The second child of the great actor who died in 2000, now a doctor in the USA, tells about it among memories and anecdotes on the occasion of the centenary of his birth, 1 September 1922
The most furious quarrel with my father was when I visited him in Rome in the mid-1960s. I was a teenager and I was wearing a pair of blue jeans. He had old ideas and couldn’t accept that I wasn’t wearing a normal skirt … But I was rebellious.
Vittoria Gassman, second child of
, tells a very special father in his own way, who would have turned 100 on September 1st. Not only a father, but also a special mother, the American actress Shelley Winters, who passed away in 2006.
Her middle name is Gina, referring to Lollobrigida. How come?
It was given to me by mom. When I asked her why, she replied that, seeing the Italian actress as the most beautiful woman in the world, she wanted to add this middle name.
Divorce took place immediately after his birth …
A flash wedding. I was about a year and a half when they broke up and stayed in the United States with a mother who suffered a lot when she later learned of the birth of her third child, Alessandro, from the actress Juliette Mayniel.
An absent father?
Obviously, and I suffered from it, even though he came to visit me in New York once or twice a year. For him he wrote to me often and wanted me to learn Italian, his long letters were in this language: for me it was very boring to read them.
What did you do when he came to see her?
A fixed stop was to eat at the Plaza, in the following years he took me to a cinema where foreign films were shown, including his own. Since then he performed with readings at the Italian Consulate, he took me with him. When I started going to university in Boston, he gave me a great gift: he stopped for a week to follow my studies, attending classes.
Did you come to Italy regularly?
I started around 10-11 years old. Every summer I spent about a month with him: I cared a lot and he cared a lot too, despite the quarrels … the emotions overcame the contrasts.
When Vittorio was a father, did he play a part or was it true?
always been true, in its strengths and weaknesses.
He claimed that she had suffered from his absence and even more from the presence of her mother. cos?
I loved Mom very much, but she was an unhappy woman and it wasn’t easy to live with her.
One man with many different families, and four children with four women …
Oddly, he managed to get the four women to agree. Once he came to America with Juliette to introduce her to us after my brother was born. Her new partner got on very well with my mother. They went shopping together and came back happy: Dad and I were surprised at the friendship between them.
Which of the brothers do you feel closest to?
Although I don’t see each other often, I feel connected to everyone, including Emanuele Salce, who my father raised as a son. With Paola we share childhood and adolescence memories; Alexander the funniest; Jacopo introverted, very intellectual like me. During the pandemic we met a lot: we had created a chat where we talked remotely.
She, Vittoria, the only one who did not follow in her parents’ footsteps: a geriatrician. Why?
Mom used to tell me bad things about a difficult career. Dad made me participate with appearances in some of his films, but he never pushed me to his profession. I am interested in science.
What is the first and last memory?
The first is about my birthday. Mom would make me a big ice cream cake and, if Dad couldn’t be there that day, I would put a slice in the freezer that she had to eat even if she came to us many months later. The last I remember a nice holiday in Sabaudia with him, Diletta and with my children. He was aching in his breath: he smoked like a devil, he suffered from emphysema. Yet, when Alessandro was born, he had promised: he will not smoke until he turns 16. As soon as you are done, start smoking again.
August 27, 2022 (change August 27, 2022 | 08:05)
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