SWDB Hall of Fame/Special
Born May 26, 1946, Toledo, Ohio. He is one of world’s foremost authorities on Spaghetti Westerns and Euro-Westerns. Born in 1946, in Toledo, Ohio and now living in Anaheim, California, Betts has been a lifelong fan and enthusiast of the western genre, having first seen A Fistful of Dollars on its American opening night back in 1966. Since 1985, he has been the main editor of the long running fanzine, Westerns….All’Italiana. He also runs the online blog of the same name as well as the Spaghetti Western Database’s obituary site, Cemetery with Crosses. Having amassed a vast collection of Spaghetti Western related paraphernalia, he has contributed his research material and expertise to literally dozens of books and DVD releases.
Born March 28, 1962, Innsbruck, Tyrol, Austria. Bruckner is a Spaghetti Western expert, author and former CEO of Koch Media’s home cinema department. Spaghetti Western fans have much to thank Bruckner for. His influence during his time working for the German based media entertainment company ensured that many Spaghetti Westerns would be available for fans to enjoy on DVD. Largely because of Bruckner, Koch Media is now arguably the world’s premier Spaghetti Western DVD label. Despite under-performing sales numbers, Bruckner avoided “bare-bones” releases and instead emphasized products of high quality, special features and packaging, and affordable pricing. Bruckner has also authored the German language encyclopaedic volume, Für ein paar Leichen mehr (2002, 2006), which is considered by some to be the definitive informational reference guide on Spaghetti Westerns.
Sir Christopher Frayling
|Sir Christopher Frayling
Born December 25, 1946, in London, England, the British professor was Knighted in 2001 and his perhaps the world’s leading Spaghetti Western historian and author. Frayling has written several books on Spaghetti Westerns and Sergio Leone in particular. Among his published works are Spaghetti Westerns: Cowboys and Europeans from Karl May to Sergio Leone (1981), Clint Eastwood (1992), Sergio Leone: Something To Do With Death (2000), and Sergio Leone: Once Upon a Time in Italy (2005). He has also appeared in numerous related documentaries as well as having recorded audio commentaries for DVD releases of Leone’s fims.
A friend and collaborator of Ennio Morricone, Graf delighted audiences with his velvety, sensual vocals, contributing his talents to the main themes of several hit Spaghetti Westerns. Capable of singing both in Italian and English, he performed lead vocals for the ballads "Angel Face" in A Pistol for Ringo (1965), "Il ritorno di Ringo" in The Return of Ringo (1965), and "Find a Man" in Johnny Hamlet (1968). He also performed, uncredited, in the unused vocal version of "Occhio Per Occhio" aka "Eye for an Eye" in For a Few Dollars More (1965) as well as writing and performing the unused vocal version of "Da uomo a uomo" aka "As Man to Man" in Death Rides a Horse (1967). Outside of the Spaghetti Western genre, he also wrote and performed for the Italian spy spoof "Mission Bloody Mary" 1965. In January 2012 he made a comeback of sorts, performing "Angel Face" with the Spaghetti Western Orchestra at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London.
Born December 25, 1953, in Grosseto, Italy, he is a film critic, TV director, author and one of the leading experts on Italian genre cinema. In 2007, he was the curator of the Spaghetti Western retrospective for the Biennale di Venezia. Writer of several books on film and film making, he wrote the monumental Dizionario del western all’Italiana (2007), a true Spaghetti Western Bible for all those able to read Italian.
Born December 24,1924, Ferno, Áscoli Piceno, Italy - May 15, 1986, Rome, Lazio Italy
One of the distinguishing features of the Spaghetti Western is undoubtedly the memorable opening title sequences that begin many of the films in the genre. Lardani, often affectionately referred to as “Gigi”, and sometimes mistakenly called “Eugenio”, designed such credits sequences for several of the most famous Spaghetti Westerns ever made. Remarkably, Lardani was completely self-trained in his craft, having never attended an art or design school. He created movie trailers and designed movie posters for numerous films. Counted among his designs was the Italian poster for the classic American western, High Noon (1952). It is his opening title sequences, many of which used an animation technique known as “rotoscoping”, which garnered Lardani the most acclaim. He created unforgettable opening sequences for all three films in Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy”, as well as Face to Face (1967), Run Man Run (1968), The Mercenary (1969) and Tepepa (1969). He also created opening title sequences for many films outside of the Spaghetti Western genre, including Casanova 70 (1965), Il Compagno Don Camillo (1965), Queimada (1969), and A Special Day (1977). Unfortunately, a complete list of films that he created title sequences for is unknown. His son Alberto (d. 2010) followed in his father’s footsteps, and created the title sequence for Stealing Beauty (1996).
November 7, 1924 (Tuscany, Italy) - November 26, 2000 (Rome, Italy)
An architect by trade, Simi contributed greatly to the distinct look of the Spaghetti Western, 22 films in total, including some of the most famous examples of the genre. Working as a production designer, costume designer, art decorator and set decorator, his unique wardrobe and set designs can be seen in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), For a Few Dollars More (1965), A Fistful of Dollars (1964), Django (1966), Keoma (1976), A Genius, Two Partners and a Dupe (1975), The Big Gundown (1966), Sabata (1969) and Face to Face (1967). Outside of the western genre, he was the Art Director for yet another Sergio Leone masterpiece, Once Upon a Time in America (1984), for which he won a Silver Ribbon award. For the film For a Few Dollars More (he can be seen in an uncredited role as a bank manager), he built the town of ‘El Paso’ in Almeria, Spain, which still exists today as a tourist attraction called “Mini Hollywood”. Some of his work was also seen at the Sergio Leone exhibit at the Autry National Museum in Los Angeles, in 2005, as well as his own exhibit at the Church of the Artists in Rome, in 2011.
Born February 16, 1935 in Genoa, Italy.
A vocalist of extraordinary talent, Dell’Orso used her Soprano voice with a
three octave range to provide haunting, mostly wordless vocals to a number of
Spaghetti Westerns. A frequent collaborator of Ennio Morricone, she contributed
to Once Upon a Time in the West (1968), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966),
Fistful of Dynamite aka Duck you Sucker (1971). She also contributed vocals
for other composers in such memorable Spaghetti Western scores as His Name was
King (which was also heard in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (2012) and
the Grand Duel (1972). Outside the Spaghetti Western genre, Dell’Orso has lent
her talents to films such as Dario Argento’s The Bird with the Crystal
Plumage (1970) and Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik (1968)..
Franco De Gemini
|Franco De Gemini
September 10, 1928 (Ferrara, Italy) - July 20, 2013 (Rome)
He is best known for his haunting and iconic harmonica playing on the filmscore of
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968). De Gemini’s contributions can be heard
on as many as 800 film scores, including many Spaghetti Westerns, collarborating
with a who’s who of film composers. These films include The Good, the Bad and the
Ugly (1966), The Grand Duel (1972), a Bullet for the President aka The Price of
Power (1969), They Call Me Trinity (1970), and a Fistful of Dollars (1964). Outside
of the Spaghetti Western genre, he also made musical contributions to Lone Wolf
McQuade (1983), and West Side Story (1961). He released several albums, founded
his own successful and long running record label, Beat Records, and released a
memoir in 2006.
A native of Finland, this Spaghetti Western enthusiast who goes by the name “Shobary”, owns and operates the long running and popular website, Shobary’s Spaghetti Westerns (spaghettiwesterns.1g.fi/). Featuring actor filmographies, custom DVD covers, film screenshots, and other related information, the highlight of the site is Shobary’s trademark film reviews, in which he rates the films in several categories from a scale of 1 to 5 “coffins”. The site is often used as a reference guide by newcomers to the Spaghetti Western genre.