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Pier Angeli

Pier Angeli
pictured in 1957
Born Anna Maria Pierangeli
(1932-06-19)19 June 1932
Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy
Died 10 September 1971(1971-09-10) (aged 39)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Cause of death Accidental barbiturate overdose
Occupation Actress
Years active 1950–1971
Spouse(s) Vic Damone (m. 1954–58)
Armando Trovaioli (m. 1962–69)
Children 2
Relatives Marisa Pavan (sister)

Pier Angeli (19 June 1932 – 10 September 1971)[1] was an Italian-born television and film actress. Her American cinematographic debut was in the starring role of the 1951 film Teresa, for which she won a Golden Globe Award for Young Star of the Year - Actress. Twenty years later it was rumored she was chosen to play a part in The Godfather. Filming for The Godfather began on 24 March 1971, six months before her death. When she didn't get the part, she began working on the low-budget film Octaman.

She had romantic relationships with actors Kirk Douglas and James Dean before going on to marry Vic Damone.


  • Early life and career 1
  • Personal life and death 2
  • Filmography 3
  • Awards and nominations 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life and career

Born Anna Maria Pierangeli in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy.[1] Her twin sister is the actress Marisa Pavan. Angeli made her film debut with Vittorio De Sica in Domani è troppo tardi (1950), after being spotted by director Léonide Moguy and De Sica.[1] She was discovered by Hollywood, and MGM launched her in her first American film, Teresa (1951). Directed by Fred Zinnemann, this film also saw the joint debuts of Rod Steiger and John Ericson. Reviews for her performance in the film compared her to Greta Garbo, and she won the Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year – Actress. Under contract with MGM throughout the 1950s, she appeared in a series of films, including The Light Touch with Stewart Granger. Plans for a film of Romeo and Juliet with her and Marlon Brando fell through when a British-Italian production was announced.

Her next few films were respectable but unexciting: The Story of Three Loves (1953) with Kirk Douglas; Sombrero, in which she replaced an indisposed Ava Gardner; and Flame and the Flesh (1954), in which she lost her man to Lana Turner. After discovering Leslie Caron, another continental ingénue, MGM lent Angeli out to other studios. She went to Warner Bros. for The Silver Chalice, which marked the debut of Paul Newman, and she made Mam'zelle Nitouche with the French comic actor Fernandel. For Paramount, she was in contention for the role of Anna Magnani's daughter in The Rose Tattoo, but the role went to her twin sister, Marisa Pavan, who was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the role. Angeli was lent out again, to Columbia, for Port Afrique (1956). She returned to MGM for Somebody Up There Likes Me as Paul Newman's long-suffering wife (James Dean had originally been expected to play the starring role, which went to Newman after Dean's death). She then appeared in The Vintage (1957) with Mel Ferrer and John Kerr, and finished her contract in Merry Andrew, starring Danny Kaye.

During the 1960s and until 1970, Angeli returned to live and work in Britain and Europe. She gave an outstanding performance opposite Richard Attenborough in The Angry Silence (1960), and was nominated for a Best Actress BAFTA; and was reunited with Stewart Granger for Sodom and Gomorrah (1963), in which she played Lot's wife. She had a brief role in the war epic Battle of the Bulge (1965). 1968 found Angeli in Israel, top billed in Every Bastard a King, about events during that nation's recent war. It was rumored that she was cast in The Godfather.

Personal life and death

Armando Trovajoli and Pier Angeli on their wedding day, London, 14 February 1962

According to Kirk Douglas' autobiography, he and Angeli were engaged in the 1950s after meeting on the set of the film The Story of Three Loves (1953).[2]

For a short time, Angeli also had a romantic relationship with James Dean; however, she broke off the relationship and went on to marry singer and actor Vic Damone (1954–1958).[3] Her marriage to Damone ended in divorce, followed by highly publicized court battles for the custody of their one son, Perry Farinola Damone. Her second marriage (1962–1969) was to Italian composer Armando Trovaioli, with whom she had another son, Andrew.

At the age of 39, Angeli was found dead of an accidental barbiturate overdose in her home at 355 S. McCarty Drive, Beverly Hills.[4][5] She is interred in the Cimetière des Bulvis, in Rueil-Malmaison, Hauts-de-Seine, France.

She was later portrayed by Valentina Cervi in the 2001 TV movie James Dean, which depicted her relationship with Dean. In 2015, she was also portrayed by Alessandra Mastronardi in the James Dean biopic, Life.


Year Title Role Notes
1950 Domani è troppo tardi Mirella English title: Tomorrow Is Too Late
1951 Domani è un altro giorno Luisa
1951 Teresa Teresa Russo
1952 The Light Touch Anna Vasarri
1952 Devil Makes Three, TheThe Devil Makes Three Wilhelmina (Willie) Lehrt
1952 Million Dollar Nickel, TheThe Million Dollar Nickel Herself Short subject
1953 Story of Three Loves, TheThe Story of Three Loves Nina Burkhardt Segment: "Equilibrium"
1953 Sombrero Eufemia Calderon
1954 Mam'zelle Nitouche Denise de Flavigny/Nitouche Alternative titles: Oh No, Mam'zelle
1954 Flame and the Flesh Lisa
1954 Silver Chalice, TheThe Silver Chalice Deborra
1956 Meet Me in Las Vegas Cameo Uncredited
1956 Port Afrique Ynez
1956 Somebody Up There Likes Me Norma
1957 Vintage, TheThe Vintage Lucienne
1957 Midnight Story, TheThe Midnight Story
1958 Merry Andrew Selena Gallini
1959 SOS Pacific Teresa Alternative title: S.O.S. Pacific
1960 I moschettieri del mare Consuelo/Gracia English title: Musketeers of the Sea
1960 Angry Silence, TheThe Angry Silence Anna Curtis
1960 Estoril y sus fiestas Herself Short subject
1961 L'ammutinamento Polly English title: White Slave Ship
Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1962 Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah, TheThe Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah Ildith Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1964 Banco à Bangkok pour OSS 117 Lila English titles: Panic in Bangkok
Shadow of Evil
1965 Missione mortale Molo 83 Hélène Blanchard English title: M.M.M. 83
1965 Berlino – Appuntamento per le spie Paula Krauss English title: Berlin, Appointment for the Spies
1965 Battle of the Bulge Louise
1966 Per mille dollari al giorno Betty Benson English title: For One Thousand Dollars Per Day
Credited as Annamaria Pierangeli
1968 Rose rosse per il führer Marie English title: Red Roses for the Führer
Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1968 Caccia ai violenti Mrs. Benton English title: One Step to Hell
1968 Kol Mamzer Melech Eileen English title: Every Bastard a King
1969 ¡Viva América! Bambi Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1969 Addio, Alexandra Alexandra Alternative title: Love Me, Love My Wife
Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1970 Nelle pieghe della carne Falesse/Ester English title: In the Folds of the Flesh
Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1970 Quell'amore particolare Cecilia Credited as Anna Maria Pierangeli
1971 Octaman Susan Lowry
Year Title Role Notes
1958 Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse Bernadette Soubirous 1 episode

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Title of work Result
1951 Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists Best Actress (Migliore Attrice) Domani è troppo tardi Won
1952 Golden Globe Award Most Promising Newcomer – Female Teresa Won
1955 Golden Globe Award World Film Favorite – Female Nominated
1961 BAFTA Awards Best Foreign Actress Angry Silence, TheThe Angry Silence Nominated


  1. ^ a b c Allen, Jane (2002). Pier Angeli: a fragile life. McFarland. pp. 6, 16–17.  
  2. ^ Douglas, Kirk (1989).  
  3. ^ Donnelley, Paul (2003). Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries. Omnibus. p. 55.  
  4. ^ Crivello, Kirk (1988). Fallen Angels: The Lives and Untimely Deaths of Fourteen Hollywood Beauties. Citadel Press. p. 277.  
  5. ^ Frascella, Lawrence; Weisel, Al (2005). Live Fast, Die Young: The Wild Ride of Making Rebel Without a Cause. Simon and Schuster. p. 180.  

External links

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