Born: Spezia, Italy, 1 August 1942.
Sad-eyed, tragicomic protagonist of Lina Wertmuller’s films. Trained at the Rome Academy of Drama, following studies in electronic engineering, he began his association with Miss Wertmuller while appearing in her play Two and Two Are No Longer Four in the early 60s and later starred in most of her films, typically portraying flawed littly guys bucking a system they cannot fully understand or accept. In 1973 he won the best actor award at Cannes for Love and Anarchy. He received much critical praise and an Oscar nomination for his performance in Pasqualino Settebellezze / Seven Beauties (1976), in the complex role of Pasqualino, a concentration camp inmate who chooses to suffer humiliation and degradation in a desperate effort to survive. He later appeared in Miss Wertmuller’s first American-sponsored film, A Nightful of Rain (1977). Giannini, who is a partner in Wertmuller’s production company, Liberty Films, has also appeared in many films of other directors.