Silvana Mangano

  1. Audrey Hepburn, Roman Holiday, 1952.   Frank Capra (and George Stevens) wanted Liz Taylor, William Wyler liked Suzanne Cloutier (the future Mrs Peter Ustinov) for the runaway Princess Ann.   A further 28 actresses were seen, the good, bad and risible – like the current sex-bombs Yvonne De Carlo Diana Dors, Gina Lollobrigida, Sylvana Mangano, Shelley Winters.  Apart from, perhaps, Vanessa Brown, Mona Freeman and Wanda Hendrix (even though  her real name as Dixie), the Hollywood hopefuls  – singer Rosemary Clooney(George’s aunt), Jeanne Crain, Nina Foch, Janet Leigh, Joan Leslie, June Lockhart, Dorothy Malone, Patricia Neal, Barbara Rush – were soon discarded, lacking the stature of Euro-royalty. Idem for the Euros – Swedish Bibi Andersson, and the French Capucine, Leslie Caron, Jeanne Moreau. Which left several perfect Brits Claire Bloom, Joan Collins, Glynis Johns, Kay Kendall, Deborah Kerr, Angela Lansbury, Moira Shearer, and, of course, Audrey, … soon gracing the Time cover, hailed by the New York Times as a “slender, elfin and wistful beauty, alternately regal and childlike” with, added Variety, a “delightful affectation in voice and delivery, controlled just enough to have charm and serve as a trademark,” (And, Indeed, it did for evermore).
  2. Giulietta Masina, La strada, Italy, 1954. “La strada?” said Federico Fellini’s I Villetoni producer Lorenzi Pegoraro. “Perhaps… but not with Giulietta Masina.” But Fellini had not spent two years honing the scenario (with his then usual partner, Tuilio Pinelli) for anyone other than his wife. “Get another actress – then get another director!” Instead, he found new producers Dino De Laurentiis and Carlo Ponti. And although Dino wanted his wife, the decidedly non-waifish Silvana Mangano, as Gelsomina, Fellini stood firm and became the first winner of an Oscar for a foreign language film. The reason why Dino and Carlo produced 325 films between them and poor Pegoraro… seven.
  3. Anouk Aimée, La Dolce Vita, Italy, 1960. Italian icon Federico Fellini’s first choice was blocked by her husband, producer Dino De Laurentiis – because she had been a childhood sweetheart of the film’s star, Mastroianni! Dino grew up and later allowed her to play Marcello’s wife (twice) in the 70/80s
  4. Lucia Bosé, Lumiere, France, 1975. For her directing debut, French star Jeanne Moreau phoned Silvano, her co-star in Five Branded Women, 1960. Busy. As usual, Lucia was (almost) too shy to accept.


 Birth year: 1930Death year: 1989Other name: Casting Calls:  4