Dino de Laurentiis
A colorful and flamboyant Hollywood player for decades, producer Dino De Laurentiis spent what seemed like eons producing a remarkable mix of motion pictures, ranging from art house fare like Fellini's "La Strada" (1954) to camp classics like "Barbarella" (1968) to overblown spectacles like "King Kong" (1976) and "Tai Pan" (1986), as well as popular entertainment like "Hannibal" (2001). Ever since he began his producing career with the international hit "Riso Amaro" ("Bitter Rice") (1948), De Laurentiis financed, produced or distributed hundreds of movies, including some of the most significant ever made in cinema history, like "Serpico" (1973), "Death Wish" (1974) and "Conan the Barbarian" (1982). With great success often comes great failure, and De Laurentiis was no stranger to the latter. Over the years, he went through several production companies, some of which crumbled under the weight of expensive box office failures, most notably the dismal adaptation of Frank Herbert's "Dune" (1984). Toward the end of the 20th century, De Laurentiis - who had missed out on the massive success of "Silence of the Lambs (1991) after declining the rights following the failure of "Manhunter" (1986) - had a bit of redemption with the box office hit, "Hannibal" (2001), which spawned another successful sequel, "Red Dragon" (2002), and cemented his place as one of cinema's most prolific producers.