Giulietta Masina

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Giulietta Masina : biography

22 February 1921 – 23 March 1994

In 1969, Masina did her first work in English in The Madwoman of Chaillot which starred Katharine Hepburn. After almost two decades, during which she worked sporadically only in television, Masina appeared in Fellini’s Ginger and Fred (1986). She then rejected outside offers in order to attend to her husband’s precarious health. Her last film was Bertucelli’s A Day to Remember (1991).

In the late 1960s, Masina hosted a popular radio show, Lettere aperte, in which she addressed correspondence from her listeners. The letters were eventually published in a book. From the 1970s on, she appeared on television. Two performances, in Eleonora (1973) and Camilla (1976), respectively, were particularly acclaimed.

Early life

Giulia Anna Masina was born in San Giorgio di Piano, Bologna. Her parents were Gaetano Masina, a violinist and a music teacher, and Anna Flavia Pasqualini, a schoolteacher. Nonetheless, she spent most of her childhood and adolescence in Rome at the home of a widowed aunt. Masina had three elder siblings: Eugenia, and twins Mario and Maria. She attended the Ursuline sisters’ school where she took lessons in voice, piano and dance but not acting, although she did perform on stage. She graduated in Literature from the Sapienza University of Rome.

Filmography

  • Paisà (1946, debut, uncredited)
  • Without Pity (1948)
  • Behind Closed Shutters (1950)
  • Variety Lights (1950)
  • Cameriera bella presenza offresi… (1951)
  • The Shameless Sex (1952)
  • The White Sheik (1952)
  • Europa ’51 (1952)
  • La Strada (1954)
  • Il bidone (The Swindlers, 1955)
  • Nights of Cabiria (1957)
  • Fortunella (1958)
  • Nella città l’inferno (1959)
  • The High Life (1960)
  • Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
  • The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969)
  • The Feather Fairy (1985)
  • Ginger and Fred (1986)
  • A Day to Remember (1991)