At Italy On This Day you will read about events and festivals, about important moments in history, and about the people who have made Italy the country it is today, and where they came from. Italy is a country rich in art and music, fashion and design, food and wine, sporting achievement and political diversity. Italy On This Day provides fascinating insights to help you enjoy it all the more.

22 October 2017

Valeria Golino - actress

Neapolitan starred with Hoffman and Cruise in Rain Man

Valeria Golino has won multiple awards for films made for the Italian market
Valeria Golino has won multiple awards
for films made for the Italian market
The actress Valeria Golino, who found international fame when she played opposite Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in the hugely successful movie Rain Man, was born on this day in 1965 in Naples.

Golino was cast as the girlfriend of Tom Cruise’s character, Charlie Babbitt, in Barry Levinson’s comedy, in which Babbitt’s estranged father dies and leaves most of his multi-million dollar estate to another son, an autistic savant named Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) whose existence Charlie knew nothing about.

The 1988 movie won four Oscars and grossed more than $350 dollars. Although Golino was not nominated for her performance in Rain Man, she has won a string of other awards over a career so far spanning almost 35 years.

She is one of only three stars to win Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival on two occasions, for the 1986 drama Storia d’amore (“A Tale of Love”), directed by Francesco Maselli, and for Giuseppe M Gaudino’s 2015 drama Per amor vostro (“For Your Love”).

Golino was close to being selected to star opposite Richard Gere in another massive US hit, Pretty Woman, making it to the final audition stage for the 1990 romantic comedy but eventually losing out to Julia Roberts.

In the same year, Roberts also pipped her to the lead female role in the science-fiction horror film Flatliners.

Golina has been acting for the big screen since making her debut in 1983
Golina has been acting for the big screen
since making her debut in 1983
Golino did have other success in America, again in the comedy field, with Big Top Pee-Wee, Hot Shots! and Hot Shots! Part Deux.

Back home in Italy, she was cast in meatier, dramatic roles, bringing her great respect. The winner of several Nastro d’Argento awards from Italian film journalists, she landed her first David di Donatello for Best Actress for La guerra di Mario (“Mario’s War”), Antonio Capuano’s film about the relationship between a mother, played by Golino, and her rebellious adopted son, a boy taken away from an abusive real mother.

Mario’s War also won her an Italian Golden Globe.  Her second David di Donatello was for Best Supporting Actress in Paolo Virzi’s 2013 film Il capitale umano (“Human Capital”).

Golino has revealed a talent for directing, too. Her first short film, Armandino e il Madre, for which she also wrote the script, received a favourable reaction and her first feature film as director, Miele (“Honey”), was screened at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival and won a commendation.

Miele, the story of a woman who works with an Italian hospital doctor in the illegal facilitating of assisted suicides, earned her a Nastro d’Argento as Best New Director as well as an Italian Golden Globe for Best First Feature.

Valeria Golino receives her award at the 2015 Venice Film Festival
Valeria Golino receives her award at the
2015 Venice Film Festival
Born in Naples into a middle-class background – her father was an academic specialising in German studies, her mother a Greek-born artist – her formative years were spent alternating between Athens and Sorrento after her parents split up.

Although her mother instilled in her a love of the cinema, she had no great ambition to act as she grew up.  In fact, after undergoing surgery to correct a curvature of the spine, she set her sights on the medical profession, dreaming of becoming a cardiologist.

For one reason or another, the opportunity to pursue a career in medicine never came about.  She took some modelling assignments, which she found unfulfilling.  Life changed for her at 17 years old when her uncle, the L’Espresso journalist Enzo Golino, recommended her to Lina Wertmüller, a film director whom he knew socially, for a part in her upcoming movie, Scherzo del destino (“A Joke of Destiny”), alongside the renowned Commedia all’italiana actor, Ugo Tognazzi.

Despite being hospitalised for five months after a car crash disturbed the metal rod implanted in her back to correct the weakness in her spine, her acting career took off at the age of 20 after she played a life-loving cleaning lady in Maselli’s Storia d’amore.

Although she tries to keep her private life out of the public eye, Golino has been a regular in Italian gossip magazines following a series of relationships with other well-known figures in the movie business, the most recent with Riccardo Scamarcio, an actor and director 14 years her junior whom she was with for 10 years.  Nowadays, she largely lives in Rome.

Beautiful views abound in Sorrento
Beautiful views abound in Sorrento
Travel tip:

From the age of five years, Golino’s Italian home was in Sorrento, the popular resort town that occupies a cliff-top position overlooking the Bay of Naples, about 48km (30 miles) along the coast from the city of Naples, heading south.  The journey takes about an hour using the Circumvesuviana railway or hydrofoil across the bay, but considerably longer by road because of the almost constant traffic.  Sorrento, which has Greek origins but was developed by the Romans, is a lively place to stay but with much charm and stunning views from numerous vantage points.

Pictures of Piazza del Plebiscito accompanied the  opening credits for Marriage, Italian Style
Pictures of Piazza del Plebiscito accompanied the
opening credits for Marriage, Italian Style
Travel tips:

Naples has a connection with the film industry going back to the early years of the 20th century, when movie makers had already seen its potential for offering a spectacular or atmospheric backdrop.  In later years, Roberto Rossellini, Eduardo de Filippo, Vittorio de Sica and Francesco Rosi set many of their great films in the city.  The actress Sophia Loren, whose Neapolitan movies included Marriage, Italian Style and Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, in both of which she co-starred with Marcello Mastroianni, was born in Rome but grew up in Naples and nearby Pozzuoli and regards herself as a Neapolitan.


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