His birth name was Antonio De Curtis, but the world knows him best as Totò, the Neapolitan comedian whose distinctive face and nutty ways made him one of the most popular Italian film stars in history.
Totò was born on February 15, 1898 in Rione Sanità, a poor area of Naples. As a boy, he had a passion for sports. Legend has it that a nose injury caused by a football or boxing match gave him his signature look that played a major role in the personality of his characters. In 1917, Totò started acting locally in Napoli's comedia dell'arte and wrote poetry in his dialect. In the early 20s, he headed to
|A scene from Pasolini's "Uccellacci e uccellini"|
|Totò with Liliana Castagnola|
together for some time. After he reportedly left to take a part up north, Castagnola committed suicide. A few years later, he met a woman, Diana Bandini Rodigliani with whom he had a daughter. He named the baby girl Liliana after Castagnola. He married Diana in 1934 or 1935 (various dates have been given), but the marriage ended in 1940 when he filed for divorce on the grounds of her infidelity. The two managed to live together for the sake of their daughter, but they were each free to have other relationships. Some years later, Totò met actress, Silvana Pampanini on the set of "47 Morto Chi Parla." At the same time this new relationship was blooming, his live-in ex-wife Diana accepted a marriage proposal from a lawyer. Totò was hurt and wrote the song "Malafemmina" (The Bad Girl), which has been called “A declaration of love and hate to his first wife.”
|L to R- Liliana De Curtis, Totò and Franca Faldini|
According to the website, www.antoniodecurtis.com, several of Totò's films will be broadcast on Italian television this week. The broadcasts will begin on 30 November with "Destinazione Piovarolo." For more information, and a complete schedule, go to http://www.antoniodecurtis.com/tv.htm.