Ciccio Ingrassia was born 100 years ago in Palermo, on 5 October 1922.
The comedian and presenter is remembered paired with Franco Franchi, with whom he shot 132 films during the sixties and seventies.
The famous duo Franco and Ciccio made the history of Italian cinematic comedy.
Ciccio Ingrassia, career and curiosity
Ciccio Ingrassia was one of the most famous actors, directors, screenwriters and comedians of those years.
The artistic partnership with Francesco Benenatoin art Franco Franchiwas born by chance around the fifties, when the two met by chance in the streets of Palermo.
The two actors performed for the first time in 1954 with a first show dedicated to the Neapolitan song “Core ‘ngrato”.
Since that time, Franco and Cicciogave birth to an artistic couple defined as “golden”, which managed to obtain a great success with the public and at the box office.
The two comedians managed to make their way among the most acclaimed actors of that time, including, Alberto Sordi, Nino Manfredi, Vittorio Gassman, Totò and Ugo Tognazzi, also working with directors of the caliber of Vittorio De Sica, Mario Bava, Lucio Fulci , Mario Mattoli, Steno, Pier Paolo Pasolini.
Despite critics labeling their films as “ugly, by 1964 the couple had already made 20 films, grossing around 7 billion and 300 million lire.
Between the greatest hits it is necessary to mention, “The Last Judgment” by Vittorio De Sica, “Kaos” by the Taviani brothers, Capriccio all’italiana in the episode “What are the clouds?” directed by Pier Paolo Pasolini and “The Adventures of Pinocchio”.
Ciccio and Franco separate
The first disagreements they began around the seventies, when Franco Franchi decided to participate as a soloist at the Naples Festival in the role of singer.
Irritated, the partner would have said:
“Franchi has made up his mind to be a singer. And now for the music he neglects the cinema, which is our daily bread ”.
Precisely because of this discontent, Ciccio Ingrassia decided to put an end to the agreement not to participate in any films that included solo parts, and became part of the cast of the drama “Violence: fifth power” by Florestano Vancini.
The comic duo finally broke up in 1972when Ciccio Ingrassia was hospitalized due to a serious health problem and his partner Franco Franchi decided to replace him with Luigi Pistillo in the film “The Brooklyn cat aspiring detective”.
However, at the basis of the break there were also artistic choices not fully shared by both, Ingrassia would have liked to give more weight to quality, rather than quantity.
After the end of this partnership, Ciccio Ingrassia continued his acting career, starring in various other successful films, including Federico Fellini’s “Amarcord” and Elio Petri’s “Todo modo”.
In the role of directorinstead, in 1975 he dedicated himself to the direction of the film “The Exorcism”, starring Lino Banfi, a parody of the horror film “The Exorcist” by William Friedkin.
Franco and Ciccio got closer again in 1980, when the official reconciliation took place on live television in “Sunday In”Following the intervention of Pippo Baudo and the public apologies of Franco Franchi.
From that moment on, the two actors continued to work together until Franco Franchi passed away.
During his long career, Ciccio Ingrassia obtained numerous awards and recognitions for his films and for his theatrical performances and, in 1991, he also won the David di Donatello for best supporting actor in the film “Condominio” of the same year.
He definitively stopped acting in 1997, since he realized he had lost all stimulus after the death of his partner Franco Franchi, which took place in 1992.