Dead, Agostino “Dino” De Laurentiis on the 10th of November 2010 at the age of 91, he was an Italian film producer, born at Torre Annunziata in the province of Naples on the 8th of August 1919, and grew up selling spaghetti made by his father’s pasta factory.
De Laurentiis left his home at the age of 17 to enroll for film studies at the Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia.
He bounced around any job he could get in the film industry, which in turn paid off.
Even though he was ready to launch a career with his first film, L’ultimo Combattimento (1940), Dino got drafted to serve in the army during World War II.
After that, Dino went back into film production to make neorealist films at his newly opened Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica.
Laurentiis produced nearly 150 films during the next seven decades.
In 1946 his company, the Dino de Laurentiis Cinematografica, moved into production.
In the early years, De Laurentiis produced Italian neorealist films such as Bitter Rice (1946) and the Fellini classics La Strada (1954) and Nights of Cabiria (1956), often in collaboration with producer Carlo Ponti.
In the 1960s, Laurentiis built his own studio facilities, although these financially collapsed during the 1970s.
During this period, though, De Laurentiis produced such films as Barabbas (1961), a Christian religious epic; The Bible: In the Beginning (1966), Kiss the Girls and Make Them Die, an imitation James Bond film; Navajo Joe (1966), a spaghetti western; Anzio (1968), a World War II film; Barbarella (1968) and Danger: Diabolik (1968), both successful comic book adaptations; and The Valachi Papers (1972), made to coincide with the popularity of The Godfather.
De Laurentiis made a number of successful and acclaimed films, including The Scientific Cardplayer (1972), Serpico (1973), Death Wish (1974), Mandingo (1975), Three Days of the Condor (1975), The Shootist (1976), Drum (1976), Ingmar Bergman’s The Serpent’s Egg (1977), Ragtime (1981), Conan the Barbarian (1982), Blue Velvet (1986) and Breakdown (1997).
De Laurentiis’ name become well known through the legendary King Kong (1976) remake, which was a commercial hit; Lipstick (1976), a rape and revenge drama; Orca (1977), a killer whale film; The White Buffalo (1977), a western; the disaster movie Hurricane (1979); the remake of Flash Gordon (1980); David Lynch’s Dune (1984); and King Kong Lives (1986).
De Laurentiis also made several adaptations of Stephen King’s works, including The Dead Zone (1983), Cat’s Eye (1985), Silver Bullet (1985), and Maximum Overdrive (1986).
De Laurentiis married actress Silvana Mangano, with whom he had four children: Veronica; Raffaella, who is also a film producer; Federico, another producer who died in a plane crash in 1981 (Dino’s movie Dune is dedicated to him); and Francesca.
De Laurentiis and Mangano divorced in 1988; she died in 1989.
In 1990, he married Martha Schumacher, who produced many of his films since 1985, and with whom he had two daughters, Carolyna and Dina.
One of his grandchildren is Giada De Laurentiis, host of Everyday Italian, Behind the Bash, Giada at Home, and Giada’s Weekend Getaways on Food Network.
In 1986, De Laurentiis bought the theatrical unit of Embassy Pictures and renamed it the De Laurentiis Entertainment Group.
Dino was now able to distribute the films he produced.
Unfortunately, the division released a string of flops and was forced to shut down in 1989.