10 November 2014

Vico Torriani

Swiss Schlagersinger and actor Vico Torriani (1920-1998) was also a popular TV showmaster and an author of cookbooks. In the 1950s and early 1960s, he starred in a dozen German film musicals and comedies. The favourite Son of Switzerland sold more than twenty million records.

Vico Torriani
German postcard by Franz Josef Rüdel Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. FT-31. Photo: Zeyn Film / Deutsche Film Hansa / Lilo. Publicity still for Träume von der Südsee/Dreams of the South Seas (Harald Philipp, 1957).

Vico Torriani
Belgian Collector's card, no. 71.

Vico Torriani
German postcard by Krüger, no. 902/52. Photo: Teldec / Bulanda.

A Heart Full of Music

Ludovico Oxens (Vico) Torriani was born in Genève (Geneva), Switzerland, in 1920. He was the son of Italian Vittorio Torriani, a riding and ski instructor, and his wife Clara Helena, born Bensegger.

Vico grew up in St. Moritz and after finishing school he studied for pastry cook, cook and later for waiter. As a 15 year old he already gave concerts. As a soldier during WW II he learned himself to play the guitar and the accordion.

In 1945 (some sources say 1946) he won a talent contest and he started singing on the Swiss radio and in night clubs everywhere in Europe. His first hit in Switzerland was Silberfäden (Silver Threads) in 1949.

In 1951 followed his first big success in Germany with Addio, donna grazia. From then on he recorded many records in English, French, Italian and German (and even in Retoroman).

In the 1950s he was seen in several Schlagerfilms and other film musicals. Among his most popular films were the ice skating film Der bunte Traum/The Colourful Dream (Géza von Cziffra, 1952) with Vera Molnar, Gitarren der Liebe/Guitars of Love(Werner Jacobs, 1954), Ein Herz voll Musik/A Heart Full of Music (Robert A. Stemmle, 1955) – his first leading role, Santa Lucia (Werner Jacob, 1956s) with Eva Kerbler and Karin Dor, and Der Stern von Santa Clara/The Star of Santa Clara (Werner Jacobs, 1958).

From 1952 on he also appeared on television. In 1958 he was a contestant for the German song contest, but never reached the Eurovision Song Contest. From 1959 on he got his own shows, first in Switzerland and later in Germany for example Grüezi, Vico, Hotel Victoria and the Vico-Torriani-Show.

Torriani also sang and played on stage in operettas and musicals during the 1950s and 1960s.

Vico Torriani
German postcard by F.J. Rüdel, Filmpostkartenverlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 549. Photo: Lantin / Constantin-Film. Meine Frau macht Dummheiten/My Wife is Acting Silly (Géza von Bolváry, 1952).

Vico Torriani
Belgian postcard by DRC Holland, no. 3500. Licency holder for Ufa. Photo: Czerwonski / HD-Film / NF.

Vico Torriani
Dutch postcard by Gebr. Spanjersberg N.V., Rotterdam, no. 3700. Dutch licency holder for Ufa. Photo: Arthur Grimm / CCC-Zeyn / Gloria Film.

Vico Torriani, Elma Karlova, Annunzio Mantovani,
East-German postcard by Progress Vertrieb, Berlin, no. 282, 1957. Photo: Neue Emelka / Willy-Zeyn-Produktion. Publicity still for Gitarren der Liebe/Guitars of Love (Werner Jacobs, 1954) with Annunzio Montovani and Elma Karlowa.

Vico Torriani
German postcard by Teldec Telefunken-Decca Schallplatten G.m.b.H. Photo: Teldeck / Zeyn Film / DFH / Lilo.

O sole mio

In the early 1960s, Vico Torriani starred in more German entertainment films like O sole mio (Paul Martin, 1960) with Senta Berger, and Robert und Bertram/Robert and Bertram (Hans Deppe, 1961) with comedian Willy Millowitsch.

In 1964 his career as a film actor and a recording artist was finished. From 1967 till 1970 he worked as a showmaster on German television.

In the 1970s he made a successful come-back as a singer of folk songs. His La Pastorella was a big hit in 1976. In 1977 he reappeared as an actor now on TV in the Krimi series Tatort starring Hansjörg Felmy.

Between 1978 and 1983 Torriani again hosted a restaurant in Basel, but meanwhile he also kept touring as a singer. In 1982 his song Caprifischer (Fishermen of Capri) became the winner of the TV show Die schönsten Melodien der Welt (The Most Beautiful Melodies in the World).

In 1995 he was awarded the Bambi Lifetime-Award together with Caterina Valente and Helmut Zacharias. He kept making guest-appearances on TV shows till the end of his life.

Vico Torriani died from cancer in 1998 in his home in Agno (Tessin), Switzerland. He and his wife Evelyne had a daughter, Nicole, and a son, Reto.

Vico Torriani
German postcard by WS-Druck, Wanne-Eickel, no. F 22.Photo: Ringpress.

Vico Torriani
German postcard by Schumann-Verlag, Berlin. Photo: Peter Schaeffers (Schaeffers-Archiv).

Vico Torriani sings Antonella in Der Stern von Santa Clara (Werner Jacobs, 1958) with Gerlinde Locker. Source:Fritz51265 (YouTube).

Vico Torriani sings Jedes Mädchen hat seinen Amigo in Der Stern von Santa Clara (Werner Jacobs, 1958). Source: Fritz51265 (YouTube).

Sources: Stephanie D'heil (Steffi-line - German), Gabriela Schöb (Historisches Lexikon der Schweiz - German), Wikipedia (German), and IMDb.


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