One of Italy's best-loved performers, Troisi (pronounced Troy-EE-zee) had worked his way through the cabaret circuit and TV in the 1970s to emerge as a top comedic performer in films. He was born outside of Naples, Italy to a large family and began performing as a teenager in local theater productions. At age 14, he suffered a bout of rheumatic fever which left him with a weakened heart, yet he went on to become one of the founders of the comedy trio La Smorfia/The Grimace. They were immediately successful and made numerous appearances on Italian TV. Troisi worked at perfecting a comic style that was delicate and more melancholic than the typical gag-based, vulgar humor popular in 1980s Italy.