of neglecting her dying mother. Her mother passed away in 1987, and Carrà paid tribute to her during another episode of the show.
Transition to Fininvest
In 1987, Carrà moved to Fininvest with a two-year multimillion contract. Her debut on Canale 5 was with the special “Benvenuta Raffaella” on December 27, 1987, featuring behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with Carrà and her partner Sergio Japino, who was the director and choreographer of the show. The “Raffaella Carrà Show” began on January 9, 1988, followed by “Il principe azzurro” in the subsequent year, but these shows did not achieve significant viewership, dimming her popularity.
Return to Rai
Returning to Rai in early 1990, Carrà launched “Raffaella Venerdì, Sabato e Domenica… E saranno famosi,” airing on Friday evenings and weekends. The follow-up show, “Ricomincio da due,” aired only on Saturdays and Sundays, achieving high viewership and revitalizing her success. In May 1991, she briefly returned to Canale 5 to co-host an edition of the “Telegatti” awards with Corrado, the last guest of her show.
In June 1990, she co-hosted “Cuando Calienta el sol,” a two-part TV program broadcast from Italy and Spain with Gigi Sabani. In 1991, alongside Johnny Dorelli, she hosted “Fantastico 12” on Rai 1. Despite a memorable appearance by Roberto Benigni, the show did not meet viewership expectations.
Success in Spain
From 1992 to 1995, Carrà returned to Spain, first on TVE 1 for three editions of “¡Hola Raffaella!,” winning three TP de Oro awards (the Spanish equivalent of the Telegatto), and then on “A las 8 con Raffaella.” These shows cemented her fame in Spain. In the 1994-95 season, she moved to Telecinco, the Spanish equivalent of Fininvest, with the afternoon program “En casa con Raffaella” (a Spanish remake of “Pronto, Raffaella?”). The show’s success led Telecinco to offer her a new two-year exclusive contract, which she declined to return to Italy.
Return to Rai and Later Career
In late 1995, Carrà returned to Rai 1 with “Carràmba! che sorpresa,” co-created with Sergio Japino and Brando Giordani. Inspired by the British format “Surprise Surprise!,” the show involved live surprises and reunions for guests and audiences, interspersed with performances by various guests, including Adriano Celentano, Madonna, Britney Spears, and Robbie Williams. The show achieved record viewership, averaging 10 million viewers. In 1998, it was revamped as “Carràmba! che fortuna” to revive the fortunes of the Lotteria Italia, achieving even higher success with up to 14 million viewers. Concurrently with “Carràmba!,” she hosted three daily segments: “40 minuti con Raffaella,” “Centoventitré,” and “I Fantastici di Raffaella.”
She declined to host the 1997 Sanremo Festival with Piero Chiambretti, leading to Mike Bongiorno and Valeria Marini taking over. In the same year, she starred in the four-part Rai miniseries “Mamma per caso,” directed by Sergio Martino, where she played a single journalist alongside Ray Lovelock, Jean Sorel, Maurizio Crozza, and Carla Signoris, aired in primetime on Rai 1.
2000s: Sanremo Festival and the Return of Carramba
In 2000, Raffaella Carrà hosted the “Gran Premio Internazionale dello Spettacolo” on Canale 5 for the second time, co-hosting with Paolo Bonolis. She would return to this event in 2004, this time with Gerry Scotti, performing alongside Loretta Goggi.
In 2001, she co-hosted the 51st edition of the Sanremo Festival, joined by Piero Chiambretti, Enrico Papi, Megan Gale, and Massimo Ceccherini. The edition was not a great success and sparked numerous controversies regarding both the show and its presentation.
After a year-long break following the disappointing experience at the Festival, she returned to prime time on Rai 1 from January 24, 2002, with the fourth edition of “Carràmba! che sorpresa.” In 2004, she hosted “Sogni,” a show revisiting the concept of “Carràmba! che sorpresa,” focusing on fulfilling the dreams of Italians. 2006 saw the debut of “Amore,” a replication of a successful format from TVE (“Contigo”), dedicated to distance adoptions. The aim was to collect commitments via a call center from those wishing to help children in the world’s poorest countries with distant support, ultimately achieving about 130,000 adoptions.
In the same year, actor Fabio Canino, assisted by Roberto Mancinelli, dedicated a book to her, published by Sperling & Kupfer: the “RAFFAbook,” a sort of circus celebrating her long career. Similarly, an episode of “La storia siamo noi” was dedicated to her. Tiziano Ferro released the song “E Raffaella è mia” in his 2006 album “Nessuno è solo,” a tribute to Carrà, who appeared in the music video. Spanish singer Roser recorded the album “Raffaella,” a tribute featuring Carrà‘s greatest hits sung in Spanish. Carrà also appeared with Robbie Williams on Diego Armando Maradona’s show “La noche del 10.”
On November 30, 2007, “Raffica Carrà” was released, a compilation of two CDs and a DVD featuring the themes sung and danced by Carrà throughout her career. It reached number 15 on the FIMI chart in Italy, selling more than 50,000 copies.
In 2008, TVE called her for three programs related to the Eurovision Song Contest. The first was the national selection aired on March 8, “Salvemos Eurovisión,” where viewers chose the song for that year’s Eurovision via televoting and SMS from ten options selected by Myspace users.
After this commitment, she returned to Rai 1 to present “Carràmba! Che fortuna.” The show, remembering her recent commitment to TVE, featured guests from ESC 2008 and again received high ratings, with an average of 5 million viewers. This new edition associated with the Lotteria Italia saw over 18 million tickets sold (+25.5% compared to 2007). Carrà holds the record for hosting the most shows linked to the Lotteria Italia, including “Canzonissima,” “Fantastico,” “Carràmba! Che sorpresa,” and “Carràmba! Che fortuna,” selling over 125 million tickets in total across five editions of “Carràmba.”
She returned to Spain to host an episode of the Iberian version of “Saturday Night Live” on Cuatro.
Also in 2008, Antimo Verde published “Mito in tre minuti,” an artistic biography based on research. On November 7, “Raffica – Balletti & Duetti” was released, a second compilation of two CDs and a DVD featuring a selection of Carrà‘s TV performances, including duets with Mina in “Milleluci,” the famous “Tuca Tuca” with Alberto Sordi on “Canzonissima 1971,” “Money Money” with Loretta Goggi on “Fantastico 12,” and dances from “Millemilioni,” recorded in various cities around the world. It reached number 66 on the FIMI chart in Italy and number 2 among the best-selling musical DVDs.
In the same year, for Rai 3, Carrà authored “Il Gran Concerto,” where the National Symphony Orchestra of Rai presented classical and operatic pieces to an audience of 700 children and teenagers, aiming to introduce them to classical music. The show was hosted by Alessandro Greco and directed by Sergio Japino.
2010s: Endorsements, Music, and TV Appearances
From 2010, Raffaella Carrà became the face of Danone, appearing in several commercials broadcast on various national networks until 2012. On August 7, at the Rimini Festival Milleluci dedicated to her, approximately 250 couples danced the Tuca Tuca, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the dance (first performed with Enzo Paolo Turchi during Canzonissima 1971-72). In 2010, she duetted with Renato Zero on the song “Triangolo” from his album “Sei Zero.” They also performed together on October 5 of the same year during a concert by Zero.
In 2011, following a 13-year hiatus, Italy returned to the Eurovision Song Contest, with Carrà chosen by Rai to host and commentate the final from Italy, as well as present the votes from the jury and televote.
That summer, a remix of her historic song “A far l’amore comincia tu,” titled “Far l’amore,” was released, produced by French DJ Bob Sinclar, her co-host from the Eurovision 2011 final. Sinclar wanted her to collaborate on the track (and its music video), which became an international success. This remix was later included by Paolo Sorrentino in the soundtrack of his film “La Grande Bellezza,” which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2014.
Following this, she appeared alongside Neri Marcorè in TIM commercials, portraying Queen Isabella of Castile. In October 2011, for the fourth consecutive year, she was the author of Rai 3’s TV program “Il Gran Concerto,” hosted by Alessandro Greco.
In June 2012, she participated in the “Concerto per l’Emilia” to support the populations affected by the May 2012 earthquakes, where she sang her hit “Rumore.” That same year, she received the Alberto Sordi Award. In January 2013, Carrà was set to return, after ten years, to host Rai 1’s Saturday night variety show titled “Auditorium,” intended to compete with Canale 5’s “Italia’s Got Talent.” However, in October 2012, Rai Entertainment Director Giancarlo Leone announced the postponement of the show’s launch, which was eventually cancelled. In February 2013, she became one of the coaches on Rai 2’s “The Voice of Italy,” alongside Noemi, Piero Pelù, and Riccardo Cocciante, hosted by Fabio Troiano and Carolina Di Domenico. On July 16, 2013, she released the dance single “Replay,” previewing her new album, which was her first collection of new songs in 17 years, titled “Replay (The Album).”
The album was released on November 19, 2013, featuring the second single “Cha Cha Ciao.” In the same year, she played herself in the comedy film “Colpi di fortuna,” directed by Neri Parenti. In 2014, she returned to “The Voice of Italy” as a coach, joined by Piero Pelù, Noemi, and rapper J-Ax (replacing Riccardo Cocciante). The hosts of the program were also changed to Federico Russo and Valentina Correani. In February of the same year, she was a guest on the opening night of the Sanremo Festival, where she performed a medley from her latest album, achieving the episode’s highest viewership peak with a 55.36% share.
For the 2014-2015 TV season, she returned to Rai 1 with a new talent show, “Forte forte forte,” named after one of her most famous songs (also remixed by Bob Sinclar as “Forte”). It aired every Friday from January 16 to March 13, 2015. Following the show, the fifth official collection of the artist’s work was released, “Forte forte forte – Hits & Rarities,” featuring many rarities in French, English, German, Greek, and Spanish.
Starting February 24, 2016, she returned as a coach on Rai 2’s “The Voice of Italy,” joined by Emis Killa, Max Pezzali, and Dolcenera. During the final episode, she announced her definitive departure from the show. On December 19, 2016, she successfully hosted the TVE’s 60th-anniversary gala, “Gala 60 años juntos.” In the summer of 2017, she became a music producer (fulfilling a promise made live during the semifinals of the previous edition of “The Voice of Italy”) for one of her contestants, Samuel Pietrasanta.
In the same period, she received the World Pride Award, proclaiming her as an ambassador of love at the start of World Pride 2017 in Madrid.
On October 13, 2018, she was awarded the title of Dame of the Order of Civil Merit by Spanish Ambassador to Italy, Alfonso Dastis, on behalf of King Felipe VI of Spain.
On November 30, 2018, her Christmas album “Ogni volta che è Natale” was released. This marked her return to the recording studio after five years (since “Replay – The Album”) and to television after a two-year absence, appearing as a guest on Fabio Fazio’s “Che tempo che fa” and Carlo Conti’s “Un Natale d’Oro Zecchino.” The album featured the new single “Chi l’ha detto,” played on radio since November 16 and available on YouTube since November 23, with its official music video announced by Carrà herself on her Twitter account.
On February 13, 2019, she modeled for Vanity Fair, the first issue of its new course.
In spring 2019, she returned to television to host an interview program with famous figures from the worlds of entertainment, culture, and sports, including Sophia Loren, Riccardo Muti, Paolo Sorrentino, and Renato Zero. The show, titled “A raccontare comincia tu,” inspired by the Spanish program “Mi casa es la tuya,” aired on Thursday evenings on Rai 3 for six weeks, from April 4 to May 9. Following its success, the program was renewed for a second cycle of four episodes, airing from October 24 to November 14. On November 17, 2019, Carrà gave another interview on Rai 2’s “Che tempo che fa.”
In October 2020, the Spanish film “Ballo ballo,” directed by Nacho Álvarez and based on Carrà‘s songs, was released in Spanish cinemas, featuring a cameo by her. The Italian version was available for streaming from January 25, 2021.
Her last TV appearance was on November 17, 2019, on “Che tempo che fa,” followed by a few rare appearances. Her final press interview was in December 2020 for the magazine Sette. Another Italian appearance, albeit over the phone, was on December 28, 2020, on “La vita in diretta” on Rai 1. She also gave a radio interview in Spain on December 17 to “La tarde suena bien” and a final interview to the Italo-British radio station London One Radio on February 1, 2021.
Final Years and Legacy
In May 2020, Raffaella Carrà was diagnosed with lung cancer, a battle she chose to face privately. Despite undergoing treatment, she passed away in Rome at the Clinica del Rosario at 16:20 on July 5, 2021, at the age of 78. The news of her death was announced by her former partner, Sergio Japino.
Two days later, on July 7, her funeral procession took place, passing through several iconic locations of her career, with many people paying tribute. Starting from her home in via Nemea 21, the hearse first stopped at the Auditorium Rai of the Foro Italico, where “Carràmba! Che sorpresa” had been broadcast for years. The procession then continued to the studios at via Teulada 66, where Carrà made her debut in 1961 alongside Lelio Luttazzi in “Tempo di danza” and later hosted “Pronto Raffaella?” in the 1980s. The route included a stop at the Teatro delle Vittorie, the site of many Rai programs including “Milleluci,” where Carrà co-hosted alongside Mina and presented two editions of “Canzonissima” with Corrado in 1970 and 1971. It was also at the Teatro delle Vittorie where she, along with Fiorello, filmed the first episode of her last show, “A raccontare comincia tu.” The final stop was at the Rai headquarters on viale Mazzini, before the body was taken to the Protomoteca Hall in the Campidoglio for a public viewing.
On the evening before her funeral, during the warm-up for the Euro 2020 semi-final match between Italy and Spain at London’s Wembley Stadium, one of Carrà‘s most famous songs, “A far l’amore comincia tu,” was played. This tribute was requested by the Italian Football Federation (FIGC) to UEFA to honor the singer and presenter, who was also highly esteemed in Spain.
Carrà‘s funeral took place on July 9 at the Basilica of Santa Maria in Aracoeli and was broadcast live on Rai 1. In accordance with her wishes, her body was cremated, and the ashes were taken on August 5 to Porto Santo Stefano, in the church of Santo Stefano Protomartire, and on September 5 to San Giovanni Rotondo, at the sanctuary of San Pio da Pietrelcina, to whom the showgirl was devoted. Her ashes are kept in the church of the municipal cemetery of Porto Santo Stefano, the final resting place chosen by Carrà herself.
Cultural Impact and Philanthropy
Raffaella Carrà was praised throughout her career for her impact on pop culture and the entertainment industry, being compared to figures like Donna Summer, Barbara Walters, and Ann-Margret. Vogue España described her as an “intergenerational phenomenon with social and cultural significance, destined to be remembered forever,” while The Guardian considered her the “pop star who taught Europe the joy of sex” amidst Catholic conservatism.
Liberation of Women in Television
On November 13, 1971, while hosting Canzonissima, Carrà performed her new single “Tuca tuca,” wearing a dress that revealed her navel. This marked the first time a woman showed her navel on Italian public television, sparking controversy and criticism from conservative and Catholic groups. In an interview with Sette, published by Corriere della Sera, Carrà discussed her intent to bring the song to television and how it was criticized and removed from RAI’s programming due to pressure from L’Osservatore Romano. She was able to bring it back to TV thanks to Alberto Sordi, as no one said no to him. Carrà emphasized that her dress style was without ulterior motives, and she unwittingly broke norms through her free and strong dancing style, which communicated energy rather than excessive sensuality. This made it easier to convey a message of freedom.
In Spanish television, Carrà is regarded as a pioneer of freedom of expression post-Franco dictatorship, appearing on TV schedules in 1976, a year after Francisco Franco’s death. Her style and stage presence were praised by critics, making her a fashion and pop culture icon over the years. Journalists identified her distinctive platinum bob haircut as a key to her iconic status, drawing comparisons to Marilyn Monroe’s image choices.
Vogue España described Carrà‘s outfits as “visionary” and “controlled transgression,” opposing the established patriarchal norms and representing new forms of expressive empowerment. Grazia highlighted her role in making fashion more liberated, while Harper’s Bazaar praised her outfits as “amazing and modern,” creating a clear and intriguing image.
Alongside Mina and Patty Pravo, Carrà is considered a pioneer of camp style, cited at the Anna Wintour Costume Center of the Metropolitan Museum of Art during Alessandro Michele’s 2019 spring show. In 2023, during the Sanremo Festival, the exhibition “A far la moda comincia tu!” showcased thirty-five outfits worn by Carrà on RAI TV programs.
Support for LGBTQ+ Community, Feminism, and Politics
Carrà was a supporter of the LGBT+ community, advocating for their rights and promoting their image through television, becoming an icon of the community. In 2017, she was awarded the World Pride Madrid as a Spanish Gay Icon.
She supported adoption by same-sex couples and single-parent families, having grown up with her mother. Over the years, she spoke in favor of feminist movements. Politically, Carrà identified as left-leaning, declaring herself a communist in a 1977 interview, always siding with workers in conflicts between workers and employers.
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