R.I.P. Dino De Laurentiis

Dino De Laurentiis, the legendary Italian film producer responsible for a number of influential classics and beloved genre-films, has passed away at the age of 91.

De Laurentiis’ daughter Raffaella confirmed the Oscar-winning producer’s passing, although no cause of death was given.

The acclaimed producer delivered more than 160 films over the course of his seven decades in the business.

He made his name with cutting edge Italian New Wave films in the 1940s and 50s, including Bitter Rice (which received a 1950 Oscar nomination for Best Story) and the Federico Fellini classics La Strada and Nights of Cabiria (both of which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film).

During this period, De Laurentiis convinced stars such as Henry Fonda and Audrey Hepburn to travel to Italy to appear in his films (notably King Vidor‘s Oscar-nominated adaptation of War and Peace).

De Laurentiis used his new-found success to build several studio facilities in Italy, where he would shoot a number of films for both the European and American market. These pictures included early comic-book adaptations Barbarella and Danger: Diabolik.

Following a series of restrictions placed upon the Italian film industry by its socialist government in 1965 (as well as an ongoing legal battle with Fellini), De Laurentiis made the move to New York.

While in the United States, De Laurentiis produced a number of respected features (Serpico, Blue Velvet, Manhunter) as well as some beloved genre pictures (Death Wish, King Kong, Dune, The Dead Zone, Army of Darkness).

There were a number of expensive failures over the course of De Laurentiis’ varied career, leaving him in a position in which he was forced to sell off the rights for his older films to fund future projects.

However, he continued to produce films well into his 80s, often in collaboration with his second wife Martha De Laurentiis. In 2001, he was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award at the Academy Awards.

Dino De Laurentiis is survived by his wife Martha and daughters Raffaella, Carolyna and Dina.

Discuss: R.I.P.

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