Family & Companions
No matter how many times his opera singer father and dancer mother told him to stay away from a career in entertainment, Renato Rascel refused to deny the lure of the stage and became a professional musician at the age of thirteen. As a member of the band "Rainbow," Rascel caught the eye of the Neapolitan Luigi Vitolo, a theater impresario that offered him solo performances and dance numbers that left audiences in stitches. His blend of singing, dancing, and stand-up comedy inspired Rascel to make his act even more unique by incorporating costumes, such as oversized and ridiculous coats with massive pockets, and portraying characters like Napoleon. He made his film debut in the 1942 comedy "Pazzo d'amore" and starred next to his future wife Tina De Mola, with whom he went into hiding during the Nazi invasion. Rascel appeared in more than sixty films throughout his career, including 1952's comedic drama "Il cappotto," for which he won the Nastro d'Argento Award for Best Actor. (The film itself took away the Palme d'Or at that year's Cannes Film Festival). In addition to his numerous roles in the Garinei & Giovannini musicals of the '50s and '60s, he wrote and sang many hit songs such as one of the three most famous Italian songs ever produced, Arrivederci Roma.