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Sergio Leone

Sergio Leone (January 3, 1921 or 1929 - April 30, 1989) was an Italian film director. Born in Rome, he was the son of the cinema pioneer Vincenzo Leone and the actress Francesca Bertini. With this background he started working in film in his teens.

He began writing screenplays in the 1950s and made his solo directoral debut in 1960. He did not invent the Spaghetti Western genre, but he created some of its most memorable films, overblown CinemaScope[?] excesses that pushed the relative unknown Clint Eastwood into stardom.

Using the leverage of his successes he directed what he hoped would be his masterwork, C'Era una Volta il West, in 1967 for Paramount. Cruelly edited down, the film flopped. He directed a quick, money-making project starring James Coburn and turned down the opportunity to direct The Godfather, building up instead to another epic work, this time centred on American gangsters. At his death he was part way through planning yet another epic, this time on the Second World War battle for Leningrad.


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