Rosanna Schiaffino

Rosanna Schiaffino (November 25, 1939 – October 17, 2009) was an Italian film actress. She appeared on the covers of Italian, German, French, British and American magazines. She was born in Genoa, into a well-off family. Her mother encouraged her showbusiness ambitions, helping her to study privately at a drama school. She also took part in beauty contests. When she was 14 she won the Miss Liguria beauty contest, moving into modelling jobs, with photographs in important magazines, including Life. She began a promising acting career in the post-neorealist cinema of the 1950s. She was noticed by film producer Franco Cristaldi, who paired her with Marcello Mastroianni in Piece of the Sky in 1959. More important was her second film for him, La sfida (The Challenge), directed by Francesco Rosi, where she made a name for her powerful but sensitive performance as a Neapolitan girl, inspired by the real-life character of Pupetta Maresca. The film was well received at the 1958 Venice festival. Schiaffino was launched as the "Italian Hedy Lamarr".


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