Belfast Telegraph

Film producer De Laurentiis dies

The Academy Award-winning Italian film impresario and producer Dino De Laurentiis who helped revolutionise the way movies are funded and sold, has died.

Daughter Raffaella De Laurentiis said her 91-year-old father, producer of Serpico and Barbarella, was surrounded by family when he died last night at his home in Beverly Hills.

De Laurentiis was regarded as a legend of Italian New Wave film-making. His works also included Bitter Rice and La Strada.

He was tiny, but tough and utterly tireless on set. "Such a little lion," was how his second wife, producer Martha De Laurentiis, put it when he turned 80.

Like any larger-than-life movie figure, De Laurentiis went through boom times and busts. But he always bounced back and his passion for movies never dimmed.

His career spanned hundreds of films, including several Oscar winners and he worked with some of the biggest stars and best directors in the business. His credits include box-office and critical successes such as U-571, War And Peace, Ragtime, Three Days Of The Condor and Blue Velvet.

The Academy Award-winning Serpico in 1973 with Al Pacino was De Laurentiis' Hollywood debut. But by then, he already had two Italian-made Oscar-winners, Federico Fellini's La Strada and Nights of Cabiria, to his credit.

But he was also battered by flops, including the infamous Dune, in 1984 and a truly awful King Kong sequel.

Personal tragedy also took its toll. In 1981, his son Federico was killed in a plane crash.

"My father still to this day can't speak of him...He told me that every morning he wakes up and thinks of him," another daughter Veronica said nearly 20 years after Federico's death.

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