Entertainment & Arts

Dino De Laurentiis, film producer, dies aged 91

Dino De Laurentiis in 2007
Dino De Laurentiis produced more than 160 films in a career spanning seven decades

Dino De Laurentiis, legendary producer of such cult films as Flash Gordon and Dune, has died in Los Angeles aged 91, his family has said.

He began his career in Italy working with Roberto Rossellini and Federico Fellini, winning an Oscar for producing the latter's 1954 film La Strada.

After moving to the US in the 1970s, he oversaw films such as Serpico, Death Wish and the 1976 remake of King Kong.

He also produced four films featuring the serial killer Hannibal Lecter.

His daughter Raffaella De Laurentiis said in a statement her father was surrounded by family when he died on Wednesday night at his home in Beverly Hills. She did not give a cause of death.

"Cinema has lost one of its greats," said Walter Veltroni, former mayor of Rome and a founder of the International Rome Film Festival.

"The name of Dino De Laurentiis is tied to the history of cinema," he told the AFP news agency.

The son of pasta makers, De Laurentiis was born on 8 August 1919 in Torre Annunziata, near Naples.

Dino De Laurentiis, 1957
De Laurentiis with the Oscars he and partner Carlo Ponti won for La Strada

After serving in the Italian army during World War II, he founded the Dino De Laurentiis Studios in 1947.

In the 1950s he began work on such epic films as Ulysses with Kirk Douglas and War and Peace with Audrey Hepburn.

He went on to build a studio in Rome called Dinocitta, hoping to rival the city's famous Cinecitta facility.

There he made a number of films including Barbarella, only to suffer a string of flops that prompted him to move to the US.

He swiftly made a name for himself as the purveyor of epic, slightly camp blockbusters like Flash Gordon and the much-derided King Kong.

The 1980s saw De Laurentiis help launch the career of bodybuilder turned actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in Conan the Barbarian.

He also made Manhunter, the first film to feature Hannibal 'The Cannibal', going to produce a sequel (Hannibal), a remake (Red Dragon) and a prequel (Hannibal Rising).

In 2001 he was again honoured at the Oscars, receiving the Irving Thalberg Memorial award for his body of work.

He is survived by wife Martha, their two children and four children from his first marriage to actress Silvana Mangano.

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