Silvana Mangano (21 April 1930 – 16 December 1989) was an Italian actress.
Raised in poverty during World War II, Mangano trained as a dancer and worked as a model before winning a "Miss Rome" beauty pageant in 1946. This led to work in films; she achieved a notable success in Bitter Rice (1949) and continued working in films for almost four more decades.
Mangano was married to the film producer Dino De Laurentiis from 1949 until her death after surgery for lung cancer, and they were the parents of four children.
Born in Rome to an Italian father and an English mother (Ivy Webb from Croydon), 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 movie. 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 movie 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 Films, in 1949, and later married Dino De Laurentiis, 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). [wikipedia]