Enzo Garinei died at 96, prince of character actors and brother of the great Pietro

Enzo Garinei died at 96, prince of character actors and brother of the great Pietro

from Maurizio Porro

In his long career he has made more than seventy films and has trod the Italian stages for fifty years in productions such as “Alleluja brava gente” and “Add a seat at the table”

With the death, which took place yesterday at the age of 96 in Rome, of Enzo Garinei, the great chapter of the Italian musical comedy is definitively closed, the one signed by the two tied hands of Garinei & Giovannini, authors, entrepreneurs, directors and talent scouts. Vincenzo, Enzo on the hundreds of posters in which he appeared, was Pietro’s brother, but he had never enjoyed privileges, it was the moral of the company: hired yes, but not protagonist, always a character actor, the shoulder, a comedian who had learned very well the rules of the trade.

Many years of apprenticeship as an actor e often a voice actor (he gave the voice to the Jeffersons and also to Stan Laurel and Peter Pan’s Sponge) of cinema, TV and “light” theater, in an era of double shows and eight-month long tours. Enzo Garinei, father of Andrea, who died prematurely, until a few months ago was the voice of God in the seventh edition of “Add a seat at the table” and every evening he was behind the scenes, ready to give the joke to Guidi, the little priest of the universal deluge: many thought that the voice of God (inherited from Garrone) was recorded, given his age, instead Garinei traveled with the company, he was the symbol, punctual as a soldier for this musical that has beaten all tenitura records in Italy (1700 replicas). But before reaching the divine voice, Garinei had the comic part of the mayor for 500 evenings (inherited from Panelli), as he had been indispensable in many productions of the famous company, even staging the imitation of his brother in the “Delia Scala show ”And that year he received the Silver Mask for the review theater. He begins in carnival variety at the Valle di Roma and then the usual route, starting in 1949 with “Totò le moko”, the first of a long collaboration with Prince de Curtis; then “The Merry Widower”, “Ours are coming” and many successes of poor but beautiful Italy who laughed with Sordi, Valeri, De Filippo, Rascel, in beach movies or with parodic titles.

But he also had serious brackets, worked with Maselli in “Delfini” and with Lattuada in “Oh Serafina!”, as well as an endless series of unpretentious comedy films from Sunday afternoon (full audiences, 90 ‘with intermission and ice cream) but in which Garinei was a comic guarantee, even coming to appear in 2014 in “Don Matteo” on TV and with Scotti and La Scala in “Me and Mom”. Of course the story of him is all on the stages and on the catwalks of the famous Italian theaters, starting from the Sistina which was his home, inheriting memories and archives from his brother, continuing with the Lirico and the now missing Nuovo in Milan. There are countless musicals in which he participated, always with an almost surreal twist, from the “Bisarca” of 50 with Billi and Riva, to the magazines with Wandissima (“Gran Baraonda”), Rascel (“Tobia the candid spy”), Pagnani and Calindri (“The mistress of Raggio di Luna”) and then the irresistible one-man bailiff of “Alleluja, good people”, up to “Let’s turn on the lamp”, a thousand and one nights musical with the Dorelli-Guida couple. To remember, especially for the human factor, his participation in a show with Bramieri who was already very ill but wanted to say goodbye to his audience and Garinei was his shoulder in “Being able to make you laugh”.

And then also the prose, the brilliant one, with Bramieri, Marisa Merlini, Mondaini, Bonagura, Montesano, Valeria Valeri and Paolo Ferrari, with Colli in “Heaven my husband!” and filming with Maurizio Micheli in “Un mandarino per Teo”. He was also part of a successful trio in the 60’s with Delia Scala and Carletto Sposito which reached the popular national “Canzonissima” and then was in a miniseries by Falqui on Fracchia. But he also had master directors, an appearance with Visconti, then Enriquez, Bolchi and also with the young director Luca Ronconi in the “Lunatici”. A life spent for the public, in the ancient and true sense of the word, every evening the particular sound of laughter and applause and the title of his autobiography (“1926: io c’ero”, presented by Maurizio Costanzo ) tells a long story of falling in love and love with the public.

August 25, 2022 (change August 25, 2022 | 11:58)

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