Marcello Mastroianni was one of Italian cinema’s leading men. He was born in Fontana Liri, 90 kilometers from Rome, on September 28, 1924. In 1933, he moved to Rome and started working as an extra in the movies. After the war, Mastroianni began to take acting lessons. In 1948, he landed a role in an Italian production of A Streetcar Called Desire. Over the next few years Mastroianni acted in a number of comedies and dramas.In 1958, he starred with Vittorio Gassman in Big Deal on Madonna Street, a seminal Italian comedy. His breakthrough came in 1960, when director Federico Fellini cast him as the lead in La Dolce Vita. Mastroianni played cynical, disenchanted journalist Marcello Rubini. His character was the product of a society that cared more about style than substance. La Dolce Vita was an international success.
Mastroianni’s refined, subtle acting style won the respect and admiration of moviegoers and critics. He was sought after by many leading directors. In 1961, he played Baron Fernando Cefalù in Pietro Germi’s Divorce, Italian Style, another hit movie. Mastroianni's performance earned him an Academy Award nomination. He worked with Fellini once again in 8½ (1963), in which Mastroianni played a director suffering an existential and creative crisis. He then starred in many of Vittorio De Sica’s films, often alongside Sophia Loren. Most memorable are Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, Marriage Italian-Style and Sunflower. During the 1970s, while on the set of the film Liza, Mastroianni met French actress Catherine Deneuve. The two eventually had a daughter, Chiara. During the 1980s, he continued to work with Fellini, starring in City of Women, Ginger and Fred and Intervista. The documentary I Remember, Yes, I Remember, during which Mastroianni talks about his life, was released in 1997. Mastroianni died in Paris on December 19, 1996. He was 72.