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Pier Angeli 1932-1971

Country : Cagliari, Sardinia
Profession : Actress
Date of birth : 1932-06-19
Date of death : 1971-09-10
Cause of Death : Suicide

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Early years and MGM

Born Anna Maria Pierangeli in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. Her twin sister is the actress Marisa Pavan. Angeli made her film debut with Vittorio de Sica in Domani è troppo tardi (1950), after being spotted by director Léonide Moguy. She was discovered by Hollywood, and MGM launched her in her first American film, Teresa (1951). Directed by Fred Zinnemann, this film also saw the joint debuts of Rod Steiger and John Ericson. Enthusiastic reviews for her eloquent and understated performance compared her to Greta Garbo, and she won the Golden Globe Award for New Star Of The Year - Actress. Under contract with MGM throughout the 1950s, she appeared in a series of films. In The Light Touch with Stewart Granger, she indeed brought a light touch of innocence to the film. Plans for a film of Romeo and Juliet with her and Marlon Brando fell through when a British-Italian production was announced.

Her next few films were respectable but unexciting: The Story of Three Loves (1953) with Kirk Douglas; Sombrero, in which she replaced an indisposed Ava Gardner; and Flame and the Flesh (1954), in which she lost her man to Lana Turner. After discovering Leslie Caron, another Continental ingénue, MGM loaned Angeli out to other studios. She went to Warner Bros. for The Silver Chalice, which marked the debut of Paul Newman, and she made Mam'zelle Nitouche with the great French comic actor Fernandel. For Paramount, she should have had the role of Anna Magnani's daughter in The Rose Tattoo, but because motherhood interfered, the role went to her twin sister, Marisa Pavan, who was nominated for an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for the role. Pier was loaned out again, to Columbia, for Port Afrique (1956). She showed a return to her old form when she returned to MGM for Somebody Up There Likes Me as Paul Newman's long-suffering wife (James Dean had originally been expected to play the starring role, which went to Newman after Dean's death). She was indifferent in The Vintage (1957) with Mel Ferrer and John Kerr, and she finished her contract in Merry Andrew, starring Danny Kaye.

Later career and personal life

According to Kirk Douglas' autobiography, he and Angeli were engaged in the 1950s after meeting on the set of the 1953 film The Story of Three Loves. For a short time, Angeli also had a close relationship with James Dean, however, under pressure from her domineering mother, she broke off the relationship and went on to marry singer/actor Vic Damone (1954–1959). This was to end in divorce, followed by highly publicized court battles for the custody of their one son. Her second marriage was to Italian composer Armando Trovajoli (1962–1969), with whom she had another son. This marriage also ended in divorce.

During the 1960s and until 1970, Angeli returned to live and work in Britain and Europe. Few of her films during that period were notable, despite a strong performance opposite Richard Attenborough in The Angry Silence (1960). She was reunited with Stewart Granger for Sodom and Gomorrah (1963), in which she played Lot's wife. She had a brief role in the war epic Battle of the Bulge (1965). 1968 found Pier in Israel, top billed in Every Bastard a King, about events during that nation's recent war, but steady work was eluding her. It seemed as if her acting career might revive when she was picked to play a role in The Godfather, but she died soon before filming.

At the age of 39, despondent and lonely, Angeli was found dead of a barbiturate overdose. Reports vary as to whether the overdose was accidental or intentional.

She is interred in the Cimetière des Bulvis, in Rueil-Malmaison, Hauts-de-Seine, France.



  • Tomorrow Is Too Late (1950)
  • Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951)
  • Teresa (1951)
  • The Light Touch (1952)
  • The Devil Makes Three (1952)
  • The Story of Three Loves (1953)
  • Sombrero (1953)
  • Mam'zelle Nitouche (1954)
  • Flame and the Flesh (1954)
  • The Silver Chalice (1954)
  • Meet Me in Las Vegas (Cameo, 1956)
  • Port Afrique (1956)
  • Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956)
  • The Vintage (1957)
  • Merry Andrew (1958)
  • SOS Pacific (1959)
  • Musketeers of the Sea (1960)
  • The Angry Silence (1960)
  • White Slave Ship (1961)
  • The Last Days of Sodom and Gomorrah (1962)
  • Panic in Bangkok (1964)
  • M.M.M. 83 (1965)
  • Berlin, Appointment for the Spies (1965)
  • Battle of the Bulge (1965)
  • For One Thousand Dollars Per Day (1966)
  • Red Roses for the Fuhrer (1968)
  • One Step to Hell (1968)
  • Every Bastard a King (1968)
  • ¡Viva América! (1969)
  • Addio, Alexandra (1969)
  • In the Folds of the Flesh (1970)
  • That Particular (1970)
  • Octaman (1971)

Short Subjects:

  • The Million Dollar Nickel (1952)
  • Estoril and Its Film (1960)

Awards and nominations





Film or series



BAFTA Awards

Best Foreign Actress

The Angry Silence



Golden Globe Award

Most Promising Newcomer - Female




World Film Favorite - Female




Italian National Syndicate of Film Journalists

Best Actress (Migliore Attrice)

Domani è troppo tardi


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