Franca Valeri (1920 – 2020)

Franca Valeri (1920 - 2020)

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The star Franca Valeri, legend of the Italian comedy, who had turned 100 years old last July 31, died this Sunday (9/9) in her home in Rome, while sleeping.

Born Alma Franca Maria Norsa in 1920, in the city Milan, of a family of Jewish origin, she starred in around 50 films throughout her career, in addition to numerous series, radio programs and mainly plays, her greatest passion.

Her film debut only happened at the age of 30, after she had already established herself as a comedian on radio and in the theater. The first film was the classic “Women and Lights” (1950), written and directed by the young Federico Fellini, in partnership with Alberto Lattuada. It is said that Fellini himself selected it. She stole the scenes and soon became the protagonist, having her first prominent role in “Totò a Cores” (1952), in which she starred with the famous comedian Totò.

Valeri shone in the golden age of Italian comedy, starring two Dino Risi classics: “The Sign of Venus” (1955) and “The Widower” (1959). He also worked for Mario Monicelli in “A Hero of Our Times” (1955) and Luigi Comencini in “those husbands” (1957), made a romantic pair with Marcello Mastroianni in “Bígamo a Força” (1956) and stood out in “A Casa Intolerante ”(1959), one of the emblematic films of the sexual turn of Italian productions.

Its popularity in the 1950s even influenced fashion, leading several Italians to imitate their short haircut.

More than a beautiful actress with impeccable timing for comedy, Valeri also enchanted filmmakers for her talent as a screenwriter, a role that began to earn her credits in “The Sign of Venus”, when she helped Risi and Comencini create the original story about two cousins, one with an excess of suitors (Sophia Loren) and the other with a lack (herself). Valeri also co-wrote and starred in “Praia Sharks” (1961), “Parigi o Cara” (1962) and “Sorry, Make Love” (1968).

The intellectual inclination was no surprise to anyone who knew her. Alma Franca had chosen the pseudonym Franca Valeri in honor of the writer, poet and philosopher Paul Valéry.

All this talent suffered with the spicy guidance of Italian commercial cinema, which led her to film even with the Eurotrash king Lucio Fulci, in “Os Maníacos” (1965). Her cinematographic career stagnated at the time of “Ettore, O Machão” (1972) and she decided to dedicate herself more to theater and television, creating and starring in various plays, series and telefilms, in addition to directing operas.

Her last work was the telefilm “Non Tutto è Risolto”, which she wrote in 2014.

In 2020, she was awarded the David di Donatello trophy (the Italian Oscar) for the achievements of her film career.

“Deep sadness at the death of Franca Valeri, an icon of our theater, culture and spectacle. She presented us with countless moments of humor and thought, of elegance and wit. We are grateful for all these gifts, ”wrote Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Twitter.

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