, stage name of Walter Annichiarico
(8 March 1924 - 20 December 1991), was a hugely successful Italian
stage and screen actor
, mostly in comedy roles.
Born in Verona
, Chiari achieved a certain degree of international success in films such as The Little Hut
(1957), Bonjour Tristesse
(1958), Chimes at Midnight
(1966), and The Valachi Papers
(1972). He appeared opposite Anna Magnani
in Luchino Visconti
's film Bellissima
(1951). He also appeared on Broadway
in the musical The Gay Life
In the late 1950s and '60s he was one of the main protagonists of the "Dolce Vita", the glitzy and glamorous Italian jet-set scene, centered in Rome and especially focused on the booming cinema industry he was so at ease with.
During the making of The Little Hut
he met Ava Gardner
(still formally married to Frank Sinatra
but already estranged from him), and he started a passionate and tumultuous relationship with the American superstar.
Unlike many Italian actors of the time he had a full and fluent command of English, which he put to good use in his Broadway spell which in 1961 saw him playing The Gay Life
(a musical comedy inspired by a Schnitzler
piece) for 113 shows.
He appeared in They're a Weird Mob
(1966), the last of the Powell and Pressburger
films, based on a popular Australian novel
by John O'Grady
. He also appeared in the Australian film Squeeze a Flower
In 1970 he was arrested and jailed in Rome under suspicion of cocaine possession and trafficking,... Read More