Renato Rascel

  • Born: (Turin, Piedmont, Italy)
  • Died: (Rome, Lazio, Italy) age 78

Renato Rascel, stage name of Renato Ranucci, was an Italian actor, comedian, songwriter and dancer.

The very first theatrical experiences take place in the drama directed by his father, the "Fortitudo". The first outing on stage is in Più che monelli - a heartbreaking drama - in the part of a child who dies from a stone in the head placed by a partner. Later he played his first brilliant role, that of a 'burino' who comes to the city to be photographed, in a farce called The Photographer in Embarrassment.

Under the pseudonym Sunny Boy, at the age of 15 he joined a musical ensemble called "Arcobaleno", which runs around Roman dance halls. Luigi Vitolo, aka "Majestic", Neapolitan impresario, dancer and director of the orchestra of the same name, launches him in some numbers of various art, including hi-hat and tap-dance performances. His companion is the Ligurian Piero Pieri.

In the early 1940s Rascel participated in "jazz superspectacles" and revues signed by Marchionne, Bixio, Cherubini, Cerio and Garatti. With the authors Letico and Cotone, newspapers come to talk about revues with light and tasty textures.

The entrance to the large révue takes place alongside Garinei and Giovannini, who in 1950 called him to act in the company of Wanda Osiris. In the meantime, Rascel has created his own company with which he made his debut in the role of artistic director. The set-ups are disastrous for the comedian, due to a series of sudden inconveniences that have occurred. At the same time, the cinema called Rascel to revisit his theatrical sketches for the big screen and, in a short time, the production on the set quantitatively equaled the theatrical one.

1952 marks the "turning point" from comedian to full-fledged performer: on the one hand Alberto Lattuada calls him to interpret The Coat, a film based on the story of the same name by Gogol, which will receive the coveted "Silver Ribbon" award ; on the other, Garinei and Giovannini create for him the first Italian musical comedies, more precisely defined as "musical tales".

The "intellectual" world becomes aware of him calling him to interpret successful films and scripts: Cesare Zavattini, Eduardo De Filippo, Franco Zeffirelli, Achille Campanile and Vittorio De Sica see in him the naive and sometimes pathetic character ready to be characterized in a key somewhat unpublished grotesque. During the same period, television calls the actor to direct variety programs in which his art is explored in its multifaceted nature: from the busiest songs to comic scenes tout court, Rascel collects a success that leads him to make himself known abroad .

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