Italian screenwriter Vincenzo Cerami dies at 72

Vincenzo Cerami Cerami's screenplay for Life Is Beautiful was nominated for an Oscar in 1999

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Italian screenwriter Vincenzo Cerami, best known for his Oscar-nominated work on the film Life is Beautiful, has died at 72.

The film, which Cerami wrote alongside director and actor Roberto Benigni, won three Academy Awards in 1999.

Benigni, who worked with Cerami on a number of his films, said knowing the writer was "the most incredible gift".

"He is the one person who has taught me how to strike people's feelings, how to make people emotional," Benigni said.

Italian culture minister Massimo Bray paid tribute to the writer saying: "We lose one of the pillars of Italian culture".

Director Marco Bellocchio, who Cerami collaborated with on 1982 psychodrama The Eyes, The Mouth, remembered the writer's "great capability to become emotional".

Born in Rome in 1940, Cerami became interested in the arts when he studied under director Pier Paolo Pasolini.

His debut novel Un Borghese Piccolo Piccolo (An Average Little Man) was adapted by Mario Monicelli in 1977 into a tragicomedy starring popular Italian comic Alberto Sordi.

Cerami is survived by his wife, Graziella Chircossi, and two children.

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