Italian Star of Stage and Screen Giorgio Albertazzi Dead at 92


Giorgio Albertazzi, a veteran Italian actor who was a prolific presence on stage, has died at 92. A prodigious Shakespearean thespian, he caught the attention of critics with his turn as Hamlet at London’s The Old Vic Theatre, under the direction of Franco Zeffirelli, in 1964. He continued to appear on the stage into his nineties; in 2006, at the age of 83, he performed the 26th canto (the Ulysses Canto) of Dante’s Divine Comedy during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Turin. American viewers and cinephiles probably know Albertazzi as The Man, a.k.a. X, in Alain Resnais's oneiric Last Year at Marienbad (1961), a film known for its indecipherable plot and hallucinatory atmosphere. Marienbad has been called one of the most important films ever made (David Lynch's style of surrealism owes a great deal to Resnais), and contrarily one of the worst (it appears in the egregious The Fifty Worst Films of All Time, one of the worst books of film criticism of all time). Italian prime minister Matteo Renzi called Albertazzi a “great personality of our culture,” and President Sergio Mattarella described him as a “maestro to generations.”