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Beloved Italian Comic Actress Franca Valeri Dead at 100

August 10, 2020, 04.20 PM

“Together they were Italy,” the Corriere della Sera wrote about the movie.

Valeri worked with many of Italy’s leading directors, including Federico Fellini and Mario Monicelli.

Born on July 31, 1920, in Milan as Alma Franca Maria Norsa, she later adopted a stage name, Italian state TV said, in part because her father frowned on her becoming a comic actress.

Franca Valeri was a teenager when Benito Mussolini’s anti-Jewish laws were enacted in 1938.

Her father, a Jew, fled with her brother to Switzerland to escape what later would be, under German occupation of Italy, deportation to death camps of many members of Italy’s small Jewish community.

Her mother procured a fake document that declared falsely that Valeri was the illegitimate daughter of an Italian man who wasn’t Jewish, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

“Papa was Jewish. When he read in the newspaper the news about the racial laws, he cried,″ Corriere della Sera quoted Valeri as saying in an interview.

"It was the ugliest moment of my life,” especially since Franca Valeri was not allowed under the Fascist anti-Jewish crackdown to keep attending school or go to the theater, her passion, the paper quoted her as saying.

Asked in a recent interview about the secret to her long-running success, Franca Valeri replied: “I tried to maintain being classy.” (Writer: Frances D'Emilion)


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