“Sometimes my face is more beautiful than the leading lady’s [face].”
Rossano Brazzi was born on September 18, 1916 in Bologna, Italy. His family moved to Florence when he was still a child. While in middle school, Rossano was in his school’s operetta. He scored the lead – singing, dancing, acting – and the show toured Italy for several months. He began studying law at the University of San Marco. While at college, Rossano played both soccer and boxing. After graduating in 1937, he moved to Rome to practice law. His Roman friends convinced him that he was handsome enough to be an actor, so Rossano gave up law and took to theater.
Rossano made his big screen debut in the 1939 Italian film The Trial and Death of Socrates. He was cast in a variety of spaghetti westerns and pirate-genre movies until he eventually became a film idol. Following WWII he made his Hollywood debut in the 1949 film Little Women starring Elizabeth Taylor. His fame in Hollywood was cemented when he starred in the Academy Award nominated film Three Coins in the Fountain in 1954. During his career, Rossano appeared in over 200 movies. He is most remembered for his roles in The Barefoot Contessa costarring Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardener (1954), Summertime with Katharine Hepburn (1955), and the film adaptation of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific (1958).
Rossano married his first wife – Lidia Bertolini – on 1940. After her death, he remarried Ilse Fischer. He one child in 1955. Rossano continued to work in television and film until his death on December 24, 1994.