Death of Catherine Spaak, the unforgettable and rebellious daughter of the Fanfaron

The Italian actress, born in France, died Sunday April 17 in Rome at the age of 77. She was on screen the partner of Vittorio Gassman, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Ugo Tognazzi and acted under the direction of Dino Risi, Luigi Comencini, Jacques Becker and Henri Verneuil.

In The hole, the last film by Jacques Becker, the prisoners tried to escape under the gaze of Catherine Spaak. She is only 14 years old and does not yet know that she will be especially successful in Italy as an actress, television presenter and even singer.

Figure of post-war Italian comedy, Catherine Spaak died of a cerebral hemorrhage on Sunday in Rome. She was 77 years old. She had played in some eighty feature films including The Braggart by Dino Risi, with Vittorio Gassman and Jean-Louis Trintignant (1962). One of the ” first important roles of (his) career “, said the actress, who had shot other films with Vittorio Gassman, legend of Italian comedy.

The hole by Jacques Becker in 1960, with Philippe Leroy, Michel Constantin, Catherine Spaak…

Dino Risi evoked the role played by this ” delicious actress ” in his feature film, that of a ” 18-year-old girl who gets engaged to a 60-year-old man because she is practical, because she sees a more peaceful future in him “. The same year, Catherine Spaak cracked Ugo Tognazzi, a divorced macho, inshe is awfulby Luciano Salce. The 17-year-old nymphet who lights up the screen, inTeenage Girlsby Alberto Lattuada, gives ideas to other filmmakers.

Le Fanfaron (Il Sorpasso) by Dino Risi in 1962, with Vittorio Gassman, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Catherine Spaak…

At 18, the actress is still noted for her sensual beauty in the sulphurous Calda Vita ( The Burning Life ), by Florestano Vancini. Sergia, her character, a light and extroverted teenager, leaves for a desert island with two ” friends», Jacques Perrin and Fabrizio Capucci whom she will marry in the city. Free, instinctive and cultivated, Catherine Spaak is talked about in the United States where it is proclaimed that she is the only actress who can one day replace Brigitte Bardot.

It varies the registers with Weekend in Zuydcooteby Henri Verneuil alongside Jean-Paul Belmondo and Jean-Pierre Marielle (1964), The Nine-Tailed Cat by Dario Argento (1971), or evensecret scandalby and with Monica Vitti, which was presented in the Un certain regard section at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990.

Weekend in Zuydcoote by Henri Verneuil in 1964, with Jean-Paul Belmondo, Jean-Pierre Mariell, François Périer, Catherine Spaak…

At the same time, from 1988 to 2002, on Rai, she hosted a program for and with women. Among his guests are Catherine Deneuve, Monica Bellucci and Isabel Allende, among others.
In 2011, she played Aurelio Zen’s mother in the series Zenand in 2020, appeared in The Vacation by Enrico Iannaccone.

Born on April 3, 1945 in France, in Boulogne-Billancourt, she was the daughter of screenwriter Charles Spaak ( The Great Illusion ) and actress Claudie Perrier. Catherine is also the niece of former Belgian Prime Minister Paul-Henri Spaak, considered one of the founding fathers of Europe. With her older sister, also an actress, Agnès Spaak, Catherine was raised in Switzerland. The family lounge receives Sophia Loren, Pablo Picasso and Jean-Paul Sartre. When she was younger, she would have liked to be a classical dancer, ” Unfortunately, I was too tall at the time.“, she confided.
Mother of two children, she also pushed the song. In 1963, she notably recorded Quelli della mia etàan adaptation of All the boys and girlsby Francoise Hardy,My friends, my buddies Where Last summer. In homage to this icon, a disc of the rock group The Love Potions published in 1997 is entitledThe Voice of Catherine Spaak.

Farewell to sensuality and rebellion“, greeted yesterday the dailyLa Repubblica. And in Italy, the Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini spoke of “an eclectic, cultivated and elegant artist who had found in our country a home that welcomed and loved her“. There she will forever remain Lily Cortona, the seductive daughter of theswagger(Il Sorpasso), the great Vittorio Gassman.


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