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Cemetery with crosses - legends lost but remembered

From The Spaghetti Western Database

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This page is our personal hall of fame. A reminder to us all that even though considered a B-genre, Spaghetti Westerns were full of great characters, played by great people. Many have passed away, and while we are young growing up re-watching all these classics, many more will probably leave us. May they be remembered. What follows, is a work-in-progress, a growing list of legends who have passed away...

sorted by their last names:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z|}


  • McCARTHY, Kevin - 2/15/1914, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. - 9/11/2010, Hyannis, Massachusetts, U.S.A.

Kevin McCarthy, the veteran stage and screen actor best known for his starring role as the panicked doctor who tried to warn the world about the alien "pod people" who were taking over in the 1956 science-fiction suspense classic "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," died Saturday September 11th 2010. He was 96. McCarthy died of natural causes at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Mass., said his daughter Lillah.

During a career that spanned more than 70 years, beginning on stage in New York in the late 1930s, McCarthy played Biff Loman opposite Paul Muni's Willy in the 1949 London production of "Death of a Salesman." McCarthy's long career included numerous guest appearances on TV series such as "The Twilight Zone," "Burke's Law," "Flamingo Road" and "Murder, She Wrote." He also appeared in about 50 films, including "An Annapolis Story," "40 Pounds of Trouble," "The Prize," "The Best Man," "Kansas City Bomber," Buffalo Bill and the Indians," "Piranha" and "The Howling." In addition to his many Broadway and other stage credits, McCarthy toured for many years as President Harry Truman in the one-man show "Give 'Em Hell, Harry."

The son of a lawyer and his homemaker wife, McCarthy was born Feb. 15, 1914, in Seattle, Washington. He and his two brothers and sister — Mary McCarthy [1912-1989], who later became an author and wrote the bestselling novel "The Group" — were orphaned when both parents died in the 1918 flu epidemic and were sent to live with relatives.

McCarthy began acting in the 1930s at the University of Minnesota, where, on a dare from a friend, he played a bit part in "Henry IV, Part 1." "That day, I realized that I could do something," he told the Bangor Daily News in 1997. "I didn't study acting. I didn't even think about it. But evidently I have some innate ability, some talent. It was maybe a gift. In any case, I was in one play after another after that."

After moving to New York, he made his Broadway debut in a small role in " Abe Lincoln in Illinois," starring Raymond Massey, in 1938. As Sgt. Kevin McCarthy during World War II, he appeared in Moss Hart's "Winged Victory," the Broadway play produced by the Army Air Forces.

McCarthy appeared in several Broadway plays in the years immediately after the war, including Maxwell Anderson's short-lived "Truckline Cafe" with Marlon Brando and Karl Malden. He also was a founding member of the Actors Studio.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his wife of 31 years, Kate Crane McCarthy; children James Kevin McCarthy, Mary Dabney McCarthy, Tess McCarthy and Patrick McCarthy; stepdaughter Kara Lichtman; and three grandchildren. He was divorced from actress Augusta Dabney [1918-2008], who died in 2008.

Kevin McCarthy appeared with Terence Hill, Bud Spencer and Eli Wallach in 1969's “Ace High”.

  • VIVARELLI, Piero - 2/26/1927, Sienne, Tuscany, Italy - 9/7/2010, Rome, Lazio, Italy

The director and screenwriter Piero Vivarelli died last night in Rome at the age of 83 years. The announcement of his death was given by his wife, but he had long been suffering from heart problems.

Born in Siena, February 26, 1927, Vivarelli had signed many of his films using the pseudonym of Donald Murray. Among his films were ‘Io bacio… tu baci” (1960), ”Sanremo, la grande sfida” (1960), ”Oggi a Berlino” (1962), ”Rita, la figlia americana” (1965), with Toto’ and Rita Pavone, ”Mister X” (1967), ”Satanik” (1968), ”Il vuoto” (1969), ”Il dio serpente” (1970), with Nadia Cassini, ”Il Decamerone nero” (1972), ”Codice d’amore orientale” (1974) and ”Nella misura in cui” (1979). His last film was the comedy ”La rumbera”(1998), the story of a Cuban dancer.

In 1960 he created the radio program ‘La coppa del Jazz’, and he was also known as a lyricist (among his lyrics are Adriano Celentano’s ’24.000 baci’ and ”Il tuo bacio e’ come un rock”). For five years he has chaired the selection committee of the music of the Sanremo Festival.

Born in 1927, he was just seventeen when he entered the “X-Mas”, the infamous squadron of Italian commando frogmen commanded by famed submarine commander Junio Valerio Borghese.

A former militant, he was arrested in 1946, before joining the communist party from 1949 to 1990, after which he joined the Cuban Communist Party in order to support a ‘party that justly claims to be communist’. He was also one of the directors of ”L’addio a Enrico Berlinguer (1984)”, a documentary on the collective funeral of the historic Italian Communist party secretary.

Vivarelli started his career working on Lucio Fulci films about young singers of the time (”I ragazzi del juke-box” (59) and ”Urlatori alla sbarra” (60))and his first films as director continued in a similar musical vein.

Vivarelli was a co-sreenwriter on 1965's "Django" starring Franco Nero.

  • MURGIA, Tiberio 2/5/1929, Oristano, Sardinia, Italy - 8/20/2010, Tolfa, Lazio, Italy

Sardinian actor Tiberio Murgia died on Friday August 20 in a nursing home in Tolfa, Italy. He had been ill for the last several months and passed away yesterday from Alzheimer's. Murgia was born on February 5, 1929 in Oristano, Sardinia, Italy into a poor family. For twenty years he peddled the Italian Communist newspaper 'Unity' and became the secretary of the Young Communist League. He then went to Marcinelle, Belgium and worked in a coal mine that had hired thousands of Italians. After an explosion in the mine he returned to Italy and worked in Rome as a dishwasher in a restaurant called 'The King of Friends' where he was discovered by assistant director Mario Monicelli. Tiberio auditioned for a part and was given a role as a Sicilian in an Italian comedy “I soli ignoti” (1958). Murgia remained faithful to this stereotypical character in most of his films, TV and commercials for the next 40 years. Tiberio appeared in three Euro-westerns: “The Terror of Oklahoma” (1959), “Rick and John Conquerors of the West” (1967) and “Judge Roy Bean” (1971).

  • FRANCHETTI, Rina 12/23/1907, Naples, Compania, Italy - 8/18/2010, Formello, Lazio, Italy

Italian actress Rina Franchetti died at her home in Formello, Italy on August 18. She was 102. Born Ester Girgenti on December 23, 1907 in Naples, Italy. She was one of the most respected actresses of the Italian stage. Rina's first film was “Due cuori felici” in 1932. Her last film was 1990's “Basta! Adesso tocca a noi”. Between then she appeared on stage, radio, and TV signing a contract with RAI, and later when her career was in decline she did voice dubbing and narration for radio dramas. Her daughter actress Sara Franchetti was born in 1946. Rina appeared in two Euro-films during the 1960's “The Brute and the Beast” (1966) playing the mother of Franco Nero and George Hilton's characters. “Two Pistols for a Coward” (1968). She was affectionately known as 'The Grandma of Italian Film'.