Laura Antonelli
Prominent Istrians

Tragic Film Star Laura Antonelli Dies

73-year-old actress found dead at home in Ladispoli, where she retired some time ago. Seventies sex symbol later arrested on drugs charges and finally acquitted


di Rinaldo Frignani

ROME - Laura Antonelli has died at home in Ladispoli. The body was found by her housekeeper on arriving for work at 8 am on Monday but the precise time of death is unclear. The actress, who would have been 74 in November, was born at Pola (now Pula) on the Istrian peninsula in what is now Croatia. It was Ms Antonelli’s housekeeper who alerted the police. Laura Antonelli, whose real name was Laura Antonaz, was one of the best-known stars of Italian cinema.

From screen success to arrest for drug offences

Laura Antonelli was born at Pola on 28 November 1941. While she was still a child, she fled to Rome where she achieved success in Salvatore Sampieri’s film Malizia [Malice]. She went on to make a host of other films, including Claude Chabrol’s Docteur Popaul [Scoundrel in White], which led to her meeting Jean-Paul Belmondo, Luigi Comencini’s Mio Dio, come sono caduta in basso! [How Long Can You Fall?] and Giuseppe Patroni Griffi’s Divina creatura [The Divine Nymph]. In the last of these, Ms Antonelli played a nude scene seven minutes long, an eternity at the time (1975). In 1976, she played Giuliana in Luchino Visconti’s L’innocente [The Innocent], in 1977, she was Sandra in Mauro Bolognini’s Gran bollito [Black Journal] and in 1981, Clara in Ettore Scola’s Passion d’amore [Passion of Love]. Ms Antonelli worked throughout the Eighties in comedies and erotic films featuring in the all-star cast of Castellano and Pipolo’s Grandi magazzini [Department Store] and alongside Diego Abatantuono in Carlo Vanzina’s Viuuulentemente mia [Violently mine]. In 1985, she starred as La Venexiana [The Venetian Woman] with Monica Guerritore in a film based on the 16th-century comedy of the same name. Towards the end of the Eighties, Ms Antonelli moved to the small screen, starring in two popular two miniserials, the 1988 Gli indifferenti (A Time of Indifference) by Mauro Bolognini and Enrico Maria Salerno’s Disperatamente Giulia [Desperately Giulia] (1989).

Legal woes

For Laura Antonelli, the Nineties marked the beginning of a painful decline. On 27 April 1991, police found 36 grams of cocaine at her villa in Cerveteri. She was arrested and spent several days in Rome’s Rebibbia prison. The lower court sentenced her to three years and six months for drug dealing only for the Rome court of appeal to acquit her nine years later, accepting that although she was a habitual consumer of narcotics, she was not a dealer. Ms Antonelli then faced a succession of physical and emotional issues that came to a head with a lengthy but unsuccessful civil action for damages following cosmetic surgery that left her face disfigured. She did receive compensation for the length of her six and a half-year trial but acquittal came only in 2000.

Banfi’s appeal and invitation to forget

More recently, Laura Antonelli took legal action against her son, Germano Randi, and the housekeeper, Nina Sartorio, for allegedly misappropriating €100,000 and two valuable properties at Ladispoli. In 2010, actor Lino Banfi made an appeal for his friend and fellow film star to be granted a pension. Ms Antonelli subsequently issued an invitation through her lawyer to everyone to forget her. “Earthly life no longer interests me”.

English translation by Giles Watson

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Created: Saturday, August 01, 2015. Last Updated: Friday, August 07, 2015
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