Nino Taranto, full name Antonio Eduardo Taranto, was an Italian actor, comedian and singer.
He made his thirteen-year-old debut at the Central Theater of Naples, interpreting what would become his specialties: the dramatic "song in jacket" and that of "speaker" in evening dress, revealing the extraordinary qualities of character that would make him, for over half century, one of the most loved interpreters by the Italian public.
In 1933 he was discovered by Anna Fougez, who made his debut in the great revue, to which he would have dedicated himself until the second post-war period, alongside Wanda Osiris and then to Titina De Filippo, giving life to extraordinary 'macchiette', among which the unforgettable Ciccio Cheese, perfectly cut out on him by the duo Cioffi and Pisano: a little jellied man, betrayed and mistreated by his fiancée, who for yet another free spite scissors the brim of his hat. Precisely that shredded scouring pad became one of the symbols of his comedy and inspired some lucky revues such as Mazza, Pezza and Pizzo and Quagliarulo goes away, in addition to the popular film The Baron Carlo Mazza by Guido Brignone (1948).
He made his film debut in 1938 with Nonna Felicita by Mattoli but was permanently active after the war playing a hundred films.
However, he was able to fully express his comic face only alongside the great Totò, of whom he was a reliable and devoted right-hand man: from the complicity of Totòtruffa 62 by Camillo Mastrocinque (1961) to the parody of Totò against Maciste (1962) by Fernando Cerchio, up to the overwhelming Il monaco di Monza by Sergio Corbucci (1963). From the mid-sixties until 1971 (the year in which he made his last film), Taranto took part, as an exceptional characteristic, in nineteen musicarelli, alongside important names in light music, such as Gigliola Cinquetti, Caterina Caselli, Gianni Morandi and Albano Carrisi.
Nino Taranto was also one of the absolute comedians most present on the radio, where he accentuated, more than the elegance that distinguished him on the stage, his flexible voice and the joyful Neapolitan characterization.
In the 1960s, he grew in popularity with numerous television appearances.
His participation in the television variety Io, Agata e tu (1970) was very successful, directed by Romolo Siena, in which he flanked with irrepressible verve the singer Nino Ferrer and the young Raffaella Carrà; in this program he had the chance to bring back to success a song from his cartoony repertoire, Agata. Also in 1970, Taranto also emerged in a dramatic role in the television drama Le terre del Sacramento, from the novel by Francesco Jovine.