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Alberto Sordi

Sordi in 1962
Born(1920-06-15)15 June 1920
Rome, Kingdom of Italy
Died24 February 2003(2003-02-24) (aged 82)
Rome, Italy
Other namesAlbertone
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • director
  • singer
  • screenwriter
Years active1937–1998

Alberto Sordi Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (15 June 1920 – 24 February 2003) was an Italian actor, comedian, director, singer, and screenwriter.[1][2]

Early life

Sordi was born in Rome to schoolteacher and musician parents. He was the last of five children. Sordi was named in honour of an older sibling who died several days after his birth.


Sordi enrolled in Milan's dramatic arts academy but was kicked out because of his thick Roman accent. In the meantime, he studied to be a bass opera singer. His vocal distinctiveness would become his trademark.[3]


Cinema and television

Sordi[4] established himself as an icon from a career that spanned seven decades[5] of Italian cinema with his skills in comedy and light drama.

His movie career began in the late 1930s with bit parts and secondary characters in wartime movies. His early roles included Fellini's The White Sheik in 1952; Fellini's I vitelloni (1953), a movie about young slackers, in which he plays a weak immature loafer; and a starring role in The Bachelor as a single man trying to find love.[citation needed] Sordi frequently appeared in Italian historical comedies.[6]

In 1959, he appeared in Monicelli's Great War, considered by many critics and film historians to be one of the best Italian comedies. The Hollywood Foreign Press recognized his abilities when he was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actor in a Musical or Comedy for To Bed or Not to Bed (1963). Sordi acted alongside Britain's David Niven in the World War II comedy The Best of Enemies. In 1965, he was in another highly regarded comedy, I complessi (Complexes).[citation needed]

In 1969, he was a juror at the 6th Moscow International Film Festival.[7] In 1984, he directed and co-scripted Tutti dentro (Off to jail, everybody), in which he played a judge who has warrants for corruption served on ministers and businessmen.[8] In 1985, he was a member of the jury at the 35th Berlin International Film Festival.[9]


Sordi was also a prominent voice actor and dubber.[10] Prior to the war he began working as a dubber for the Italian versions of many Laurel and Hardy shorts and movies, voicing Oliver Hardy after winning an MGM contest for the Italian voice nearest to that of Oliver Hardy.[11] Sordi provided the voice of Hardy in more than forty Laurel and Hardy films from 1939 to 1951, paired with Mauro Zambuto, who voiced Stan Laurel.

He also appeared as a voice actor in other Italian-language versions and Italian films.[12] Sordi provided voice-overs for such actors as Bruce Bennett, Anthony Quinn, John Ireland, Robert Mitchum, Pedro Armendáriz and Frank Faylen. He also dubbed Italian actors such as Franco Fabrizi, Marcello Mastroianni and Enzo Fiermonte for English-speaking audiences. His own voice was dubbed over by Gualtiero De Angelis in Cuori nella tormenta and Carlo Romano in Bullet for Stefano. Sordi ceased his career as a dubber in 1956.[citation needed]

Personal life

Sordi was discreet about his private life. Despite never marrying and having no children, Sordi was in several relationships, including a nine-year romance with actress Andreina Pagnani.[13]

Sordi was raised Roman Catholic. Sordi was also a big supporter of AS Roma football team. This was something he expressed a fondness of in some of his films.

Awards and honors

Sordi won seven David di Donatello, Italy's most prestigious film award, holding the record of David di Donatello as best actor, and four awards for his works from the Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists. He also received a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement at the Venice Film Festival in 1995, and The Golden Globe Award[14] for his performance as an Italian labourer stranded in Sweden in To Bed or Not to Bed. In 2000, the City of Rome made him honorary mayor for a day to celebrate his eightieth birthday.[citation needed]

At the 22nd Berlin International Film Festival, he won the Silver Bear for Best Actor award for Detenuto in attesa di giudizio.[15] At the 13th Moscow International Film Festival he won a Special Prize for I Know That You Know That I Know.[16]

Sordi received honorary citizenship from Kansas City, Missouri for his references to the city in the 1954 film, Un americano a Roma.[17][18]

Illness and death

In 2001, Sordi was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died of pneumonia and bronchitis at his house in Rome on 24 February 2003. A crowd in excess of a million gathered to pay their last respects at his funeral by the Basilica of St. John Lateran.[19]


Sordi in Under the Sun of Rome (1948)
Sordi and Lea Padovani in Il seduttore (1954)



Dubbing roles


Live action



Composer and singer


  1. ^ "Alberto Sordi's dubbing contributions". Antoniogenna.net. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  2. ^ informatici, Segretariato generale della Presidenza della Repubblica – Servizio sistemi. "Il sito ufficiale della Presidenza della Repubblica". Retrieved 22 November 2016.
  3. ^ "Alberto Sordi". MYmovies. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  4. ^ Burton, Richard (23 October 2012). The Richard Burton Diaries. Yale University Press. ISBN 978-0300180107. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  5. ^ "Alberto Sordi comic icon of Italian cinema". Independent.co.uk. 26 February 2003. Archived from the original on 4 April 2018. Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  6. ^ José Pagliardini (2002). "Alberto Sordi patriote. L'Histoire par le rire, histoire d'en rire ?". Italies (in French). DOAJ. 6 (6): 415–428. doi:10.4000/italies.1627. ISSN 1275-7519. OCLC 8081002838.
  7. ^ "6th Moscow International Film Festival (1969)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 17 December 2012.
  8. ^ "Italian actor Alberto Sordi". Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  9. ^ "Berlinale: Juries". berlinale.de. Retrieved 8 January 2011.
  10. ^ Cronologia fondamentale dell'epoca d'oro del doppiaggio italiano Dagli albori agli anni 1970 (in Italian)
  11. ^ "Alberto Sordi, Italy's movie legend or Albertone Nazionale". 26 February 2013.
  12. ^ "ALBERTO SORDI - 15/06/1920 - 24/02/2003" (in Italian). trovacinema.repubblica.it. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  13. ^ "ALBERTO SORDI E ANDREINA PAGNANI: CHI ERA LA COMPAGNA DELL'ATTORE" (in Italian). movieplayer.it. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2020.
  14. ^ "Alberto Sordi and Golden Globe Awards". Retrieved 3 April 2018.
  15. ^ "Berlinale 1972: Prize Winners". berlinale.de. Retrieved 16 March 2010.
  16. ^ "13th Moscow International Film Festival (1983)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 7 November 2013. Retrieved 7 February 2013.
  17. ^ (in Italian) Biography of Alberto Sordi. See "1951–1960" Archived 11 August 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Alberto Sordi on Roma Virtuale website; accessed 14 July 2020.(in Italian)
  19. ^ La Repubblica/spettacoli_e_cultura: Per Albertone 250mila in piazza San Giovanni