Leone, Sergio

(1929-1989)
   Director, screenwriter, producer. The son of silent film director Roberto Roberti (Vincenzo Leone) and actress Bice Walerian, Leone entered the film industry at a very young age, serving as an unpaid assistant and appearing in a small role in one of his father's last films when he was only 12. In the immediate postwar period, he worked in various capacities on a host of films, including making an appearance as one of the German seminarians in Vittorio De Sica's Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves, 1948). In the 1950s he served as assistant director on many of the big-budget American productions being shot at Cinecitta, including Mervyn Le Roy's Quo vadis? (1950), Robert Wise's Helen of Troy (1955), and William Wyler's Ben-Hur (1959). Having also, during this period, regularly served as assistant director to Mario Bonnard, he took over directing Bonnard's remake of Gli ultimi giorni di Pompei (The Last Days of Pompeii, 1959) at short notice but subsequently chose to go back to working as assistant director to Robert Aldrich on the ill-fated Sodom and Gomorrah (1961) before writing and directing his own sword-and-sandal epic, Il colosso di Rodi (The Colossus of Rhodes, 1961).
   Real success, however, came with Per un pugno di dollari (A Fistful of Dollars, 1964, released in the United States in 1967), the film with which Leone is credited as having given birth to the Western all'italiana, or as it often disparagingly came to be known outside of Italy, the spaghetti Western. Made on a shoestring budget and under the pseudonym Bob Robertson, the film proved to be an unexpected but enormous commercial success, prompting Leone to make the four other Westerns that confirmed his mastery of the genre, Per qualche dollaro in piu (For a Few Dollars More, 1965), Il buono, il brutto, il cattivo (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, 1966), Cera una volta il West (Once upon a Time in the West, 1968), and Giu la testa (Duck, You Sucker, 1971).
   For the next decade Leone limited himself to producing films for other directors, including Tonino Valerii's Il mio nome e nessuno (My Name Is Nobody, 1973) and Carlo Verdone's directorial debut, Un sacco bello (Fun Is Beautiful, 1980), while preparing to make what many regard as his most accomplished film, Cera una volta in America (Once upon a Time in America, 1984), the magnificent gangster epic that finally brought him the recognition of a Nastro d'argento as well as nominations for both BAFTA and Golden Globe awards. This was to have been followed by an even more spectacular film on the German siege of Leningrad during World War II, which was apparently in the final stages of preparation at the time of Leone's untimely death in 1989.

Historical dictionary of Italian cinema. . 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • LEONE, Sergio — (1929–1989)    Born in 1929 in Rome, the son of a film director from the silent era, Sergio Leone superseded John Ford as the dominant maker of Westerns in the 1960s. His rise to fame and influence was completely unexpected. In Italy in the 1950s …   Westerns in Cinema

  • Leone, Sergio — (1929–1989)    The inventor of the “spaghetti Western,” Sergio Leone was uniquely able to make films that were both a critical and a box office success. Born in Rome, Leone was what Italians call a figlio d’arte insofar as both his father and… …   Historical Dictionary of modern Italy

  • Leone, Sergio — (1929 1989)    Director, screenwriter, producer. The son of silent film director Roberto Roberti (Vincenzo Leone) and actress Bice Walerian, Leone entered the film industry at a very young age, serving as an unpaid assistant and appearing in a… …   Guide to cinema

  • Leone, Sergio — born Jan. 3, 1929?, Rome, Italy died April 30, 1989, Rome Italian film director. After working as an assistant to Italian and U.S. directors, he made his directing debut with The Colossus of Rhodes (1961). He won a wide audience with A Fistful of …   Universalium

  • Leone, Sergio — (3 ene. ¿1929?, Roma, Italia–30 abr. 1989, Roma). Director de cine italiano. Después de trabajar como asistente de dirección con realizadores italianos y estadounidenses, debutó como director con El coloso de Rodas (1961). Captó un extenso… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Leone, Sergio — • ЛЕО НЕ (Leone) Серджо (р. 3.1.1929, по др. данным, 1921)    итал. режиссёр. С сер. 40 х гг. работал ассистентом реж. У. Уайлера, Р. Уайза, Ф. Циннемана и др. Писал сц. псевдоисторич. ф. и ф. на мифологич. сюжеты. Как режиссёр завершил съёмки ф …   Кино: Энциклопедический словарь

  • LEONE (S.) — LEONE SERGIO (1921 1989) Né à Rome, Sergio Leone est le fils du metteur en scène du cinéma muet Roberto Leone Roberti et de l’actrice Bice Waleran. Son nom apparaît d’abord au générique de quelques «péplums» (qui ne sont pas parmi les meilleurs… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • leone — ● leone nom masculin Unité monétaire principale de la Sierra Leone. Leone (Sergio) (1929 1989) cinéaste italien; créateur du western spaghetti (Pour une poignée de dollars, 1964; Il était une fois dans l Ouest, 1969) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Sergio Leone — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Leone. Sergio Leone Données clés Naissance 3 janvier 1929 Rome, Italie Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • leone — /lee ohn /, n. a paper money, cupronickel or silver coin, and monetary unit of Sierra Leone, equal to 100 cents. [1960 65; (SIERRA) LEONE] * * * (as used in expressions) Leone Sergio Sierra Leone Republic of Sierra Leone * * * …   Universalium

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