Dino De Laurentiis, producer of some of Italy’s best-known films including works by Federico Fellini and Roberto Rossellini, has died in Los Angeles aged 91, the media reported on Thursday, November 11, 2010.
Cryptozoologically and Forean filmwise, De Laurentiis’s name has been tied to the legendary King Kong (1976) remake, which was a commercial hit; the killer whale film Orca (1977); The White Buffalo (1977); the disaster movie Hurricane (1979); the remake of Flash Gordon (1980); David Lynch‘s Dune (1984); and King Kong Lives (1986).
The Oscar-winner produced several famous mainstream films in the United States, including Serpico with Al Pacino in 1973, Three Days of the Condor with Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway in 1975 and Ridley Scott’s Hannibal in 2001.
“Cinema has lost one of its greats,” said Walter Veltroni, an Italian lawmaker and former mayor of Rome who founded the Rome Film Festival.
“The name of Dino De Laurentiis is tied to the history of cinema,” he said.
De Laurentiis was born on August 8, 1919 in Torre Annunziata near Naples and moved to the United States in the late 1960s. His parents were pasta makers. He started out in film aged 20 and became one of the leading producers of Italy’s post-war cinema boom and the neo-realist genre.
De Laurentiis produced more than 500 films over his entire career.
King Kong (1976) starred Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges, and Charles Grodin. Intriguingly, famed sci-fi movie man Forrest J Ackerman played an uncredited fleeing extra in crowd and award-winning makeup artist Rick Baker was the uncredited actor inside the more human-sized model of the King Kong outfit. Dino De Laurentiis was the credited producer for the film, and, as the poster of the time noted, it was his production company that was responsible for this film version of King Kong.
Plot: An expedition of the “Petrox” company, is exploring in search of petrol. A strange island where they arrive is the home of a giant ape, King Kong, that is captured by the expedition in order to make money exhibiting it to the world.