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Roberto Benigni

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Roberto Remigio Benigni Cavaliere di Gran Croce (born October 27, 1952) is a comedian, actor, screenwriter, and director from Italy. He achieved international acclaim for his work on the Holocaust comedy-drama Life Is Beautiful (1997), for which he won Academy Awards for Best Actor (the first for a non-English speaking male performance) and Best International Feature Film.

Benigni made his acting debut in Giuseppe Bertolucci‘s 1977 film Berlinguer, I Love You, which he also scripted. Tu mi turbi, a 1983 anthology film directed by Benigni, also marked the acting debut of his wife, Nicoletta Braschi. Down by Law, Benigni’s debut English-language film was written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, with whom he would collaborate on two more films: Night on Earth (1991) and Coffee and Cigarettes (2003).

Benigni received critical praise in 1988 for the film The Little Devil, which he directed, wrote, and starred in. The film, which costarred American actor Walter Matthau and Braschi, was shot in alternate takes in both Italian and English. Benigni’s career as a filmmaker continued with Johnny Stecchino (1991) and The Monster (1994), and he portrayed Inspector Clouseau’s kid in Son of the Pink Panther (1993), an American-Italian co-production directed by Blake Edwards.

Pinocchio (2002), in which he played the main character, and The Tiger and the Snow (2005), his subsequent directorial efforts, garnered mixed reviews.

While he has not made any film since 2005, Benigni has continued to play on stage and in films, touring Italy with his one-man show TuttoDante and starring in Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love (2012) and as Mister Geppetto in Matteo Garrone’s 2019 Pinocchio remake.

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