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Paolo Villaggio
Villaggio in 2010
Born(1932-12-30)30 December 1932
Died3 July 2017(2017-07-03) (aged 84)
OccupationActor, writer, comedian
Years active1956–2017
Political partyProletarian Democracy (1987)
Pannella List (1992–1999)
Spouse(s)Maura Albites (1958–2017)
ChildrenElisabetta Villaggio
Pierfrancesco Villaggio
RelativesPiero Villaggio (brother)

Paolo Villaggio (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpaːolo vilˈladdʒo]; 30 December 1932 – 3 July 2017) was an Italian actor, voice actor, writer, director and comedian. He is noted for the characters he created with paradoxical and grotesque characteristics: Professor Kranz, the ultra-timid Giandomenico Fracchia, and the obsequious and meek accountant Ugo Fantozzi, perhaps the favourite character in Italian comedy. He wrote several books, usually of satirical character. He also acted in dramatic roles, and appeared in several movies.

Early life

Paolo Villaggio was born in Genova, to Ettore Villaggio (1905–1992), a surveyor originally from Palermo, and Maria, originally from Venice, a German-language teacher. Paolo had a twin brother, Piero, who taught at the University of Pisa.[citation needed]

From there, Villaggio was hired for the TV programme Quelli della domenica (The Sunday guys), in which Fantozzi made his first appearance, introduced his characters, the aggressive "Professor Kranz" and the hypocritical "Giandomenico Fracchia".[1]


Villaggio as Fantozzi
Villaggio as Fantozzi


He has received several cinema awards, including the David di Donatello (1990), the Nastro d'Argento (1992) and the Golden Lion for his entire career (1992).


After his television experience, Villaggio started writing, for the magazines L'Espresso and L'Europeo, short stories featuring accountant Ugo Fantozzi, a man with a weak character, dogged by misfortune and by the "mega-director" of the "mega-company" where he works. In 1971, the publishing house Rizzoli released the book Fantozzi, a collection of these stories, which sold over a million copies,[1] followed soon by the sequel Il secondo tragico libro di Fantozzi.

The first book received the Gogol Prize in Moscow and led to his 1975 appearance in the film Fantozzi, directed by Luciano Salce. The film's success led to a sequel, Il secondo tragico Fantozzi, with the same director in the following year, in which Fantozzi delivered his most famous line: "Per me... La corazzata Kotiomkin [sic] ... è una cagata pazzesca!!!", or roughly "As I see it... Battleship Kotiomkin [sic]... is an unbelievable load of crap!!!".[1]

Six sequel books were then released, with the last one published in 2012. Seven other films followed, which ended in 1999, but were often much less based on the short stories and the books.

Other films

Villaggio has played in numerous comedies. He has been directed by Federico Fellini (La voce della luna, 1990, with Roberto Benigni), Lina Wertmüller (Io speriamo che me la cavo, 1992), by Ermanno Olmi (The Secret of the Old Woods, 1993), by Mario Monicelli (Cari fottutissimi amici, 1994), and by Gabriele Salvatores (Denti, 2000).

Villaggio continued writing while acting in films. He moved to the Mondadori publishing house in 1994. He published Fantozzi saluta e se ne va (1994–1995; "Fantozzi Says Goodbye and Leaves"), Vita morte e miracoli di un pezzo di merda ("Life, Death and Miracles of a Piece of Shit", 2002), 7 grammi in 70 anni ("7 Grammes in 70 Years", 2003) and his latest, Sono incazzato come una belva ("I'm Fucking Mad as a Beast") in 2004.

He also acted in stage plays, playing Arpagone in L'Avare of Molière in 1996. In 1996 he also led the satirical news bulletin Striscia la notizia (broadcast on Canale 5), together with Massimo Boldi. More recently, he participated in the television fiction Carabinieri, in which he played the role of a tramp who often helped the police to solve crimes. Villaggio was also a lyricist. With fellow Genoan Fabrizio De André, he wrote two songs, "Carlo Martello torna dalla battaglia di Poitiers" ("Charles Martel returning from the Battle of Poitiers") and "Il fannullone" ("The Loafer").


Villaggio died on 3 July 2017 from complications of diabetes in Rome at the age of 84.[2]

Selected filmography





  1. ^ a b c Mereghetti, Paolo (2003). Il Mereghetti: Dizionario dei Film 2004. Milano: Baldini Castoldi Dalai. ISBN 88-8490-419-6.
  2. ^ "Paolo Villaggio, Comic TV and Film Actor, Dies at 84". The Hollywood Reporter. 3 July 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017.