25 November 2013

Dorian Gray

Dorian Gray (1928-2011) was a very elegant Italian actress in films by Michelangelo Antonioni and Federico Fellini. She was also sexy seductress in comedies with Totò. In 1965, Gray completely vanished from the public eye.

Dorian Gray
Italian postcard in the 'Hobby' series by Bromostampa, Milano, no. 1181/5310.

Seductive Sex Kitten

Dorian Gray was born as Maria Luisa Mangini in Bolzano, Italy in 1928.

Gray made her stage debut in 1950, and quickly became a known and acclaimed actress. However, after only five years she left the world of the theatre and devoted herself to the cinema.

In 1951, she already had made her film debut in the crime drama Amo un assassin/Appointment for Murder (Baccio Bandini, 1951) with Delia Scala.

The role she played most often in films was that of a seductive sex kitten in comedies like Totò, Peppino e i fuorilegge/Totò, Peppino and the outlaws (Camillo Mastrocinque, 1956). For this film Peppino De Filippo was awarded with a Silver Ribbon for best supporting actor.

She played another titular ‘bad girl’ in Totò, Peppino e la malafemmina/Toto, Peppino, and the Hussy (Camillo Mastrocinque, 1956). It was the top grossing film of the year in Italy and is now considered as one of the classics of Italian comedy.

The following year, she had the chance to demonstrate her dramatic talents in Michelangelo Antonioni's Il grido/The Cry (1957). She co-starred with starring Steve Cochran, Alida Valli and Betsy Blair to great critical acclaim.

At the peak of her popularity, she also took part in Le notti di Cabiria/Nights of Cabiria (Federico Fellini, 1957) featuring Giulietta Masina. The film was loaded with awards, including an Oscar as Best Foreign Language Film in 1958.

Giulietta Masina
Giulietta Masina. Italian postcard by Casa Edite. Ballerini & Fratini, Firenze (Florence), no. 3180. Photo: Titanus. Publicity still for Il Bidone/The Swindle (Federico Fellini, 1955).

Suicide By Gunshot

After 1957, Dorian Gray made several more films, but none ever had the shine of her works of 1956 and 1957.

She starred with Vittorio Gassman in the comedy Il mattatore/Love and Larceny (Dino Risi, 1960).

She also played in one of the Peplums of that era, La regina delle Amazzoni/Colossus and the Amazons (Vittorio Sala, 1960) In this Italian sword and sandal satirical comedy she starred opposite two actors imported from America, Rod Taylor and bodybuilder Ed Fury.

She was among the all-star cast of the whodunit-comedy Crimen/...And Suddenly It's Murder! (Mario Camerini, 1960).

She played the love interest of Foreign Legion captain Stewart Granger in the action drama, Marcia o crepa/Commando (Frank Wisbar,1962), set during the Algerian War. Her career ended by choice soon thereafter.

In 1965, she made her final film, Fango sulla metropolis/City Criminals (Gino Mangini, 1965) with Tony Kendall.

That year, awaiting the birth of her son, she retired completely from acting. She never made another public appearance.

In 2011, Dorian Gray committed suicide by gunshot at her home in Torcegno. She was 83 years old. IMDb and other media, however, report her age as 75, since she herself claimed to have been born in 1936.

Trailer Il Grido (1957). Source Danios 12345 (YouTube).

Trailer Le notti di Cabiria/Nights of Cabiria (1957). Source: TrailerItaliano (YouTube).

Sources: AllMovie, Wikipedia and IMDb.

1 comment:

Bunched Undies said...

What a tragic story. I'll have to watch La Notte again and look for her.