- Birth name:
- Francesco Sparanero
- Date of Birth:
- 23 November 1941 San Lazzaro, Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy
- 5' 11" (1.80 m)
Blue-eyed well-built Italian actor Franco Nero, once was a painting photographer, when he was discovered as an actor by director John Huston. Grew up in provincial northern Italian town in the family of a strict police sergeant, Nero got on the scene at six-years-old. Studied economics and trade in Milan University and, during that time, he was appearing in popular Italian photo-novels. This gave him a chance to gain a little role in Carlo Lizzani's La Celestina P... R... (1965). Year later, the handsome face of Nero was noticed by John Huston who chose him for the role of "Abel" in The Bible: In the Beginning... (1966) (aka La Bibbia). But success came after he got the role of the lonely gunfighter, dragging a coffin in one of the best spaghetti-westerns; Sergio Corbucci's Django (1966). Nero then filmed a few other westerns of that style as Ferdinando Baldi's Texas, addio (1966) and Lucio Fulci's Tempo di massacro (1966) and furthered his career by filming in all genres of the cinema and TV. During filming of Joshua Logan's _Camelot (1967), he met actress Vanessa Redgrave, who become his long-time partner. Played with Catherine Deneuve in Luis Buñuel's Tristana (1970) and with Sergei Bondarchuk in the war drama Bitka na Neretvi (1969). Later, director Bondarchuk cast Nero for the role of famous American reporter "John Reed" in two-part "Krasnye kolokola II" (1982). In the late 60s and during the 70s, Nero played many different roles, but most of them connected with political and criminal genre, criticized Italian justice system. In the early 80s, Nero was chosen for the role of the white ninja, "Cole", in Enter the Ninja (1981) and in 1990 as terrorist "Gen. Esperanza", opposite Bruce Willis in Renny Harlin's Die Hard 2 (1990). Being a personage from more than 25 different nationalities; from Russian to American, from Egyptian to Israeli, with 150 roles. He worked with the top European directors from Carlo Lizzani, Damiano Damiani, Luigi Zampa, Luis Buñuel, Elio Petri, Mihalis Kakogiannis, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Claude Chabrol, 'Vatroslav Mimica', Marco Bellocchio, etc. At the beginning of the 80s, he also began producing, writing and directing. Between films, he participates in various theatrical events. Apart from his cinematographic work, Nero also works for charitable organizations.