Melato, Mariangela

(1943-)
   Actress. After studying painting at the Academy of Brera, Melato served an apprenticeship with a number of minor theater companies before being accepted into the company directed by Dario Fo. Her career was greatly boosted in 1967 when she was selected to play the lead in Luchino Visconti's production of La Monaca di Monza (The Nun of Monza) at the Piccolo Teatro of Milan. She subsequently played the role of Olimpia in Luca Ronconi's groundbreaking production of Orlando Furioso (1969) before making her film debut in Pupi Avati's first film, Thomas—gli indemoniati (Thomas and the Bewitched, 1969). Avati's film sank without a trace but Melato's film career continued with small parts in Nino Manfredi's Per grazia ricevuta (Between Miracles, 1971), Luciano Salce's Basta Guardarla (Just Look at Her, 1971), and the much more significant role of Lidia, the wife of the manic factory worker played by Gian Maria Volonte, in Elio Petri's La classe operaia va in paradiso (The Working Class Goes to Heaven, 1971). She soon became internationally famous, however, particularly in the United States, playing opposite Giancarlo Giannini in a series of social farces directed by Lina Wertmuller. After also demonstrating her talents as a dancer in Avati's Aiutami a sognare (Help Me Dream, 1981) and Maurizio Nichetti's Domani si balla (Tomorrow We Dance, 1982), she returned to the stage, where she worked again with Ronconi and with Giorgio Strehler. From the early 1990s she appeared frequently on television, with her interpretation of the role of Marianna in the first two episodes of Una vita in gioco (A Life on the Line) earning her the Best European Actress award. She returned to the big screen at the end of the 1990s in Maurizio Zaccaro's Un uomoper bene (A Respectable Man, 1999).
   In addition to numerous prizes and awards for her work in the theater, Melato received the Nastro d'argento five times and collected eight David di Donatello awards, including the Special Medal of the City of Rome in 1986 and the David Golden Plate in 2000.
   Historical Dictionary of Italian Cinema by Alberto Mira

Guide to cinema. . 2011.

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