Award-Winning Director Lina Wertmüller Dies, Aged 95

Lina Wertmüller

by James White |
Updated on

LiLina Wertmüller, a groundbreaking Italian filmmaker, has died. She was 95.

Wertmüller was born in Rome in 1928 with the frankly outstanding full name of Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmüller von Elgg Spanol von Brauchich, though we can only imagine the hell she had filling out forms. Precocious and individualistic as a youngster, she developed a fondness for comic books and Russian theatre and was expelled from a number of Catholic schools.

Her education was more successful when she entered the Theater Academy of Rome and began touring as an actress and performing with a puppet troupe. Yet a fateful meeting with legendary director Federico Fellini changed the course of her life, and she went to work with him as an assistant director on 8 1/2.

Following that, Wertmüller was quick to make her directorial debut in 1963 with The Lizards, followed by 1965's Let's Talk About Men.

She may be best known for 1975's Seven Beauties, starring regular collaborator Giancarlo Giannini, which scored an Oscar nomination and saw Wertmüller become the first woman to be nominated as Best Director.

She had a healthy filmmaking career in Italy, with films including Swept Away, The Seduction Of Mimi, Love And Anarchy and All Screwed Up. In 2019 she received both a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and an honorary Oscar.

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