Silvana Mangano (Silvana Mangano)

Silvana Mangano

Born in Rome to an Italian father and an English mother (Ivy Webb from Croydon), Silvana Mangano lived in poverty caused by the Second World War. Trained for seven years as a dancer, she was supporting herself as a model. In 1946, at age 16, Mangano won the “Miss Rome” beauty pageant and through this, she obtained a role in a Mario Costa film. One year later, she became a contestant in the Miss Italia contest. Potential actress Lucia Bosé became “The Queen”, among Mangano and several other future stars of Italian cinema such as Gina Lollobrigida, Eleonora Rossi Drago and Gianna Maria Canale. Mangano’s earliest connection with filmmaking occurred through her romantic relationship with actor Marcello Mastroianni. This led her to a film contract, though it would take some time for Mangano to ascend to international stardom with her performance in Bitter Rice (Riso Amaro, Giuseppe De Santis, 1949). Thereafter, she signed a contract with Lux Film, in 1949, and later married Dino De Laurentiis, who was on the verge of becoming a known producer. Though she never scaled the heights of her contemporaries Sophia Loren and Gina Lollobrigida, Mangano remained a favorite star between the 1950s and 1970s, appearing in Anna (Alberto Lattuada, 1951), The Gold of Naples (L’oro di Napoli,Vittorio De Sica]], 1954), Mambo (Robert Rossen, 1955), Theorem (Teorema, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1968), Death in Venice (Morte a Venezia, Luchino Visconti, 1971), and The Scientific Cardplayer (1972). The Bosnian singer Silvana Armenulić took her stage name from Silvana Mangano.

Married to film producer Dino De Laurentiis from 1949, the couple had four children: Veronica, Raffaella, Francesca, and Federico. Veronica’s daughter Giada De Laurentiis is host of Everyday Italian and Giada at Home on the Food Network. Raffaella coproduced with her father on Mangano’s penultimate film, Dune (David Lynch, 1984). Federico died in an airplane crash in 1981 in Alaska. De Laurentiis and Mangano separated in 1983, and Mangano began divorce proceedings in 1988. Following surgery on 4 December 1989 that left her in a coma, Mangano died of lung cancer in Madrid, Spain, during the late night/early morning hours between 15 and 16 December 1989.

More Images

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  • April, 21, 1930
  • Rome, Italy


  • December, 16, 1989
  • Madrid, Spain

Cause of Death

  • lung cancer


  • Pawling Cemetery
  • Pawling, New York
  • USA

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