One of the most popular supporting actors of 1960s and '70s Italian cinema, Romolo Valli was a vibrant, mustachioed man prone to roles of solemn dignity underpinned by great, fiery passion. He often appeared as young, brash World War II soldiers before becoming a relatively frequent collaborator of the daring filmmaker Luchino Visconti, who cast him in his breakthrough role as the largely virtuous but throughly conflicted Father Pirrone in the tumultuous period epic "The Leopard" ('63). In subsequent years, he traveled far and wide to make Italian (and sometimes French and British) films with some of the most sought-after international directors, delivering memorable small roles under the inimitable Roman Polanski and Roger Vadim, the "Barbarella" helmer, among others. After getting increasingly more substantial work as a fervid Mexican revolutionist in Sergio Leone's overlooked spaghetti-western classic "Duck, You Sucker!" and as a humble father in Vittorio de Sica's sociopolitical literary adaptation, "The Garden of the Finzi-Continis," he made one of his most praised major appearances as an almost preternatural hotel manager in Visconti's luminous tale of artistic self-consumption, "Death in Venice" (1971). Valli's life and career were cut short in 1980, when he died in a car accident at the age of 54.
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