Walter Chiari

Walter Chiari

Actor
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Walter Chiari

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Walter Chiari, 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 (1961).

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.

In 1970 he was arrested and jailed in Rome under suspicion of cocaine possession and trafficking,...
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