Roberto Benigni

Actor, Comedian, Screenwriter
Boasting a genuine gift for physical comedy, the exuberant Roberto Benigni started his career in underground theater and later attained great popularity in Italian films and television. Discovered while performing comic ... Read more »
Born: 10/27/1952 in Arrezzo, Tuscany, IT

Filmography

Actor (34)

Hedonist 2015 - 2016 (TV Show)

Himself

To Rome With Love 2012 (Movie)

Leopoldo (Actor)

The Tiger and the Snow 2006 (Movie)

Attilio de Giovanni (Actor)

Coffee and Cigarettes 2004 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Fellini: I'm A Born Liar 2003 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Words In Progress 2003 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Pinocchio 2002 (Movie)

Pinocchio (Actor)

Fellini 2000 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

The 6th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Presenter

The 72nd Annual Academy Awards 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Presenter

Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar 1999 (Movie)

Detritus (Actor)

Chiedo Asilo 1999 (Movie)

Roberto (Actor)

The 56th Annual Golden Globe Awards 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Presenter

Life Is Beautiful 1998 (Movie)

Guido Orefice (Actor)

The Monster 1996 (Movie)

Loris (Actor)

Blake Edwards' Son of the Pink Panther 1993 (Movie)

Jacques Gambrelli (Actor)

Johnny Stecchino 1992 (Movie)

Johnny Stecchino (Actor)

Night on Earth 1992 (Movie)

Driver (Actor)

There's Nothing Left to Do But Cry 1992 (Movie)

Saverio (Actor)

The Voice of the Moon 1990 (Movie)

Salvini (Actor)

You Disturb Me 1990 (Movie)

Benigni (Actor)

The Little Devil 1988 (Movie)

Giuditta (Actor)

Down By Law 1986 (Movie)

Roberto (Actor)

Coffee and Cigarettes 1985 (Movie)

Bob (Actor)

Tuttobenigni 1984 (Movie)

(Actor)

Lieto Fine 1982 (Movie)

(Actor)

Il Pap'Occhio 1980 (Movie)

Benigni (Actor)

Clair de Femme 1979 (Movie)

Barman Clapsy's (Actor)

Il Minestrone 1979 (Movie)

Maestro (Actor)

Luna 1979 (Movie)

Upholsterer (Actor)

I Giorni Cantati 1978 (Movie)

(Actor)

Letti Selvaggi 1977 (Movie)

(Actor)

Tigers in Lipstick 1977 (Movie)

(Actor)
Writer (11)

The Tiger and the Snow 2006 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Pinocchio 2002 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Life Is Beautiful 1998 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Life Is Beautiful 1998 (Movie)

(From Story)

Johnny Stecchino 1992 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Johnny Stecchino 1992 (Movie)

(From Story)

There's Nothing Left to Do But Cry 1992 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

You Disturb Me 1990 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Little Devil 1988 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Little Devil 1988 (Movie)

(From Story)

Coffee and Cigarettes 1985 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Director (8)

The Tiger and the Snow 2006 (Movie)

(Director)

Pinocchio 2002 (Movie)

(Director)

Life Is Beautiful 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

The Monster 1996 (Movie)

(Director)

Johnny Stecchino 1992 (Movie)

(Director)

There's Nothing Left to Do But Cry 1992 (Movie)

(Director)

You Disturb Me 1990 (Movie)

(Director)

The Little Devil 1988 (Movie)

(Director)
Producer (1)

The Monster 1996 (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

Boasting a genuine gift for physical comedy, the exuberant Roberto Benigni started his career in underground theater and later attained great popularity in Italian films and television. Discovered while performing comic monologues in Rome, Benigni began to write and act in various Italian productions, earning significant local fame. Thanks to the imaginative casting of director Jim Jarmusch, he had his international breakout role in the laidback farce "Down by Law" (1986), despite speaking no English at the time. From the start, the left-leaning comic liked to flirt with the boundaries of taste - even making fun of the Pope on Italian television, something that was simply not done. He was also determined to push boundaries in cinema, choosing risky subject matter rarely utilized in comedy. An attempt to sell him to mainstream American audiences as a successor to Peter Sellers in "Son of the Pink Panther" (1993) did not fly, but Benigni's earnest comedy-drama about the Holocaust, "Life is Beautiful" (1997), became a groundbreaking global success and the highest grossing foreign language film in America. Such comedic experiments were consistently successful in Italy, but not always internationally, with his expensive interpretation of "Pinocchio" (2002) a major failure. While Benigni's high-spirited persona exasperated some, his obvious comedic abilities and artistic daring marked him as one of the most important comedians of his generation.

Relationships

Luigi Benigni

Father
Born c. 1918 Imprisoned in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp for two years (c. 1943-45) Benigni used his memories as basis for "La Vita E Bella/Life Is Beautiful" (1997)

Isolina Benigni

Mother
Born c. 1918

Albertina Benigni

Sister
Born c. 1947

Anna Benigni

Sister
Born c. 1948

Bruna Benigni

Sister
Born c. 1945

Nicoletta Braschi Actor

Wife
Co-starred in "Down By Law" (1986), "Johnny Stecchino" (1991), "The Monster" (1994), and "Life Is Beautiful" (1997) Married Dec. 26, 1991

EDUCATION

Graduated from an accounting school in Prato, Italy

Attended a seminary in Florence, Italy with plans to become a priest; dropped out when a flood damaged the school

Milestones

2012

Returned to features with a role in Woody Allen's romantic comedy "To Rome with Love"

2008

Made U.S. stage debut when he brought "TuttoDante" to America

2006

Toured Italy with his one-man show "TuttoDante/Everything About Dante"

2005

Starred in and directed "The Tiger and the Snow"; again co-starred with wife Nicoletta Braschi

2002

Returned to features as star and director of the live-action film "Pinocchio"

1998

Earned international acclaim for his tragicomedy "La Vita e Bella/Life Is Beautiful"; co-wrote, directed, and starred; film received seven Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor; became only the second person in Oscar history to direct hi

1994

Feature producing debut, "The Monster"; also co-wrote, directed, and starred

1993

American debut as a lead, Blake Edwards' "Son of the Pink Panther"

1991

Directed and starred in the Italian comedy "Johnny Stecchino"; again co-starred with Nicoletta Braschi

1986

U.S. screenwriting debut, co-wrote (with Jarmusch and Steven Wright) and co-starred (with Wright) in "Coffee and Cigarettes"; also directed by Jarmusch

1986

English-language acting debut, Jim Jarmusch's "Down By Law"; first collaboration with writer-director Jarmusch

1983

Starred in the concert film of his one-man show "TuttoBenigni"; directed by Giuseppe Bertolucci

1983

Feature writing and directing debut, "Tu Mi Turbi/You Disturb Me"; first film collaboration with future wife Nicoletta Braschi

1978

Played a lazy film critic who never watches the films he's asked to review on the TV series "L'altra domenica"

1977

Feature acting debut, "Berlinguer, Ti Voglio Bene/Berlinguer, I Love You"; directed by Giuseppe Bertolucci

1976

Became famous in Italy for the series "Onda Libera"; co-wrote with Giuseppe Bertolucci; the series was suspended due to censorship

1972

Made stage debut at the Satiri in Rome in the comedy "I Burosaui"

1968

Discovered at age 16 by the director of an experimental theater group while delivering an improvised satirical political speech in Italy

1963

Introduced to performing at age 10 by relatives who involved him in an improvised song and poetry act

Raised in Tuscany, Italy

Worked as a clown and magician's assistant in his early teens

First theatrical success with "Cioni Mario Di Gaspare Fu Giulia/Mario Was Julia"; written by Giuseppe Bertolucci

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