Francesco Benigno
Francesco Benigno1.JPG
Francesco Benigno in 2005
Born4 October 1967
Palermo, Sicily, Italy
OccupationActor and singer

Francesco Benigno (born 4 October 1967), is an Italian actor, director, singer and television personality.

Early life

Benigno was born in Palermo, Sicily, the twelfth of thirteen children. He grew up in Via Cataldo Parisio located in the densely populated Noce quarter.[1][2] He lost his mother at the age of nine and has described his childhood as having been difficult. Subjected to beatings from his father, he ran away from home at 14 and lived on the streets, sleeping in metro stations and empty trains. He also fell into bad company.[3][1]


He made his first acting debut in 1989, in Forever Mery, directed by Marco Risi who had discovered him at the age of 21.[1] He played the same role of Natale Sperandeo in the film's sequel, Ragazzi fuori, for which he won two awards as Best Actor, the Ciak d'Oro at the Venice Film Festival, and the Premio Piper.[4] Both films were set in his native Palermo.[1]

Benigno has since performed regularly in cinema, television, and has appeared on stage in two theatrical performances. Benigno appeared on the reality show La Fattoria in 2005, and has made many television guest appearances.[1] In 2009, he participated as guest at the Sanremo Music Festival, singing "L'Italia" in a duet with Marco Masini.[5] In 2008, he won the Grifone d'argento (Silver Griffin Award) at the Giffoni Film Festival for best director of a short film, the autobiographical Benigno.[1][6][7]

In 2020, he directed the feature film Il colore del dolore, which was awarded with the critics' prize at the Terra di Siena Film Festival.[2][8]

Personal life

Benigno has two sons, Giuseppe and Manuel from two relationships as well as two grandchildren. Upon becoming an actor, he transferred to Rome but has since returned to Palermo.[1]



Short films



(A partial listing)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Da Mery per sempre alla regia, la nuova vita di Francesco Benigno". Il Tempo (in Italian). 5 December 2019. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  2. ^ a b Mario Pintagro (13 September 2020). "Francesco Benigno: "La mia vita di attore per caso fra strada, fughe e festival". la Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Ricordate Francesco Benigno, attore di Mery per sempre? Ecco com'è". Kronic it. Lorenzo Villa. 6 May 2021. Retrieved 27 April 2022. https//
  4. ^ Enrico Lancia (1998). I premi del cinema (1927-1997). Rome: Gremese Editore. p. 316. ISBN 9788877422217.
  5. ^ "Marco Masini con Francesco Benigno, Povia, e Marco Carta con i Tazenda e i Gemelli Diversi". Riviera24 (in Italian). 20 February 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  6. ^ "Giffoni, ecco i vincitori". Best Movie (in Italian). 4 March 2009. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  7. ^ "I vincitori del Giffoni Film Festival". Sentieri Selvaggi (in Italian). 28 July 2008. Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  8. ^ ""Il colore del dolore" di Francesco Benigno vince il premio della critica al Terra di Siena Film Festival". Palermo Today (in Italian). 6 October 2020. Retrieved 14 January 2021.