Ivano Marescotti, star of Roberto Benigni’s Johnny Stecchino, dies at 77

Marescotti (left) as Dr Randazzo in Roberto's Begnini's Johnny Stecchino

 ROME – The world of Italian showbusiness mourns Ivano Marescotti, the celebrated actor who starred in over 50 films including Roberto Benigni’s Johnny Stecchino, who died in hospital in Ravenna at age 77 on Sunday after a battle with a serious illness, the actor’s family said. 

 Marescotti had been hospitalised at the Civil Hospital in Ravenna, Emilia-Romagna, due to his worsening physical condition linked to a serious illness, where he died peacefully. 

 Ever since deciding to turn his passion into a profession and leaving his job at the Municipality of Ravenna, the list of productions he took part in and the directors with whom he worked with in his forty-year career is endless. 

 He worked in the theatre with many renowned directors including Leo de Berardinis, Mario Martone, Carlo Cecchi, Giorgio Albertazzi and Marco Marinelli. He also starred in over 50 films, working with directors of the calibre of Anthony Minghella, Ridley Scott, Marco Risi and Pupi Avati. 

 Without disdaining roles in comic films, his portrayal of Doctor Randazzo in Roberto Benigni’s Johnny Stecchino, is considered to be one of his best performances. The film, set in Sicily, follows the life of Dante, a school bus drive for students with down syndrome, who bears a striking resemblance to Johnny Stecchino, a mafioso wanted for treason and murder.

 Marescotti had been nominated six times for the Nastro d’argento (The Silver Ribbon) award, which he won in 2004 for his performance in the short film, Assicurazione sulla vita di Tommaso Cariboni e Augusto Modigliani

 The actor’s bond with his home region, Emilia-Romagna, was very strong. Starting in the 1990s, Marescotti began an in-depth revival of the region, returning to the theatre with texts by the writer Raffaello Baldini and the poet Ariosto, both celebrated figures from the region. Furthermore, his marriage to his wife Erika, which was celebrated last year, was conducted in Romagna dialect, of which he was an appreciated interpreter. 

 As Ravenna’s mayor, Michele de Pascale recalled, he was also “a point of reference for his city’s cultural community, especially with his Marescotti Academy Theatre.” In February 2022, Marescotti announced his decision to retire from the stage and screen to devote himself exclusively to his theatre in Ravenna in order to pass on his craft to young actors. 

 He was also always a politically committed man, on the left, although on more than one occasion, he was fiercely critical of the various political forces. In 2014, he stood in the European elections with L’Altra Europa con Tsipras (The Other Europe with Tsipras) party, however his candidature was unsuccessful. 

 Marescotti is survived by his wife Erika, who he married a year ago, and his daughter from a previous marriage, Iliade.

 Ivano Marescotti, actor, born February 4, 1946, Villanova di Bagnacavallo

 Died March 26, 2023