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Lino Ventura

Lino Ventura

Angiolino Giuseppe Pasquale Ventura (14 July 1919 – 22 October 1987) was an Italian actor who grew up in France and starred in many French films. Born in Italy, he was raised in Paris by his Italian mother. After a first career as a professional wrestler was ended by injury, he was offered a part as a gang boss in the Jacques Becker film Touchez pas au grisbi (1954) and rapidly became one of France's favourite film actors, playing opposite many other great stars such as Bourvil, Jean Gabin, Alain Delon, Claude Rich, Bernard Blier, Jacques Brel, Michel Serrault, Jean-Paul Belmondo, and working with other leading directors such as Louis Malle, Claude Sautet, Claude Miller, and the great script writer Michel Audiard. Usually portraying a tough man, either a criminal or a cop, he also featured as a leader of the Resistance in the Jean-Pierre Melville directed Army of Shadows (L'armée des ombres, 1969). After one of his four children, a daughter, was born handicapped, he and his wife founded a charity Perce-Neige (Snowdrop) which aids disabled children and their parents. Though he never renounced his Italian citizenship, he was voted 23rd in a poll for the 100 greatest Frenchmen.
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