Marcello Vincenzo Domenico Mastroianni was born on 28th September 1924 in Fontana Liri, a small mountain village near Frosinone in Lazio. His father was a carpenter and the family moved first to Turin and then Rome, where Marcello and his brother, Ruggero, grew up.
During the allied invasion of Italy in the second world war, Marcello was briefly interned in a German prison camp, before escaping and hiding in Venice until liberation.
Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg
'La Dolce Vita' - 1960
Marcello Mastroianni began his film career as an extra in the 1939 film, Marionette, at the age of fourteen. His first big role was twelve years later in 'Atto d'accusa', and over the following decade he went on to become a major, international celebrity starring with Anita Ekberg in Fellini's 'La Dolce Vita' in 1960 and again working with Fellini in '8½' three years later in 1963.
Like his character in that film, Mastroianni had a turbulent love life. He married an actress, Flora Carabella, in 1950. They had a daughter, Barbara, but his many affairs eventually led to their separation. In 1968, he starred in the film 'A Place for Lovers' and began a serious relationship with his co-star, Faye Dunaway.
'A Place for Lovers' - 1968
Dunaway hoped their relationship would lead to marriage and children, but Mastroianni, a devout catholic, refused to divorce his wife. In 1971, after three years of waiting, Dunaway finally gave up and left him.
Later in the 70s, he began a four year relationship with Catherine Deneuve.
Marcello Mastroianni and Catherine Deneuve
The couple made four films together and had a daughter, Chiara Mastroianni.
His other lovers at the time reportedly included Lauren Hutton, Ursula Andress, Anouk Aimee and Claudia Cardinale, but in 1976, he began a relationship with author and film maker, Anna Maria Tatò, which lasted until his death in 1996.
Marcello Mastroianni died of pancreatic cancer on 19 December 1996 at the age of 72. His daughters, Barabara and Chiara were at his bedside together with both Catherine Deneuve and Anna Maria Tatò. The city of Rome paid its own tribute as the Trevi Fountain, which featured so powerfully in Fellini's 'La Dolce Vita', was turned off and draped in black.