Italian film comic Bud Spencer, the 'good giant,' dies at 86

In his youth, Spencer was an athlete, becoming the first Italian to swim the 100-meter freestyle in under a minute.

Published: 29th June 2016 09:27 AM  |   Last Updated: 29th June 2016 09:27 AM   |  A+A-

Bud Spencer AP

FILE -- In this file photo taken on Nov. 14, 2009 in Duesseldorf, Germany, Italian actor Giuseppe Pedersoli, better known as Bud Spencer, is seen at an UNESCO charity event. | AP


ROME: Bud Spencer, a burly comic actor dubbed the "good giant" for punching out bad guys on the screen, often in a long series of spaghetti westerns, has died in Italy. He was 86.

Italian news agency ANSA quoted his son, Giuseppe Pedersoli, as saying without adding medical details that his father died peacefully Monday evening.

Born in Naples as Carlo Pedersoli, he adopted the stage name Bud Spencer — the first name inspired by a beer and the last to honor his favorite star, Spencer Tracy.

Culture minister Dario Franceschini said Spencer "knew how to entertain entire generations." Rome's City Hall said it would hold Spencer's wake there on Wednesday, so fans could pay tribute.

In his youth, Spencer was an athlete, becoming the first Italian to swim the 100-meter freestyle in under a minute.

Spencer's roles exploited his physical strength, especially his big frame and girth. His imposing figure earned him a walk-on part as a Praetorian guard in the 1951 film "Quo Vadis?"

Italian director Mario Monicelli gave him his first big role in the 1955 film "Un eroe dei nostri tempi" (A hero of our times). Spencer abandoned his swimming career after the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Working on a 1967 film, "Dio perdona io no," (God forgives, I don't), Spencer met up with actor Mario Girotti, who would take the stage name Terence Hill and become his frequent movie partner in spaghetti westerns.

Spencer, who had a law degree, made his name in unmistakably lowbrow films. Some of them include "Al di la' della legge" (Beyond the Law) in 1968; "Lo chiamavano Trinita" (They Call Me Trinity) in 1970; "Watch Out, We're Mad," in 1974; "Io sto con gli ippopotami" (I'm for the Hippotamus) in 1979; "Double Trouble" in 1984 and "Un piede in paradise" (Speaking of the Devil) in 1991.

Spencer's movies delighted much of the public, but critical acclaim eluded him, Italian state radio said Tuesday, noting he drew laughs with physical humor, especially by punching in the face the bad and arrogant characters.

After he made a film with internationally renowned Italian director Ermanno Olmi in 2003, Spencer confessed that was perhaps the first time he felt he was an actor. "I always said that I was only a character" as opposed to an actor, he said.

Spencer said sports taught him humility. "One day you wake up and someone goes better than you. And you're not anyone anymore. It's the same way in cinema."

Stay up to date on all the latest Entertainment English news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp