Renzo Montagnani is a real icon of Italian comedies. For the audience
he is still today the general, the mayor, the teacher, the principal a
little 'jerk, who wants to have an affair with a young lover betray his
Renzo Montagnani is especially the legendary bartender Necchi of "Amici
Miei", great member of the legendary gang of friend. And not only that.
He is a stage, TV, radio, and voice actor but above all a great man.
From the more intellectual movies to the Italian sexy comedies, through
the many stage appearances, Montagnani perform always different and
perfect characters. Thanks to his sly face the natural Tuscan comic
verve, round and sly, and great skill.
So, as often happens b’s directors and actors have a great skill in some case more than famous actors.
The life however force to certain choices and in this case, Montagnani
is entrapped in many “off” roles, but the life then
giving him the opportunity over the years to prove to be worthy of
serious movies and more complex characters.
- A florentine born in Piedmont
Born 11 September 1930 in Alessandria, from Florentine family, he
graduated in pharmacy and moved to Milan, where he began with theater.
In a short time he is perceive for his natural talent and begins to
work with famous actors of the time like Erminio Macario and Carlo
In the early sixties he moved to Rome, where his career is growing
exponentially. He continues with the theater, and began to work for
Radio and TV with the show "Milledischi" and TV series
"Il Mulino Del Po" and "Vita di Dante", in 1963 and 1965.
"Il Mulino del Po" was a very popular series at the time, based on a
novel of Bacchelli directed by Sandro Bolchi, sees Montagnani in the
role of the villain "Beffa" a character from the heavy makeup, body
disfigured, and a role that was not easy and according with the
director in few would accept it.
The film debut came with “I Sogni Muoiono All’Alba”
of 1961. Written and directed, only case, by Indro Montanelli, tells
the story of a group of journalists sent to Budapest to attend the
arrival of Russian tanks.
With this work starts the artistic love between the two, about the
great Montanelli says "I called him always - whenever I did things in
theater, especially one-act plays, because we understood immediately,
an ideal workmate. And not because he was Tuscan, I am wary of my
fellow indeed. But Renzo had taken the best qualities. Precisely for
this reason we understood each others. "
This film opens a series of important performances in important movies,
ranging from drama to comedy and among which we mention "I Sette
The seventies start with "Metello” by Bolognini and "Quando le
donne avevano la coda" that lead the way for comedies, confirmed in
1972 by "Una Cavalla tutta nuda".
It’s the moment of popular movies works the exception of the
documentary of the great Elio Petri and interpreted by the Gian Maria
Volontè “Tre Ipotesi sulla morte di Pinelli”, work
which also leaves no doubt about the ideas of Montagnani.
Then there is a long list of genres and sub genres of Italian sexy comedy of which Montagnani is the protagonist and witness.
From the Decamerotics of early seventies "Una Cavalla tutta
nuda", "Jus primae noctis", through the comedies “Fiorina La
Vacca”, “Il Vizio di Famiglia” and “Il Peccato
di Famiglia”, to the trash masterpieces of female soldiers,
teachers e various betrayal “La Soldatessa alla visita
militare”, “La Soldatessa alle grandi Manovre”
“L’insegnante viene a casa” “Il Ginecologo
della Mutua”, the really bad “Io zombo, tu zombi, lei
zomba”and “La Vedova Del Trullo”.
Among the many there is also “Il Corpo Della Ragassa” an
erotic comedy directed by Pasquale Festa Campanile, inspired from
a novel by Gianni Brera, starring Enrico Maria Salerno and Lilli Carati
that reach for the record her highest point in her career.
Montagnani starred in many movies, with a great success at the box
office however, hides behind many laughs and posthumous film fans and
critics esteem there is a sad story. “Rough movies are rewarding
choice, but I think that I’m better of my movies", "When you are
paid 2 millions of lire for the screenplay, 60 lines are already so
much. For the rest when I starred in certain films, I thought more to
my family than to the film " he said perhaps with a hint of sadness,
but also confirming that he was a great man who didn’t have
doubts about risk his artistic credibility to have the funds needed to
treat his son Daniele, seriously ill and hospitalized in England and
for which Renzo and his wife Eileen have dedicated their lives.
Fortunately, Montagnani, has never lost artistic credibility, "I am the
prophet of sexycomico” he said but he was always “forgiven"
by critics when he played theater or in most important works.
“La Coscienza di Zeno” of 1978, a show for the fiftieth
anniversary of the death of Svevo, was a huge success and was well
received by the critics “La Giacca Verde” a film for
TV was acclaimed by Mario Soldati the writer from which is inspired the
The eighties give the last fireworks of the fabulous Italian sexy
comedy that many (in) sane, laughter have given to us. Montagnani star
in some other sexy comedies as "Mia Moglie torna a scuola", "La
poliziotta a New York" and in "Pierino La Peste alla riscossa" but
especially in 1982 becomes the bartender Necchi of "Amici Miei II". A
great role, for a great performance in one of the cornestone of Italian
comedies. Montagnani had already a role in the first episode, as
dubbing actor of Noiret a second chance because he didn’t have
And it’s a pleasure to see Montagnani in a context that honors
him and with giants of Italian cinema, as Ugo Tognazzi, Gastone
Moschin, Philippe Noiret and Adolfo Celi.
Already we have entered the dubbing theme, Montagnani was the Italian
voice of Thomas O'Malley of "The Aristocats" the one of Charles Bronson
in "Breakout", "Hardtimes” "and the one of Claude Piéplu
in"The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie" and Bill Cosby's "Bill Cosby
Show ", the first series.
In 1982, “Giocare D’Azzardo” is acclaimed thanks to
the outstanding performance of Montagnani with the great Piera Degli
Esposti. After another Italian comedy film "Occhio, malocchio,
prezzemolo e finocchio" (1983), Montagnani starred in "Amici miei Atto
Terzo", 1985, a pleasant third episode of the saga.
The years pass and times change. The Italian sexy comedy is now in
disarray with its genuine characters but is still in vogue and is among
the leaders of “Rimini, Rimini un anno dopo” mediocre
comedy of 1988 but in the same year he starred in "Il Volpone"
excellent film, smart and brilliant unfortunately underestimated with
Enrico Montesano and Paolo Villaggio.
With "Zuppa di Pesce" of 1992 Montagnani closes the career on the big
screen. But television is pressing and sees him among the actors of the
series and miniseries as "Il viaggio dell’ Achille Lauro",
"“Processo di Famiglia” and also of the flop of "I Promessi
Sposi". But above all Montagnani is the protagonist of "Don Fumino"
enjoyable and popular series of the early nineties that saw him in the
role of a Tuscan priest Tuscan showing to a big audience his acting
The theater love never left see him in "Il Pigmailione" by Shaw, "Sarto
Per Signora" of Feydeau and "La dodicesima notte" by Shakespeare.
Life, never too good with Montagnani confined him to a long illness
whose signs are seen in “Il Mastino” TV series in which
Montagnani is forced to play on a wheelchair. "Teo" instead is the last
work of this genius and great artist, who died May 22, 1997 in Rome.
Thank you ... thank you for everything Renzo!